Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did You KNow?

Recently I had the opportunity to watch some of the Did You Know? videos. The original was called Shift Happens, and it along with the Did You Know? updates share statistics about our rapidly changing culture and the effects of technology upon our culture. Some of it is very interesting. For instance, it took radio 38 years to reach a target audience of 50 million. Television reached that same size audience in only 13 years. The internet reached 50 million people in only 4 years, the iPod did it in 3 years and Facebook...only 2 years.

We currently have 540,000 words in the English language. That's 5x as many as during Shakespeare's lifetime.

The amount of new technological information is doubling every two years. That means for a student going to school to get a 4 year degree in a technological field, the information you were learning would be outdated by the 3rd year of study.

While all of this is very interesting and certainly has relevance to how and what we teach students in this day and age, I think it's important to remember that while technology is changing at record breakneck speeds, some things don't really change at all.

I find myself thinking that there are some "most important things" that I need to teach my kids that will be relevant no matter how our society changes. It is my responsibility to purposefully and diligently teach my children my values and core beliefs, and to teach my children self-discipline. If I fail to teach my kids, they'll still learn values, but they won't be mine. They'll learn from the culture.

From an educational standpoint, I believe it's crucial to teach kids to be independent, creative thinkers and problem solvers. They need age appropriate practice solving problems and making decisions, and yes, using higher level thinking skills. It is true that we are preparing kids to work in jobs that have yet to be created and they will be functioning and communicating in a different type of world. But knowing that, it becomes even more important to prepare them for their futures as family leaders...mothers and fathers. When the family falls apart, then the whole fabric of our culture will follow and it won't matter how much technology we have.

Click on the links and watch the videos. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Brothers Grimm

I can't believe how many tales the Grimm Brothers collected in their native Germany. Did you know that there are a total of 211 tales in the complete collection? They collected stories in a section of Germany now known as Fairy Tale Road. It goes from Hanau in south central Germany all the way to Bremen in northern Germany. There is a good website that shows the road and stops along the way, complete with pictures of the split timber houses popular in that area, and pictures of Sleeping Beauty's castle and Rapunzel's tower.

I've been reading quite a few of the tales in their original form in the collection. Some of them are a little darker than their Disney counterparts, but I've been amazed at the truth hidden within them. In Snow White, the evil queen finds out from her mirror that Snow White is fairer than she and this is how she is described;

This gave the queen a great shock, and she became yellow and green with envy, and from that hour her heart turned against Snow White, and she hated her. And envy and pride like ill weeds grew in her heart higher every day, until she had no peace day or night...

I was struck as I read that with how hatred grew in her heart. The truth that our actions reflect the condition of our heart is big as life in this story.

Last week I read Mother Hulda, a lesser know tale to 3 precious little girls. It has the classic step mother who loves her child but mistreats her step child. In the story, the hard working and kind step child is rewarded by another character (Mother Hulda) and the lazy child ends up being covered in sticky tar. As the story closed, one of the girls said to me, rather emphatically, "What that girl needs is a bath and some lovin'!" and her sister added, "Yeah, and mommy's should love all their kids the same!"

Wow! Out of the mouths of babes! I wasn't expecting so much truth out of these old tales. I can hardly wait to read another and see what other nuggets of truth I can find.

Thanks for sharing your kids with me. They are truly amazing people!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Year Off To A Good Start

Well, another year is off and running. Forms are turned in, the schedule is set and I've even met with a few families already. Today I've enjoyed reading the old Grimm Brother's version of Snow White and have experimented with injecting "poison" into apples to see what happens and how they change. Did you know that many fairy tales have 3's and 7's in them? I did not know that until recently and it's amazing when you start looking. In Snow White, of course there are 7 dwarfs, but there are also 7 mountains. The wicked queen visits Snow White 3 times at the cottage and there are 3 birds who visit Snow White as well. Kind of interesting, huh?

For those of you who would like to see my September schedule, you can go to my web page and download it as a PDF file.

Also, I wanted to let you know that the Atlantic Nursing and Rehab Center has asked our home school assistance program to host the September birthday party for the residents on Tuesday September 22 at 2:30 pm. We are responsible to provide cake and ice cream for 50-60 residents. We have the honor of serving the goodies and then are welcome to provide any entertainment we may have. Would any of you like to volunteer to bring a cake or some ice cream? Do you have any entertainment ideas? Let me know and we'll get something planned.

If you are receiving this as an email, you can also find this post on my blog. I use the blog as a way to communicate information and ideas to the families I work with in our program. You can make comments there and those are always welcome! You can also find older posts from last year and links to learning styles inventories and more. Check it out. And have a great week!