Foster Learning Beyond Classroom Walls

Foster Learning Beyond Classroom WallsIn the ever-evolving landscape of education, empowering your child’s learning journey extends far beyond the conventional classroom walls. This guide serves as your beacon, illuminating the multitude of pathways you can navigate to enrich your child’s educational experience. From creating a learning path that resonates with their unique spirit, diving into your own educational growth, to infusing fun, creativity, and exploration into their learning, every step is a leap towards nurturing a well-rounded, intellectually curious, and emotionally intelligent individual.

Tailor a Personalized Learning Path

Craft a learning journey that resonates with your child’s unique interests and passions. Understanding their preferences and inclinations is crucial in customizing teaching methods, thereby enhancing their engagement and fostering a deeper connection with the subject matter. This personalized approach not only addresses their current challenges but also amplifies their innate curiosity.

Embark on Lifelong Learning as Parents

One of the best ways you can help your child expand their horizons is by modeling that behavior yourself. Consider embracing the journey of continual learning and professional growth by delving into advanced studies, like pursuing an EdD degree online. This dedication to education not only broadens your grasp of innovative teaching strategies but also positions you to make substantial contributions to the evolution of curriculum and the shaping of educational policies.

Make Learning Fun and Engaging

Revitalize your child’s educational journey by integrating fun and engaging learning experiences. Transition from monotonous study routines to dynamic, interactive sessions that captivate your child’s attention and invigorate their desire to learn. This lively approach not only enhances their cognitive abilities but also instills a profound appreciation for the joy of learning.

Discover the World of Educational Games

Introduce your child to the captivating realm of educational games, where learning converges with play. These games are meticulously designed to stimulate your child’s intellect while offering an enjoyable and interactive learning environment. Engaging in these educational adventures encourages your child to embrace new concepts and challenges with enthusiasm and confidence.

Explore the Richness of Arts

Venture together into the vibrant world of arts, uncovering a spectrum of creativity and expression. Exploring art and music with your child not only broadens their artistic knowledge but also nurtures their emotional intelligence and cultural awareness, and it can even help them do better in school. This holistic approach to education enriches their understanding and appreciation of the world’s diverse artistic heritage.

Venture Out on Educational Field Trips

Transform the world into your child’s classroom by embarking on educational field trips. These excursions provide a dynamic platform for experiential learning, where your child can explore, inquire, and absorb knowledge first-hand. Each trip is a unique adventure, enriching their understanding of various subjects and sparking a natural curiosity about the world around them.

Immerse in Nature-Based Learning

Step into the embrace of nature, where learning harmonizes with the tranquility and beauty of the natural world. Engaging in nature-based activities provides a serene yet stimulating environment for your child to learn, reflect, and grow. This connection with nature not only enhances their environmental awareness but also offers a refreshing escape from the routine of indoor learning.

Embark on Reading Adventures

Nurture a lifelong love for literature by embarking on reading adventures together. Explore the enchanting world of books, visit libraries to uncover hidden gems, and dive into stories that spark imagination and curiosity. These reading journeys not only improve literacy skills but also open doors to new worlds, ideas, and cultures, enriching your child’s perspective and understanding.

The journey of nurturing your child’s learning is an adventure filled with discovery, growth, and joy. As you traverse this path, remember that each experience weaves a rich tapestry of knowledge and wisdom for your child. These multifaceted learning encounters not only foster academic excellence but also cultivate a deep-seated love for learning, creativity, and critical thinking. In the grand tapestry of education, you and your child are co-creators, painting vibrant strokes of knowledge, passion, and curiosity that will color their world both now and in the future.

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Thanks to Leslie Campos of wellparents.com for another informative and entertaining article.

On my blog, I provide book reviews as well as news and info about the literary world.

Great Mystery Websites

Great Mystery websitesI haven’t done a roundup of great mystery websites in a while. So here goes.

