Monday, January 23, 2012

Kids and Cameras

I love when friends of mine come up with some thing ingenious and then ask if I want to tag along! Last summer a friend came up with the brilliant idea to partner with our local TV station and create a news program run by kids. It was launched in September with a core group of kids ranging in age from second through eighth grades. Each month kids pitch ideas, anchor the desk, produce feature stories, man the studio cameras, and much more.

January's news program focused on the exciting world beyond our little hamlet so my two eldest produced a feature story on what an adoption trip to China is like. So for those of you who don't have access to our tiny little TV station, here is the segment. (the beginning and the end were filmed with my iPhone off the TV so I could show you what the story looked like paired with the studio bit)

I loved working on this with them. The most magical trip of our lives from the point of view of an 8 and 10 year old.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Enrich yourself

If you are like me, you appreciate living in the US for its perks of freedoms, democracy, cheeseburgers, and baseball. But you also wish you lived close enough to other cultures allowing them to seep into your life enriching your soul and adding color to your existence. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. At the age of 9 I read a news paper article about a set of summer camps in Minnesota that immersed kids in foreign language and culture. My mother was able to find out who ran them {even without the internet} and off I went for a two week stint at French Camp. Five summers and 3 languages, including German and Chinese in addition to French, later, I learned quite a bit about how connecting with people from other parts of the world can satisfy one curiosity but almost always spark another. 

It is this spark I hope to pass on to my children while also keeping it well alive within myself. So how to do this with kids? In the States?
  • Have your kids start learning a foreign language. School curriculum be damned. You can just seek it out on your own. If you don't know of a connection in your area you can try searching for one at WyzAnt (wise ant). It is like SitterCity but for tutors. I am sure you could find someone looking to offer introductory foreign language instruction for children.
  • Send them to French Camp! Or Swedish, or Italian, or any of the 15 languages offered by Concordia Language Villages
  • A friend just sent me a link to what looks like a collection of awesome summer experiences for teens around the world. Overland Summer Programs seem to run the gamut but they have foreign language and field study programs in Europe, South American and Asia. Check 'em out if this seems up your alley. 
  • Look to your city's yellow pages to see if there are cultural centers. Boston has L'Alliance Francaise, Chinese Cultural Center, amongst others. They have programs for kids and adults alike.
  • Check to see if your local museums have cultural programs. A few of ours here will be putting on some fabulous Chinese New Year celebrations soon.
  • And finally, don't forget the power of food. There are tons of ways you can give your kids a tiny bit of cultural experience just at dinner. Dig deep into your heritage and cook some things from your elders. Learn how other cultures prepare, eat, and enjoy meals and try it at your house. 
Do you have any other ways of welcoming foreign culture into your home? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year Resolutions and Attainable Goals

It is pretty hard to believe it is 2012. Which means 12, TWELVE, whole years have passed since the whole Y2K thing scared us about turning the corner into a new millennium. Do you make resolutions? I do and I don't. I make them pretty often throughout the year as well so the ones I make in January are usually just a starting point. They are usually things that help me focus on achieving bigger, loftier goals that sometimes I think are a pipe dream. But it's good to have dreams goals. And in fact it is good to write them down. I am in the process of trying to write down some new dreams goals because about 4 years ago I wrote this little section on a personal website page and slowly but surely they started to get crossed off.

Read more....