I've always been irritated by such "learning aids" because they seem to leapfrog over the learning process and feed a student information that he/she should be figuring out for themselves. But then I was an English major in college, and before that an English-class-lover in high school, and I actually enjoyed—passionately enjoyed—the process of thinking about the components of literature. Many kids don't, and perhaps these educational shortcuts provide a valid boost to those who might abandon thought altogether. I don't know.

And I only mention it because a website called Shmoop.com which provides such help to students has sent me this "award" which they wanted me to put on my website.  I am not going to do that. But I did go to their website and I can see that the same students who email me to ask, "What are the major themes in The Giver?"— and then are frustrated because I tell them I am not going to do their homework for them—well, they can go to this website and get their homework done.

Best-of-Web-badges-4

If it means that they, in the process of copying the information provided for them, might actually learn something....well, it can't be all bad.

But darn it. I remember the passion and enthusiasm with which I puzzled over literature when I was in school, and through which I learned to appreciate and love some writers who at first seemed "too hard." 

I wish shortcuts hadn't become a way of life.

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My Mother's Day roses get better and better!

Rose 2