Aubrey Hamilton writes about forgotten authors at Happiness is a Book. She focuses mostly on mysteries written predominantly by American and British authors. Hamilton posts every Friday about a single book or sometimes about an author’s oeuvre.

From even a cursory look at this site, I will be hooked on Hamilton’s insights for some time to come. Most of the few authors about whom I’ve read on this site, so far, are unknow to me. But others, like Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of Charlie Chan, are familiar.

On a very similar note, Otto Penzler has, in the past, dealt in authors who have fallen out of sight. Penzler, the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, had been publishing authors from previous eras, including the Golden Age of fiction at his Mysterious Press. Penzler’s bookshop deals in modern fiction in detective, crime, hard-boiled, thrillers, espionage and suspense.

On a different note, the blog collective, Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, is a must-see for cozy mystery fans who are also foodies. According to the tagline of the blog, they are a group of “mystery writers cooking up crime…and recipes!” They highlight cozies that deal with food and possibly include the recipes. Sounds delicious. I’ll have to give this website more than the cursory look I gave when I found it recently.

For those of us who are into podcasts, Kirkus Reviews offers a podcast about all things book related in their Fully Booked podcast. They say that their podcast is “the ultimate inside scoop on the best in new books.” It’s available wherever you get your podcasts.

(After a bit of an absence, I should be back next Monday with a book review.)

As Long As I Breathe

As Long as I Have BreatheAs Long as I Breathe, by Garrett James, is a romance with thriller and mystery aspects. Stephanie Morgan and her daughter, Lilianne Rose (Lily), live as quiet a life as they can. Stephanie (Steph) works nights at a nursing home and at the local bar on weekends. Life was tough since her fiancé had died. Or was it murder? And why was Cole Miller, the sheriff’s brother, so bent on having Steph as his girlfriend?

Mason Cain, ex-military, ex-convict, moves back into his mother’s house after she dies. He’d planned to clear things up and quickly move on. But the best laid plans…Mason witnesses Cole dealing violently with Steph, who lives across the street. Inevitably, Mason becomes friends with Lily, then with Steph. Cole becomes even more erratic and irrational as he witnesses the growing feelings between Mason and Steph. How far will Cole go to keep Mason away from Steph, who Cole views as his property? How far will Mason go to protect “his girls”?

Mystery has always surrounded the death of Steph’s fiancé. Everyone has a good word to say about Matt Peterson, who seemed to have had no enemies. So, why is Agent Nick Canon, from the Division of Criminal Investigation, hanging around pursuing an inquiry into Matt’s death?

Mystery, resolution, anger, love, tenderness, psychological problems, all fall within the realm of As Long as I Breathe. Garrett James does well in uncovering emotions in his characters and develops them into living beings. Love and tenderness can turn around the lives of some characters, like Mason. But others, like Cole, have nowhere to go but into a burning hell of their own making.

I enjoyed As Long as I Breathe for the character and plot development. I felt connected to Mason, Steph, Lily, and even Nick Canon. Be prepared for well-done, but explicit, sex scenes. My only “thumbs down” was that this book could have used a good proofreading to fix some grammatical issues. Otherwise, bravo.

This appears to be the first in a series. I look forward to reading about the future lives of Mason, Steph, Lily, and Nick Canon.

To purchase a copy, click here. I get a small commission for any purchases made.

As Long as I Breathe
by Garrett James
©2022

The Leipfold Files

The Leipfold FilesThird in the Leipfold Mysteries series, The Leipfold Files, by Dane Cobain, is a series of discreet, but connected, short stories. These stories mostly cover James Leipfold’s life prior to what’s recorded in Driven and The Tower Hill Terror (both of which I reviewed previously). However, a few stories cover cases occurring between those enacted in the prior books.

