Friday, August 19, 2016

What do teen athletes do for fun?

More sports of course!
Believe it or not, the young athletes I know continue to be physically active during their off time. Like all teens, they do their fair share of video games, texting, social media and just chillin' but it seems, the norm of physical activity they are used to, continues even into the off times when they are not scheduled to practice or compete. Movement is their norm, too much sitting still just doesn't feel right to them.

A few of the recent off season activities that have been engaged in by the non-stop movement people in my life.
  • Hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range.
  • Badminton in the yard.
  • Spikeball at the beach.
  • Rock climbing at the climbing gym.
  • Beach volleyball.
Having a wide range of movement opportunities allows a young athlete to use different sets of muscle groups, try new things and actually have a little down time, The variation in mental attention also gives them a break from the intensity of focus required if they are engaged in a highly competitive sport. All of the above activities have also offered an opportunity to include friends or family members for some fun and casual social interaction. 

We love Spikeball!

Try Spikeball at the beach, at the park or in the yard.
Amazon affiliate link.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Home State Travel

When planning a family vacation, central Illinois may not be the first destination that comes to mind. However, we have visited the state capital of Illinois on several occasions and if you have the opportunity, are interested in American history, are teaching it to homeschooled children or reinforcing a school curriculum, I'd highly recommend a stop in Springfield, IL.

Surrounded by beautiful and productive farmland, Springfield's biggest draw is it's historical connection to our most famous of presidents, Abraham Lincoln. There are a series of attractions in Springfield that offer an informative and revealing look into his life and times.

Lincoln's Tomb Association website.
A life of hard work, dedication to learning, greatness, tragedy and mostly his legacy of commitment to freedom and of ending slavery, learning about Abraham Lincoln is a key to understanding the history of the United States of America and it's foundation of liberty.

Visit these attractions for an in depth view:
  • The Lincoln tomb at Oak Ridge cemetery has an interesting history itself.
  • The Lincoln Museum and Library presents the information and artifacts in an engaging and accessible way for visitors of all ages. Excellent gift shop, too! The Lincoln Museum website.
  • The Lincoln New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstructed village of where Abraham Lincoln spent his young adulthood. It is located about 20 miles northwest of Springfield and presents a - you are there - experience of the 1830's. Check days and hours of operation.

Abraham Lincoln - discover more about the man, the president, his life and times in Springfield, Illinois.
A few good Lincoln reads, available at amazon.

And more history resources at Schoolhouse Teachers. To explore click the image below.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sharing the Shining Summer Season in Rhyme

The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
                  O wind, a-blowing all day long,
                  O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
                 O wind, a-blowing all day long,
                 O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
                O wind, a-blowing all day long,
                O wind, that sings so loud a song!

Or if you'd like to hear an arrangement of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem The Wind set to music

Here's another lovely one about the windy summer fun of flying kites. Hold tight to that string!
Another great poetry resource with a home in Chicago: The Poetry Foundation

A Summer Read

Secret Daughter 

by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

After a few years of only scattered reading of novels, I am finding encouragement and titles to draw me back into reading fiction. I am gradually returning to reading novels more consistently again for pleasure.
Inspiration to read.

In need of a good read for a flight and some time relaxing on the beach, I bought a copy of The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda in anticipation of a trip to Virginia Beach. The story is engaging and moved steadily enough for me to return to it over and over during our travels. The pace was exactly what I had hoped for, perfect for traveling.

The Secret Daughter is primarily the story of two women, countries and cultures apart, whose lives intersect despite the distance and cultural differences between them. The author's personal knowledge of Indian culture informs her descriptions. She writes with understanding and authority about the situations her characters find themselves in.

Throughout, the story is infused with revealing insights about general cultural differences between east and west and specifically those pertaining to women and marriage. With vivid descriptions of her characters and their surroundings, the story creates a bridge between cultures and addresses issues universal to women.

In this novel, author Shilpi Somaya Gowda, shares an understanding of relationships and motherhood within a multicultural context. Her story is informed by her own life experience. She touches on issues of class and gender roles with insight and personal understanding. The story explores the influence of culture on her characters experience and how cultural expectations define an individuals experience of important relationships.