Very Serious Playtime


“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate
between a time for learning and a time for play
without seeing the vital connection between them.”
Leo Buscaglia

Daily Prompt: Playtime

Do you play in your daily life? What says “playtime” to you?




A Big Day in a Young Jedi’s Life

Last Wednesday the UPS man – – whom Joe likes to joke is at our house every single day – – rolled up with the original Star Wars Trilogy.  The kids waited almost a year for it and their hooting and hollering could be heard up the hill across from our house.

We watched A New Hope that night after JohnJohn went to sleep.  Joe came home from work “early” to mark the occasion and the four of us sprawled in the dark on the couch munching and chatting and taking it all in.

The next night  – – Thursday – – we sat again in the dark, this time in the still-not-unpacked office.  Molly curled up on the couch.  I sat in a chair, feet up on the ottoman, as JohnJohn climbed on my legs, and off my legs, and on my legs again.  Joseph stood between us, winging his double-headed lightsaber to and fro, as we watched The Empire Strikes Back.

Semi-burned popcorn kernels from my third try (Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. — YODA) littered the floor.  Sippy cups sticky with seltzer and grape juice “cocktail” lined the plastic coffee table.  I wondered aloud, yet again, whether any food made it into the kid’s mouths.

Sometime in the middle, Joe joined us after a late day at work, and immediately announced it the best movie in the trilogy.  He remembered aloud that Han Solo cut open the tauntaun because Luke could not do it himself.  We explained how that saved Luke’s life.

Before he conked out for good, JohnJohn, overtired because he’s giving up naps, grabbed my phone and squawked until I unlocked it.  I gave in, hoping to ride it out in quiet until the movie was over.  He snapped this blurry photo of that moment in our lives.


If I could hand it over to a sculptor to carve (it doesn’t even have to be Michelangelo), I would.  It’d be easy to catch the beauty:  the arch of my 5-year-old’s foot, the coil of the beloved blanket, the flat of his hand, how the saber glistened in the glow of Hoth.

But I’d hope that sculptor caught the significance of that mundane moment too:  A child, free from real worry, utterly engrossed in the good fight.

Daily Prompt: Michelangelo’s YOU

Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing, or event from the last month of your life into the glistening marble of immortality. What’s the statue and what makes it so significant?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SIGNIFICANT.

The #1 Reason Most Parents and Teachers Choose Books for Kids


Take any one you want. They’re ALL apples.

We parents and teachers run the risk of picking books for our kids only for their “educational value”.

Even the funny or fun ones – – the ones with really cool covers – – the ones we just want them to read for fun – –  we pick so our kids will A) learn their letters or 2) learn to read or 3) practice reading.

A promise of “educational value,” no matter how ambiguous, gets us to move that book right to the top of our reading list.

How could it not?   Don’t most of us just want to “prepare” our kids for school, for graduation, for life?

The fact is, our kids have a life now.  Why don’t we let them choose their own books?

Daily Prompt: Reading Material

How do you pick what blogs or books to read? What’s the one thing that will get you to pick up a book or click on a link every single time?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CHOICES.

One Way to Talk With Your Kids About 9/11

It’s the 12th anniversary of September 11th, when almost 3,000 people were killed here in America.  For most of us, this day’s events are clearly fixed into our memories.  We still grapple with their significance.

My kids have no idea about the events of that day or what they meant on any level.

As a homeschooler, it’s my job to teach them.  Because my kids are young and I don’t want to scare them, instead of going through all the gory details, we’re talking today about the general facts of what happened that awful day.   Yes, airplanes were taken over by terrorists and flown into buildings.  Many, many, people lost loved ones.  It is a very sad day in American History.

I cannot help but cry as I remember it.  And I’m letting my kids see it.

We remember those almost 3,000 injured and killed.

We honor those who fought back, who helped evacuate the twin towers, who searched for survivors, who provided medical care, and who cleaned up the rubble, by talking about their bravery and selflessness.

Is there anyone braver than a first responder?

Here's to the heroes that walk amongst us, whether they wear a cape or not.

To the heroes that walk (and have walked) amongst us, thank you, whether you wear a cape or not.

Why do we memorialize things?

I want my kids to understand their history and to respect it, even if it’s drawn in broad strokes at this age.  And I want them to understand the true sacrifice made by all those helpers.  To be thankful for real heroes.

And I want to celebrate resilience:  the ability to recover from difficulty.

It’s not what happens to you in life (you can’t control it most of the time), but how you respond to it that matters.


Brainpop has a great video on the topic here.  Watch it first to ensure you’re comfortable with it before sharing it with your kids.

NPR’s StoryCorps, (one of my favorite projects ever) has a very moving story on a boss who led his team to safety though he himself did not survive the disaster.  Listen to Connie Labetti’s story here.

I regularly use This Day in History for ideas on things to share with my kids.  Here’s their take on 9/11.

Daily Prompt: Thank You

The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).

Photographers, artists, poets: show us THANKS.