In these stories we learn how 14-year-old James Leipfold first meets novice policeman, Jack Cholmondeley. The reader learns why Leipfold no longer drinks and how he edged his way into becoming a private investigator. Leipfold’s assistant, Maile O’Hara, figures in the later stories in this collection. These stories occur in the time frame between the previous books. She gets no introduction here, under the assumption that the reader has read the previous tomes.

Some scenes covered in these stories have been referenced in previous books, such as the breaking and entering incident at the building housing Leipfold’s office. However, a bit more is added so that these instances are fleshed out. All in all, these stories round out James Leipold as a bit of an eccentric with a formidable memory. His ability to resolve problems makes his transition from jailbird to private investigator an almost foregone conclusion. Maile adds to the storyline with her in-depth knowledge of most computer-related things.

I enjoy the teetotalling, ginger-haired PI. So, I finished The Leipfold Files in two days. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Leipfold and Maile, his tech-savvy assistant, in future outings.

If you’d like a copy of The Leipfold files, click here. I receive a small commission when an item is purchased.

The Leipfold Files
by Dane Cobain
©2022
Encircle Publications

Trouble on Treasure Island

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House MysteryAn easy-going romance-mystery, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a lighthearted read with an undercurrent of sinister. Seth Sjostrom establishes the right tone for a mystery-romance set at a beach house on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Kate Harper, a well-to-do realtor, works for a real estate management company specializing in high-end rentals, mostly on beaches throughout the United States. As she inspects a house on Treasure Island near St. Petersburg, FL, her foot goes through a rotten board on one of the decks facing the ocean. A surfer using the beach access easement next to the property, comes to her aid. Turns out, he’s a handyman. So, Kate hires him. Nick Mason, the surfer-handyman, becomes friendly with Kate as she finds more jobs for him to do.

One night, Kate witnesses some unusual activity on the beach—two shadowy figures, one chasing the other—she hears a scream before the figures disappear along the shoreline. Kate exits the house to give chase but finds nothing but an engagement ring along the path the figures had taken. What follows is the discovery of Joann Marrs murdered further along the beach. The police investigation, with much input from Kate and a reluctant Nick, consumes the rest of the novel.

Lighthearted Romance-Mystery

I enjoyed this lighthearted read. Sharp-eyed and perceptive describe Kate. She easily interprets what she sees and hears concerning the murder and the police investigation. She puts herself out there to move the investigation along. Nick, it turns out, is a non-practicing lawyer as well as surfer and handyman. He is no slouch as a handyman, who can put together an intricate alarm system in the beach house for Kate. He’s a gentleman, who also knows the best local places to have great food. But he could be more well-rounded, not just a love interest for Kate.

And that’s another thing—to a large extent, Kate seems a little oblivious to the effect she’s having on Nick. Kate is also unaware of the effect she has on Detective Connolly, the policeman in charge of Joann Marrs’ murder investigation. All in all, more could be made of this emergent love triangle than what happens throughout the book. That might be a missed opportunity to ramp up the novel’s tension in a different direction.

Another potential shortcoming is that it takes about one-third of the book before it begins to ramp up. The beginning encompasses a lot of stealthy, creeping intruders who slink around Kate’s beach house, but don’t do much to move the plot along. Nor do they create the brooding atmosphere for which Sjostrom strove.

Sjostrom does do a great job of characterizing Frank Driscoll. Driscoll, a private investigator hired by someone in Charleston with an interest in the murder of Joann Marrs. Assigned to keep an eye on Kate, Driscoll uses various not very effective disguises to do so. He adds a delightful air to the mystery.

All things considered, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a great romp on the gulf coast. The scenery, the restaurants, the marinas and the house at the center of this mystery all delight the reader as do the main characters: Kate Harper, Nick Mason and Detective Connolly.

If you want to purchase a copy of this book, click here. I receive a small commission if this product is purchased.

I received a copy of Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery and gave a fair review.

