When I was a kid I always used to get the inevitable summer reading list, especially in grammar school, which always got shoved somewhere under my bed the day after school let out. I blissfully forgot about the lists for the rest of the summer. I think I was friends with a few kids who did actually, you know, learn stuff during the summer. That definitely wasn’t me though.
Now that my own little redheaded appendages are in elementary school they get those summer reading lists and sometimes more. I was a book-worm when I was a kid, (and now) so I just ploughed through most of the local library on my own. However with my oldest, I have made an attempt each summer to reinforce her math skills. Like me, she is also a reader, so those lists were generally half read before summer started. But with the math we would enthusiastically make up worksheets for about a week, and then suddenly it was half way through August when I remembered to pull out the booklet or find a math game on the computer. We always made a half-hearted attempt though, and as a result her brain was not entirely empty when she went back to school in the fall. Now that she has discovered a few new math games on the computer that she enjoys, I think she will get a little more learning this summer.
This year, however, since I have two little ones in school its double the load. Apparently, being in special education entitles you to a nice shiny journal with lots of blank pages, along with the math and reading. Because of her challenges with focus and attention, I really want to give her a boost up as she enters the intimidating world of regular education. My youngest is thrilled with her journal and can hardly wait for summer to begin so she can start filling those pages up.
It’s really for their own good, I tell myself. Unfortunately life always seems to intervene and we are left with fewer days of leisure each summer. I am hoping that my daughters’ enthusiasm for learning carries them beyond my innate summer laziness and that we get much more summer learning done this year. I kind of have a hunch we will.
I’ve been a fan of science fiction my entire life. Growing up, I must have read every Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clark book my mother owned, in addition to the other numberous paperbacks stacked on our many book shelves. I don’t even remember most of the names now, but they were always favorites. As I grew older I moved on to the mystery genre, but maintained my love of science fiction, especially when it came to movies. When you bring up science fiction or sci-fi, most people think Star Trek or Star Wars. There are so many other movies, shows and books, but Star Trek definitely started a trend in my life. After swearing that I would never watch it (scarred at age 7 by ‘Star Trek II’), I fell in love with its second series in later years. From that I progressed backwards to the original series. Although I have watched all the series’ faithfully, it’s the original that holds the most fascination for me. (There, a Spock reference.) I loved the quirky, cheesy lines, and appreciate the creativity that went into making special effects when there were no CGI characters. I also find it wonderful that many things we use today in everyday life were conceived of by fans of the original series. I did always want a cell phone which beeped when I flipped it up. I moved on to other shows, and read other books though, staying away from some of the more depressing bleak visions of the future. Throughout the years, another show which is definitely considered sci-fi, but hardly about the future, or the past, is of course Doctor Who. My family has always been faithful watchers of this show, which is so varied in its storylines and characters that there is no trend which I hope humans follows as we progress into the 21st century. But it is a highly entertaining show and one which I have started my daughters on at a young age. Some science fiction is actually quite believable, and others, we wish were possible. The vision of the future that Star Trek has developed is very positive, though not at all idealistic. According to the creators of that future, of which Gene Roddenberry is the foremost, there are tough times, and wars, but in the end, it looks like a pretty good future. We even have whales in our oceans all thanks to Captain Kirk and his cohorts. I find that fellow lovers of science fiction pop in and out of my life, and it is quite gratifying to bond with them over reminiscences of our favorite episodes of Star Trek, or recommendations of books. I think that on the whole, many lovers of science fiction tend to be fairly optimistic people. Perhaps that is why we find one another. I don’t have much time to watch or read all the sci-fi (or mysteries) that I used to, but I always find myself grabbing an old Arthur C. Clark (or Agatha Christie) when in need of some relaxation. In writing this post, I hope that it reaches other fans of science fiction and cheers their day as perhaps it triggers a memory or two of their favorite show or book. As my favorite character would say “Live Long and Prosper”.