The Mint

I had no idea that April was Financial Literacy Month. But now that it’s nearly over, take this opportunity to check out The Mint. The Mint ( www.themint.org ) is about teaching kids about money and how to manage it.

The Mint is a joint effort on the part of The Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the National Council on Economic Education that was launched in 1997 to help children develop good financial habits. It’s chock full of ideas for kids, parents, and teachers.

Child Well-being Indicators Stand Still

Child Well-Being Index 2007 Report: The Foundation for Child Development has published its Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI), which is an annual comprehensive measure of how children are faring in the United States. According to the report, the progress being made improving American children’s quality of life has come to a standstill, however, policymakers and others can benefit from the CWI because it offers a long-view snapshot of how children are doing over time.

Earth Day and World Water Day

As I sat in the gallery of the House of Representatives around 2pm April 17, 2007, a smattering* of representatives were speaking about passing a resolution to honor World Water Day on March 22. A bow-tie clad Member of the House asserted that every 15 seconds a child dies from lack of access to clean water. Yet he said we know how to provide a person with a year’s worth of clean water for less than the cost of a takeout pizza.

Amazing changes in attitude about human impact on the environment have come about in the decades since recognition of Earth Day began. If we really do need separate Earth and Water Days, let us hope Water Day awareness effects change in less than decades.

*Attendance was low and no votes would be taken that day in acknowledgement of the prior day’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.

Some free Library of Congress resources

I’ve just spent four days in Washington, DC with my family. Did you know Bob Hope left 85,000 pages of jokes to the Library of Congress and established the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment? As another tidbit, I noticed that both of Wyoming’s statues in the Capitol portray women.
With Frontline Diplomacy, the Library of Congress opens a window into the lives of American diplomats and U.S. foreign policy — how it is formulated in Washington and implemented at our embassies abroad. Transcripts of more than 1,300 interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture their experiences, motivations, personal analyses, and private thoughts.
Another interesting offering by Library of Congress, the Guide to World War I Materials includes photos, essays, primary documents, films, and sound recordings related to World War I. Read news accounts of the war, including in The Stars and Stripes, a newspaper written by and for American soldiers at the war front. See brief features about the U.S. entering the war (April 6, 1917), American forces’ first offensive (September 12, 1918), and the Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919).

The Great Turtle Race

At www.greatturtlerace.com you have the opportunity to follow eleven GPS-tagged leatherback turtles as they make their way from Costa Rica back to the Galapagos Islands. The Great Turtle Race is designed to spread awareness of the plight of the leatherback turtle, a creature that has survived a 100 million years on the Earth but may not survive much longer.

Seven days until The Great Turtle Race begins, so visit www.greatturtlerace.com now. There are options to donate to help the leatherbacks and lesson plans for teachers.

Oprah spotlights autism today

On Thursday, April 5, The Oprah Winfrey Show will devote a full hour to autism. I don’t have a TV, so I’d love it if readers post comments of the parts they found interesting!
Portions of Autism Speaks‘ documentary, Autism Every Day, will be featured throughout the program, entitled The Faces of Autism. Several of the parents featured in the film, including Jesse Mojica, Katie Wright and Michele Pierce Burns, will participate in the show, along with Autism Speaks Co-founder Suzanne Wright. In addition, the show will profile a pediatrician who specializes in the treatment of autism and is also the parent of two children on the spectrum.

Other topics will include teens with autism and the effect autism can have on siblings.

Check your local listings to find out when The Oprah Winfrey Show airs in your area.

Kids can knit

Waldorf Schools teach knitting sooner than they teach reading. I had a nice time this summer with a friends’ son teaching him the basic knitting stitch. I was surprised because he and his brother are very rough and tumble boys, but then again, when I was a kid I knew of a professional football player who knit.

Here are a few resources to get you started:

Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick has great visuals for teaching yourself as well as lots of fun and easy projects.

Knitting Pattern Central also has instructions plus a whole directory of free patterns. (Thanks to Mae Ling Doherty for pointing me to this site over a year ago.)

And for the accomplished and intrepid knitters who want to plan their own illustrations for knit garments, here’s a great little site that will generate graph paper to match the size of your gauge! (Thanks to the Knitting Room for pointing this site out).

P.S. If there are still any gender qualms out there, here’s a funny (corny?) book to browse: Men Who Knit & The Dogs Who Love Them.