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery
by Seth Sjostrom
© 2023
wolfprintMedia, LLC

Sherlock Holmes Audiobook

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

As you all know, I’m a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan. Whether the original canon or modern versions, I love the gas lights and foggy London streets of Victorian and Edwardian London. So, I’ve just come across an audiobook version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simon Prebble narrates this audiobook–one of my favorite voice artists. Mr. Prebble narrated quite a few audiobooks that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

The stories in this audiobook take the reader back to London and the timeless duo of Holmes and Watson as envisioned by Doyle, the author of the illustrious and long-lived detective duo. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes presents such well-known stories such as “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes is bested by Irene Adler. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” in which a rather dilapidated bowler hat and a fat goose figure rather prominently. In “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” Holmes’ client crops her luxuriant auburn hair short as part of her new job as a governess. Why? These stories and more entice the reader onwards on the heels of Holmes and Watson.

You can pick up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Download as a digital download.

I receive a small commission for any purchases made via the above link.

 

The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Further Adventures of Sherlock HolmesCaiden Cooper Myles strikes the absolutely correct tone in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Miles’s prose rolls smoothly along—highlighting gas-lit, foggy London streets as well as the firelight in the sitting room of that famous duo—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The reader can see the yellow, swirling fog with gas lamps glowing dimly without casting much light.

In “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent,” coded messages under stamps reminds me of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” in that secret coded messages portend problems for the recipient. “The Problem of Hazelwood Grange” reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles in that Holmes sends Watson in his place to help gather clues, view the scene of the crime, and report back to Holmes. Watson purports himself well in this story. He is a well-drawn character in this story, as well as the rest of the tales. “The Adventure of the Drury Lane Pawnbroker” brings to mind “The Red-Headed League” because it deals with pawnbrokers and the misappropriation or mishandling of money. “The Adventure of the Naval Architect” recalls “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty.” Both involve stolen military secrets.

The author of these further adventures strikes the right note with both Holmes and Watson’s characterization. Watson always has an eye for women, as, in “The Adventure of the Braden Park Bench,” Watson notes, “She had dark hair, bright blue eyes, and an air of confidence beyond her years. I was immediately struck by her beauty.” On the other hand, Holmes stands as a more intellectual plateau in the same story about Braden Park. For example, “Mid-morning the following day, Holmes and I found ourselves in Amberley. It was a charming village which appealed to me but it did not appeal to my friend whose love of Mother Nature was largely limited to her poisons.”

Illustrations in this anthology are not the best. The frontispiece illustration before “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent” has Holmes in a too-small puffy chair . A puffy, gummy bear chair that looks like it will swallow him.

Caiden Cooper Myles demonstrates a knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes canon. I mentioned a few similarities between Myles’ stories anthologized in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Doyle’s stories. Similarities may exist for the other stories as well. But significant time has elapsed since I’ve read the original Holmes canon for me to be forgetful. These similarities in no way detract from Myles’ stories themselves or of my enjoyment of them. In fact, the faint similarities enhanced my appreciation of Myles’ writing style. Myles takes his version of Holmes and Watson in a new direction, including some modernizations such as Holmes’ use of a telephone. Myles’ stories are in no way derivative. They stand alone, a well-done addition to the contemporary Holmes canon.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Click if you wish to purchase The Further Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesI receive a small commission if a purchase is made.

Two Lists

In Two Lists, Malcom “Mal” Winters and his close friend, V. N. “Vinn” Atchison, confront a series of bizarre murders. Staged crime scenes laugh at them, daring them to connect the dots. And solve the crimes before someone else is murdered. Oddly, the murders seem to follow two lists created in the psychology field about those who would be most, and least, likely to commit murder. With each murder, props meticulously set the stage that indicate two different careers. And all the suspects congregate at Puzzlers Anonymous. What is it with that, anyway?

Mal and Vinn move as fast as they can with the help of Rebecca and Leo, Mal’s tenants. But not fast enough. Among the victims – their young friend, Maggie, the journalism student.

