Like There’s No Tomorrow

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What a word – enrichment. Though it may sound very schoolish and exclusive to the 21st century parent (or just an ingredient in a loaf of bread), it really is much more.

To enrich something is to make it fuller, richer, more meaningful and more rewarding.

Enrichment…enrichment. What to do with that word?

Here at the end of another great semester in the education department at our local college, I’ve once again had the privilege of teaching and getting to know some of the most creative and devoted future teachers in the field. It’s really amazing to me, but there always seems to be one conversation that we have as a class that I will never forget. And in this particular semester’s conversation, enrichment was the topic.

We talked about these great early childhood classrooms and how to fill them with meaning, make them richer and interesting and even, dare I say it, fascinating – for both student AND teacher. And what we were talking about was, that’s right, enriching them!

As a group of people who one day hope to teach in the classrooms of children, we decided on a new goal: when we get out there and are assigned our first classroom and we host our first parents night, we want a parent to turn to the other parent and say, “Hey, I didn’t know our kid was gifted and in the enrichment program!” The other parent will then respond, “That wasn’t the gifted program or his enrichment teacher, that was just the everyday classroom and his very own teacher!”

That’s it: our dream. We teach every child as a gifted child. We take every day with these students and we seize it like there’s no tomorrow.

Richer…fuller…more meaningful.

So whether it’s with the students in your classroom or among the family sitting around your kitchen table; your marriage or your reading choices; your sports teams or your parenting style; the way you fish or the places you travel; how you think or what you say; who makes you laugh or what makes you think – enrich it.

Julia Reviews! ‘The Mystery in the Old Attic’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

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Title/Series: The Mystery In The Old Attic/The Boxcar Children
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Year It Was Made: 1997
Publisher: Albert Whitman And Company
Time It Took Me To Read It: 2 Days
Back Of Book: Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny used to live alone in a boxcar. Now they have a home with their grandfather, and they are exploring an old house in Michigan.  When the Aldens arrive at the mansion, they can’t wait to start looking through all the rooms. They find an old diary that tells that a diamond and pearl ring is hidden in the house. The only way to find the ring is to solve the riddle written in the diary. But someone has already found the ring-and sold it! Who could be responsible? The Boxcar Children must find out!!!
My Review: This is such an amazing book! You’ll LOVE it! This is a great classic!!! My teacher read this book when she was little. It was her favorite, and now, it’s mine! (It’ll be yours,too!;)
Best Quote: He had just noticed that the ceiling continued above a wall that did not reach all the way  to the rafters. “There is a room behind that wall!” Benny exclaimed!

We’re Right Behind You Dad

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When I was a boy, we moved from the city to a farm near my grandparents.  Our little trailer house was nestled right between three things that often kept me awake and worried after dark at night.  They were a dilapidated hundred-year old two-story house to the west, an even older (and only a bit smaller) barn to the east, and an ancient cement cellar with a heavy metal door to the north.

By day, these three places were a boy’s adventurous dreamscapes and were replete with hidden closets under creaking staircases and musty smells and scratch marks from who knows what kinds of animals.  There were boxes of old newspapers and various pieces of archaic furniture in the old house’s nearly collapsed attic and large leather harnesses and ropes and pulleys hung from wooden slats of the dark stalls that lined each side of the old barn.  The dimly lit cellar was a great place to think of spooky stories to tell my younger sister and an even better (and brave) place to hide in a game of hide-and-seek.

By night, these three places were another thing altogether.  They represented every scary movie that I had ever heard of (and I only knew of a few at this point in my young life) and seemed to surely be the birthplaces of every monster and ghost and eerie sound that the world of a young boy’s mind could muster.

By day, they were my Mt. Everest.  By night, they were my Legend of Boggy Creek.

Today we visit the old house, the spot where the barn once stood, and the musty cellar with my children and I tell them of the feelings I had when I was their age.  I keenly remember the experiences, the sights and sounds of it all, as the memories come flooding back to me – the fun and the fear and the courage and the weakness and the dark and the light, the dreams and the nightmares.

While we were searching through the ruins of these familiar places, I noticed that when we would enter a particularly dark or cobweb-infested area my youngest daughter would say, “We’re right behind you dad.”  And then…they would only take a step after I took a step.  They would only move ahead after I moved ahead.  They would only laugh after I laughed.

And it all makes me think – I was only taking a step because I knew they needed to take a step.  I was only moving ahead because I knew they needed to move ahead. I was only laughing because I knew they needed to laugh.

