Grow Where You Are Planted

This simple pot on our front stoop has become somewhat symbolic to me, a sign of season’s change, reminding me there’s even beauty in snow covered dead plants when you look hard enough. Which, in a roundabout way, reminds me…
I have a little story to tell you. You may want a cup of something before you settle in.
Once upon a time, before school days, homework, taekwondo, hectic schedules, my kids and I spent a lot of time just being together here at home. Our days had a rhythm that was all ours, that usually involved parks, libraries, meetings with friends. At home, there were pots and pans to play with, ponies to build stables for, thomas trains to chug chug to their destinations. We were, each of us here, busy in our own ways. We liked the background noise of some kid-friendly music, or a good audio book, when we were whiling away an afternoon, busying ourselves with our tasks at hand. Around this time I believe I was flipping through a Chinaberry catalogue and read about an audio program for kids called Boomerang!. It was described as “NPR for kids” and, as a self-confessed news junkie (for better or worse), my interest was immediately peaked. I ordered the box of 4 cassette tapes. When they arrived I pushed play, and the kids and I listened. This was not simple an audio tape of a kid’s book being read to them. This was information…jokes…facts…and all told by kids. As a family, we were on board from the very beginning.
I started asking friends if they’d heard of Boomerang! and was surprised that none had. None! I clearly had stumbled onto a very well-hidden gem. Why didn’t teachers know about it? None I talked to did. Homeschoolers? Again, none around here. My family became the local authorities. We would grab a new one as a download whenever we could find them (not easy to find back then). I mentioned these programs in this space as a great summer activity back in 2006. These have been an amazing accompanyment to our daily lives. Many summer afternoons the kids have spent listening to Boomerang! in their treehouse (which is not really a treehouse, but a structure that seems to be up high in the trees, so, a treehouse). During a long summer day of being at home (or a long winter one, for that matter), a 70 minute long audio program the kids can play and relax while listening to, is pure bliss.
Emma and Ian recently listened to Dave’s episode of the “Money Mess” (issue 10-12)… again, keep in mind, the explained by kids, for kids is powerful. I think even I got a better understanding of it. Emma is doing a project on the French Revolution and went back to an old episode to listen to a kid “interview” Napoleon. The kids pulled out the segment on Henry Ford for yet another school project. I love the idea that they are not surfing the internet randomly looking for this info, that they have this available to them this way.  If we don’t have a particular episode, it is very easy to go back to the website and look through the back issues. I will never try to explain quantum physics to my kids, for fear of turning them off of the idea of ever wanting to know more. But Boomerang! will tell them.
Flash forward to just a couple of months ago. Peter and I got a phone call from the creator of Boomerang! (also known affectionately as “Dave Schmave the Elevator Man” by my kids and others). That voice was recognized by both of us immediately. The teller of our favorite stories! (And by the way Dave, I love that my daughter thinks you’re cooler than Hannah Montana.) Through a series of conversations, Peter and I partnered up with Dave, and Boomerang!. We all felt strongly that it was time to spread the word to a wider audience.
Well, I am very sure you’ve reached the end of your cup now. Thanks for reading along, and for your support, as always. You guys are the best.

  • tracy

    March 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for the info, Blair. Boomerang sounds like an awesome addition to our car travel activities so we can all enjoy it at the same time.

  • Sarah Jackson

    March 4, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    so cool Blair! I’m on my way to look right now.

  • Lynn in Tucson

    March 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for that! I’m running right over to check it out!

  • Banana

    March 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    This is great! Thanks so much.

  • Aruna

    March 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Blair, I can’t tell you how awesome I think this is! Both that Boomerang exists and that you are involved with it. I also appreciate giving kids access to this kind of information without web-surfing. Going to check it out tonight! Thank you!

  • erin

    March 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    ok. i’m totally sold after reading this and our phone conversation about it. i’m just not sure where to start. do i go back and pick a few or subscribe and get newer ones? thoughts?

  • Cheryl

    March 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I have two 6-year-old nieces that would love this. Thanks for getting the word out. I love the internets. 🙂

  • Courtney Russell

    March 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    How funny, I just got an email from him recently (not a personal one, part of the mailing list I guess) and he mentioned the flat price to access the archives and I thought– “I wonder if Blair knows?”

  • Betz

    March 4, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    How great that you’re working with an organization that means so much to you, what a score! I had heard of Boomerang ages ago and was really excited about it. Somehow I never actually made it happen, can’t remember the obstacle. Anyway, good news you’re on the team to get them out there!

  • betz

    March 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Me again,
    I just went to the site again and I don’t know where to start! Too many to choose from, not sure how many to buy, etc. Maybe I’m just tired 🙂 Can you recommend a few shows to get us started? Some favorites of yours? Thx!

  • Quincy Brownfield

    March 4, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Oh my! I am loving this. I have only recently begun looking at your blog (which I love!) I am a teacher and I cannot wait to share what I have stumbled upon here! Why has no one told me of Boomerang? Very cool!

  • rustandroses

    March 4, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    YES! We have been huge fans of Boomerang!, too! And it had always seemed that no one else was aware of it..? This is really cool. Bravo!

  • mijk

    March 4, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    verry annoyed that my kids don’t speak english yet!

  • caroline thornewill

    March 5, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Thanks for that Blair! We will definitely be adding these to our collection.
    And I love that you guys have teamed up. Well done!

  • liz stiglets

    March 5, 2009 at 4:48 am

    i’m excited – thank you!
    this sounds right up my alley. and congrats on such a fun partnership.
    yes – the good things do come, when you are open and receptive – thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • hannah

    March 5, 2009 at 6:37 am

    blair this is so fantastic! there used to be a boomerang show on pbs, are they at all connected?

  • kat

    March 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

    i use a similar expression “bloom where you are planted”.
    i’m another homeschooler who hadn’t heard of boomerang. i’m off to look at the site and blog. thanks 🙂

  • Stephanie

    March 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

    WOW! 1995, teaching middle school I discovered Boomerang, also through the Chinaberry catalog. Fast forward to 2008, I have a 10 year old, 9 year old and a 5 year old. We have worn out the old tape cassettes listening to Dave Schmave. We found the Boomerang sight last summer and we purchased a subscription have listened to the episodes over and over again. I’m so thrilled to now find the blog.

  • mo

    March 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you! It sounds fantastic. I am starting to mull over what sumer will look like around here and Boomerang seems a good fit for what I want to have go on around these parts.

  • mo

    March 5, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I love the little reminders in your post from those blissfull days of early childhood/momhood. Things get so busy you forget how wonderful those days were. Thanks.

  • michelle Gidosh

    March 6, 2009 at 9:11 am

    our art cards are starting to roll in… the kids are loving it! Thank you for all your time in organizing the swap… you rock!

  • Annie

    March 6, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Wow- thanks for this. It sounds like it would be just up our alley! Oh, and thanks for organizing the swap as well- it was really fun for us. I keep forgetting to post to the Flickr group but did post pictures of our cards on my blog… We are out of town but I’ll get them onto the Flickr group when we get back.

  • Annie Pazoo

    March 8, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this news. I loved learning about Boomerang (you had me at “like NPR for kids” 🙂 Gonna click over there right now!

  • geek+nerd

    March 20, 2009 at 4:38 am

    The program sounds great, I had never heard of it either. It’s so exciting that you are working on a project that you’re so passionate about. That’s always the best!

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