Mal and Vinn’s mounting frustration is sharply depicted in this latest from Thomas J. Thorson. When Mal and Vinn must take justice into their own hands, how will they react? Will they kill again, like in their previous lives? Even for justice? As Mal says, “it’s a slippery slope…Over time, your become immune to the emotional effect of holding a knife to someone’s throat or putting a gun to her head, and it becomes easier each time to follow through. At some point you actually begin to relish the rush…”

Also, see my reviews of Thorson’s previous Mal Winters books: Bad Fortune, The Cosmic Killings, The Connubial Corpse, and Heirs Apparent.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Get a copy of Two Lists by Thomas Thorson.

(I receive a small commission if you purchase the book using the above link.)

Two Lists
by Thomas J. Thorson
© 2023
Thorshammer Books

Coastal Conspiracy

Coastal Adventure Series, book 1Do you have a favorite place, or places, to visit? I have a few. One of them is the Delmarva peninsula, which forms the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Don Rich‘s Coastal Conspiracy is set in the portion of Virginia that forms the tail and tip of the Delmarva peninsula. This is an area where fish and crabs rule.

With Rich’s descriptions in Coastal Conspiracy (the first book in the series), I can see the charter boats and skipjacks. And taste the crab cakes and soft-shelled crabs. And hear the back-and-forth banter between the group of friends that make up the characters in the series.

In Coastal Conspiracy, Michael “Murph” Murphy and his girlfriend, Lindsay Davis, plan to purchase a run-down marina in Virginia, near the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula, or Eastern Shore Virginia (ESVA) as this portion is known. Their plans are small because of a lack of enough funds to do an extensive expansion. When Casey Shaw, Murph’s friend, and a real estate investor, hears about the project, he is all in and uses his resources and his staff’s knowledge to greatly enhance the extent of the project.

When Bill Cooper, Marlin Denton, Kim Collier, and Timmy O’Shea, charter boat captains who currently lease slips at the marina, hear of the extended plans, they get nervous. That is until someone tries to stop the purchase and renovation. Even to the point of trying to kill Murph and Lindsay. The captains, along with Casey and Dawn Shaw, jump into action. Who is behind the violence, and why?

Straightforward prose enlivens the action in this series debut. Action scenes and scenes on the Chesapeake thrum with spot-on descriptions. I will definitely read further into the Coastal Adventure Series.

Traversing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has been a goal of mine for a while. When I, one day, actually do travel across the bridge, I will always think of the characters in this series.

The Honey in the Bones

The Honey in the BonesCaroline Mellor‘s The Honey in the Bones is fantastic, exquisite. Her poems hum and sing and whisper in your ear and heart. Mellor partitions her poems in this collection into seasons of the year as well as earthly directions and elements. Rightly so.

Her poetic sense makes much of the earth’s seasons and weather and draws the reader along “soft and slow/as each breath/follows the last,” through the earth’s daily and seasonal tides and cycles. She invites the reader into a comfortable space where you can “tend the ember glow/of your soul’s hearth.” The poem, “Changing Sky, December 31, 2020,” recalls to mind that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Crocuses, birdsong, weather, light, birth—these are all related in Mellor’s vision.

Mellor makes various allusions to gardening regarding many things, including life. “Let my life/be an overgrown/garden:/gloriously messy/and lightly tended/with love.” Yes, mine, too.

In “Imbolc,” Mellor speaks about building bridges: “Give me the silent crescent moon rising over the sea and I will build/you a bridge of light so you can walk across and lie down in it.” To me, Mellor’s poetry is a bridge to a life of serenity and beauty.

The Honey in the Bones is Mellor’s first poetry collection. Living in the United Kingdom, besides being a poet, Mellor is a writer of essays and creative nonfiction. I can hardly wait for her second poetry collection. This first magnificent collection left me a fan.

The Honey in the Bones
by Caroline Mellor
© 2022
Golden Dragonfly Press