PBS Writing Contest for Kids

If your child is a writer (or if you would like to encourage them in this direction), be sure they know about the PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest.  (This link takes you to the press release, not the contest entry.)

The 2013 contest is for Grades K-3.  Entries will be judged on local, state, and national levels, with prizes at each level.  Entries are not being accepted yet, but now is a great time to get those ideas flowing.  At PBS Kids Go they can also read the winners from the 2012 contest.

This is not a photo of my children writing. Here they are mixing chemicals to make a big mess.

So many blogs, so little time

I just wanted to ask if any of you are interested in a Nativity Carnival– something akin to the Advent Carnival A Ten O’Clock Scholar and At a Hen’s Pace hosted last year– over Advent/Christmas/Epiphany.  Kerry’s imagining a Mr Linky-type event where you can add your own posts.  If so, please go on over to A Ten O’clock Scholar and let her know.

Also, Like Mother Like Daughter is hosting a giveaway of some beautiful Christmas cards from Minted.  I’m so nice I told you about it thus diminishing my own chances– so don’t be surprised if I don’t win and you’re stuck receiving our badly xeroxed (or HP’d) letter again this year.

And tomorrow night my 1000th post giveaway closes, so don’t forget to enter.

1000th Post Contest

Hey, friends!  Guess what?  This is my 1000th post (since June 2006).

To celebrate, I thought I’d have a little contest.

See this beautiful hardwood cutting board?

My friend who is an artist in wood made several as a fund-raiser for his son’s school.  This one is mine, but I am giving away an equally beautiful hand-made artisan cutting board to the lucky winner of my contest.

To enter, go to the comments section and tell me what kind of posts you’d like to see in the future over here at Learning As We Go.

Entries close onThursday October 27th at 11 p.m., and I’ll announce the randomly chosen a winner on the 28th.

And thank you for walking this journey with me!

SOAP: Wrap-Up


Thanks to everyone who bought soap, delivered soap, collected soap, sent money, and is carrying soap in your luggage!


If all goes well, 150 pounds of soap and hand-sanitizer is on its way today for Honduras, will be held till Monday and then will be picked up and delivered to the main public hospital in Tegucigalpa for use by nurses, doctors, and families in preventing infection.

If you have soap collected that didn’t make it to the post office yet (and we all know how that can happen!) consider passing it on to your local food bank.  Our local one gives out as much soap as it buys each week.  It turns out hunger beats out soap on the priority list all over the world, and Tegucigalpa isn’t the only place where infections are killing people for want of soap.  Thanks for keeping Honduras in your prayers and thoughts.



Thanks to those of you who supported our trips this year: everyone who prayed us there (and back!); those of you who cared for my kids on long days; those who gave money for our plane tickets; those who prayed; those who had the catalyst conversations, turning vision into action… I can’t count you all.

Future plans are percolating in our minds, but for right now, we’re talking soap.


In Tegucigalpa, Sam gave a lecture (kind of a Pediatrics Grand Rounds) at a public hospital.  Then they took him on a tour of their hospital, and he met many of their infectious disease faculty.  It was a great connection, and one we hope wll be revisited in the future.  But while he was touring their hospital, they shared that they have no soap.

Wait, you think, I read that wrong.  How could a hospital have no soap?

The hospital has no soap.  Patients are supposed to bring their own for the doctors to use, and that rarely happens.  As a consequence, infections are spread from patient to patient through the hospital, in an [almost] entirely avoidable fashion.

Sam wrote letters upon letters to different soap companies and medical suppliers to find a sustainable source of soap… we’ll see what comes of that– it’s a very slow ball to start rolling.


So until then, we’re having a soap drive.  We have contacts traveling to Tegucigalpa in September who agreed to take a suitcase of soap to Sam’s colleagues in this hospital, and we’re going to fill it.

If you have any bars of soap you can spare (you know, the case you bought at Costco a year ago and keep forgetting you have…) drop them off at our house or bring them to church (or email me at momco3 (at) gmail (dot) com if you want to mail them) and we’ll pass them on to these folks in Tegucigalpa.  We’ll make this win-win contest: how much soap can we as a group send to Tegucigalpa?

And the winner is…

Tamarin!  (My random number generator involved a very complicated system of one child writing names on pieces of paper, and another blindfolded child drawing them out of a bowl.)

Tamarin and Christine had great suggestions, and I am inspired to get out to do more exploring!  Be sure to check out the comments here for their ideas. 


A growing part of my philosophy of education is the importance of EXPLORATION.

Miss Mason said that children need to finish their "classroom" work in the morning so that they can be free for the afternoon to explore, preferably outside.

I heard on NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday a few weeks ago that children are naturally scientists.  They are experimenters and explorers.  They want to find out WHY, and the reason they often think science class is "boring" is that they are studying things other people have already figured out.  Instead, children want to be involved in the process of discovery.

I think both those ideas are right, but I struggle with how to meet those needs in our little suburban life.  The reality is that our world is not as safe as it was 120 years ago, when Miss Mason could throw the children (I mean that in the most affectionate manner) out into the English countryside to explore. 

I’d love to hear how you meet your children’s need to discover and explore.  Post your solution to the HOW TO SUPPORT OUR CHILDREN’S NEED TO EXPLORE in the comments by Saturday Oct 17 at 10 p.m., and I’ll draw a randomly selected winner out on Sunday October 18th.  The winner will receive a copy of Arthur Ransome’s book Swallows and Amazons (or any of the sequels, if you already have it)!