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.


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.


My Mother's Day roses get better and better!

Rose 2