Sunday, August 14, 2011

Knowledge...and a map of the world. Diane comments in San Francisco Chronicle 8.14.2011

A recent Newsweek poll said 38 percent of Americans would fail the U.S. citizenship test...Putting a colorful map of the world might be a good place to remedy the fact that many families don't know much about history.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Start off the school year right!

With school around the corner, start the year off right and buy a colorful map of the world. Let me share a story, THE MAP.

Our kitchen is the focal point of our family life and for the past 30 years, a colorful map of the world has decorated the room where we eat all our meals. It was this MAP that became a focal point for our conversations. We are a family of newspaper readers and THE MAP gave us context to where in the world something had happened. There was never any shortage of what to talk about, and we saw that without the map, our dinner table conversations became trapped in the sand pit of  “what happened (in school) today?”  with the usual forthcoming response: “Not much, nothing.”  When the boys were young THE MAP felt like a gigantic game board—it was fun and a challenge to discover and find the exact locations of world and national events.  The aim of any good conversation is to explore and not to persuade and THE MAP saved us from tedious and boring conversations as it entertained and educated. John Dewey said, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”  Let a world map or a map of the United States be your family’s midwife to that education. 
P.S. THE MAP still hangs on the wall and not one of my sons live in the same time zone as their parents. We “blame” THE MAP, but hey, we told them to put on their roller skates and explore the world. My children were very good listeners.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The drawback of E-readers.

I have written extensively about the pros and cons of E-Reading and I admit I am not lukewarm on the subject. But I have just found the reason why I have not succumbed. I  recently read an article, “What an E-Reader Can’t Download.”  and I couldn’t say it more eloquently so here is an excerpt from that article.  “Electronic books can give us a universe of reading without ever leaving the house. but the books on my shelf help me remember that reading isn’t merely an inhalation of data. My library, and the years and places it evokes, speak of something deeper: the interplay of literature and the landscape of a life, the vivid record of a slow and winding search for wisdom, truth, the spark of pleasure or insight.”