J.B. Blackford

Refine. Hone. Distill. The self is a text, too.

Homeschooled: Ready or Not for College

It’s easy to tell when the back-to-school-season hits Pittsburgh. There are people milling about everywhere, city neighborhoods choke on cars, and locals discuss long check-out lines until someone says, “Well, … Continue reading

August 22, 2014 · 2 Comments

RE: Thanks for the mail, Donors Choose!

“Fun” mail is a luxury anymore. Almost every day, my mailbox brims with recyclable junk, bills, and “grown-up” stuff to deal with. On some rare, peaceful days, the mailbox is … Continue reading

June 18, 2013 · Leave a comment

My Life-Changers: Teachers to Appreciate

While I didn’t get this post up in time for yesterday’s National Teacher Day, this entire week is devoted to recognizing and expressing gratitude for extraordinary educators.  Although I have … Continue reading

May 8, 2013 · Leave a comment

6 Questions for a Hippie Homeschooler: An Interview

A good friend and previous colleague of mine, Shannon Johnson, recently began homeschooling her eleven-year-old son, Zion, and her approach is radically different than anything I’ve experienced. In six questions, … Continue reading

April 27, 2013 · 3 Comments

Students in Print: 826 National Cultivates Creative Writing

Writing is important because it’s a way to communicate. It’s important because it’s a way to express yourself. It’s important because — even in the digital age — we need … Continue reading

March 8, 2013 · Leave a comment

Cover Songs Are to Tone…

…as lyrics are to poetry. Writing as an art, or even as a basic necessity, is a notion continually challenged by many students, and the classes of 60 to 90 … Continue reading

March 6, 2013 · 10 Comments

Dear Pen: Tell Me How to Write

Is it possible for a piece of technology to be obsolete before it’s even released? We should find out this fall when Lernstift unveils a pen that vibrates when you … Continue reading

February 20, 2013 · 2 Comments

Consider the Con: Obstacles to Homeschooling

On the topic of homeschooling, I’ve already covered some basic requirements and structure. I’ve also used my own experience to illustrate elements of homeschooling that I feel are essential for … Continue reading

January 9, 2013 · Leave a comment

Homeschooled (and not THAT weird).

Between holidays, an influx of editing projects, and needing catharsis with my post about gun violence, I’ve dropped the ball a bit on the homeschooling series I promised. Each time … Continue reading

December 28, 2012 · 4 Comments

Once upon a Homeschooling Story…

Such a large portion of almost every American’s life is education: We do the mandatory baker’s dozen of school years and increasingly go on to undergraduate, post-graduate, and sometimes even … Continue reading

December 11, 2012 · 5 Comments