Then as a boy, I remember how it felt to try to navigate my courage and my fear, my dreams and my nightmares, all at the same time…for myself.

Now as a father, I know how it feels to navigate my courage and my fear, my dreams and my nightmares all at the same time…for them.

 

Father Knows Five 4-25-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week!

1.  An interesting new book about Mr. Caldecott!

2.  A short interview with Lois Ehlert, one of our very favorite children’s authors/illustrators.

3.  Click on this wonderful illustration by Quint Buchholz to see more!:  wow

4.  38ffda7f9458eb0c63d8ee3be014c9b4

5.  A favorite poem by Shel Silverstein – “Sick”

Baby Frederico, Poet!

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*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story (or book review or movie) from our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…Shel Silverstein.  Here is something entirely new:

It happened once many years ago

that there was a little green reptile by the name of Frederico.

His family called him Baby and there was even a lady

who once pulled his big toe.

Instead of a cry, he let out a giggle.

It was the kind of giggle that would make you wiggle,

and smile and laugh and giggle some more.

He often took naps with his grandpa (who would snore)

and he lived in the country with pets galore.

He had two chickens, two kittens, and a horse.

There was even a little black puppy named Charlie, of course.

His Momma was Italian and his Papa from Mexico

And together the three would learn to grow and grow

Into one happy family by the name of Frederico.

 Yes, that’s right.  It did happen once many years ago!

There was indeed a little green reptile.  His name?  Baby Frederico.

Great Expectations

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In celebration of our new page – Great Movies Among Dad & Daughters – we want to tell you about the film that started it all.

I am always searching the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel to find films that I think our daughters and I might enjoy watching together on the weekends. I learned several years ago that this channel can be a treasure to parents and caregivers of young families who are hoping to find something to watch that is not gruesome or laced with foul language and is not interested in shocking viewers with nudity or sex. There are not even any commercials! Simply put, it’s a concerned dad’s paradise when he wants to enjoy a good movie with his kids.

When I ran across the 1946 film version of Charles Dickens‘ classic literary work, Great Expectations, I was intrigued. This is a major book and one that would eventually be required of the girls to read in our local high school’s English class. Right now, though, they are 9 and 14 so I wondered if it would it be over their heads or vastly boring to them. I hit the record button anyway and decided we would watch it together and find out.

And wow!  What a movie!  What a story!  It has even inspired us to create a new page here at fatherknowsbooks titled ‘Great Movies Among Dad and Daughters.’ Check it out on our home page.

I can’t say enough good about this cinematic work, so see it whenever you can.

As the credits rolled over the final and very moving scene of the movie, the girls and I got into a conversation about why Dickens might have chosen to title his story “Great Expectations.”  It was a good talk but the most interesting thing happened – we decided that the one who experienced the “great expectations” the most in the story was us, the readers, the silent observers of the tale.  We expected certain things from certain people and were always surprised when those expectations were completely incorrect.  We judged based upon wealth and intelligence and kindness and beauty, never expecting that those very things were causing us to expect something that was not going to happen – in the way we planned it.

And that has me thinking…sounds a whole lot like real life to me.

 

‘Mr. Gumpy’s Outing’ – Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room.

 

Today’s great book: Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham (1970, Henry Holt and Company)

Interesting Facts about the Author: “John Burningham – A Life in Pictures”

Time to Read: we read it just before bed

Summary:  from the inside cover…”Mr. Gumpy lives by a river.  One sunny day he decides to take a ride in his small boat.  It is such a perfect idea, for such a perfect summer day, that he soon has company:  first the children, then the rabbit, the cat, the dog, the pig, the sheep, the chickens, and still others until – Mr. Gumpy’s outing comes to an inevitable but not unhappy, conclusion.”

Best Quote from the Book:  “May I come, please Mr. Gumpy?”  said the pig.  “Very well, but don’t muck about.”

Our View:  I knew very little of the book of John Burningham until I was surprised on my birthday with a large hardback edition of his book, Would You Rather?, a wonderfully illustrated read-aloud that asks the reader all kinds of outlandish questions to determine what they would like to do on a particular day.  When I ran across the book, Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, I immediately knew it was his book because of the familiar illustration on its cover.  His style of drawing is immediately recognizable and interesting, while all the while beckoning the reader to open the book and get reading.  The cadence of the words is also a wonderful example of a superior read-aloud for children.  Teachers/classrooms and families/homes need this book!

Favorite Illustrations from the Book:

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