As a little girl I liked being in the kitchen with my Mother when she was cooking.  I wanted to be helpful, but pretty much, I was in the way, LOL! ; Not in a bad way, but in a “I need you to move so you don’t get burned-way”.  Her ingenuity led her to get those magnetic alphabets. She placed them on the refrigerator, and she instructed me to “make words”.  Needless to say this kept me occupied, and out of her way long enough to prepare dinner.  Yet her larger goal was to help me with my vocabulary.

You see, my parents major goal for my sister and I was, college.  Both coming from large, poor families in rural Mississippi and South Carolina respectively, they agreed that a college degree would catapult us to a better life; they were right.  My early education did not boast of Web 2.0 accouterments such as the Internet, email and social networking.  If I wanted to read it, I had to GO to the library: the public one or the one in my home.  If I wanted to write it, I had to get a piece of paper and a pen.  If social networking was necessary, I had to literally GO somewhere, meet someone, and know how to interact, publicly.

Please understand, I love technology and all the amenities and ease it brings.  I am excited by all the new ways children learn and explore the world in our educational institutions.  However, as the country is experiencing underachievement in epic proportions, one wonders whether we have dropped the ball.  For something as simple as those magnetic alphabets increased my vocabulary exponentially (made me a pretty good speller, too!).  When my “boredom” got the best of me, my Father suggested going to his “library” of war history and reading a book – I chose the Diary of Anne Frank and my life was never the same.  In essence, these simple measures increased my lust for learning and achieving.

I wonder what would happen if we just…went back to basics.

Thanks Mom and Dad!!