My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Friday, August 20, 2010

So I started out slowly...

I started off slowly this week, a slow return from my bleave, because I didn't want to OVERWHELM you with too much to read at once. Are you buying it? Seriously, it's been crazy. But I have a few updates for you, dear friends and readers.
#1. You will be happy to know that the baseball player, Rodriguez, that I complained about in my last blog injured his hand so badly in the attack against his future father-in-law (ex-future father-in-law, I'm betting) that he's out for the season. Now I'm not one to delight in the bad fortune of others, but in this situation, there is justice. And I can't help but be delighted.
#2. Brett Favre is BACK! Did any of you doubt him? Did you? Because I NEVER did. I always believed in him. Always. Thank God for Geritol. It is still around, right?
#3. Thanks to everyone who inquired about my girls. Their orientation at the new school went well yesterday. The first day is Monday, so thanks for all your prayers and thoughts. We can't tell you what it meant to the girls to get the emails and notes this week. And some of you have never even met my girls. So thanks. You are all awesome.
#4. Today is my sweet grandmother's birthday. She is amazing and talented and brilliant and wise and all the things a grandmother should be. Except she lives too far away, but except for that, she is perfect. And I hope she's having a fabulous day.

SO...books, books, books. I really planned to do some more book talking this week. Just a reminder that Mockingjay will be out next week. What will Katniss do? Hmmm... And what will they do to HER? And how can they use that amazing arena for good instead of evil? (because really, it's a great facility)

I read a great Time magazine article today that my husband pressed upon me. Literally pressed it upon me. He had already highlighted his favorite parts and everything. Anyway, it was about the importance of a well-spent summer vacation. The article began by talking about the skills lost in the unschooled summer months, and I just knew it was more propaganda gunning for year round schools. But it wasn't. It was about how valuable summer play is for kids. And travel. And family time. And museums, camps, and park programs. It spoke, sadly, I thought, about the growing number of children who don't spend their summer vacations playing, traveling, and learning in a non-school-like way. Too much TV, video games, and other indoor sports stunt the growth and test scores of a growing number of children.

So then I thought, here it comes. Put it on the public schools. But the well-drawn article spoke instead of the community responsibilities for providing park programs, summer day camps, and other things for children to do in the summer. Otherwise, by the end of 8th grade, children who spend summers watching TV and playing video games are THREE GRADE LEVELS behind young people who get out and about. We're not talking about the Grand Canyon and Smithsonian (although both of those things are certainly great), but simply getting outside, as the article said, "Huck Finn-style".

Now that's the best thing I've read in a long time. Barefoot summers with beach bonfires, tree forts, secret trails, and lemonade stands--math, science, literature, geography--real learning. It's a beautiful thing.

Of course, it also addressed the fact that American students attend school more hours with less growth. Much of this discrepancy can be traced to the summer slide in scores. So the undercurrent of the article is what, that some kids need to stay in school, so maybe they'll make them all stay in school? The loss of summer would be tragic for many and likely not help the situation. So what can we do? Be an advocate for park programs, summer day camps, recreation department programming, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the YMCA.

Enjoy these last few barefoot days, and when your little boy comes to the door grubby and sandy and smelling like bait, just remember how much he's learning!

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Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

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Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman