Weekend Reads: Daniel Tiger, Second Graders Imagine Their Dream School, and Some Shameful Camps

Happy Independence Day Weekend all of you US American readers! Try not to blow yourselves up! If you are in the Cincinnati area this weekend, swing by my neighborhood for the Northside Rock and Roll Carnival and 4th of July Parade. It’s a blast! And a shout out to all the Grounded Parents, Mad Art Labbers and other various Skepchicks and Friends at Convergence this weekend. I so wish I could be in two places at once!

I know a lot of parents of preschoolers might be a little sick of Daniel Tiger and his neighborhood. However, research may show that watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood may help preschoolers develop important social and emotional skills. I can’t think of a better way to honor Fred Rogers legacy.

Non-religious parents may find themselves struggling to answer a lot of questions that religious folks answer by leaning on faith. The Friendly Atheist looks into Katherine Ozment’s new book  Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age for help.

(CN:Poverty) A Boston Public School teacher, Lilly Holland asked her second grade students at a chronically underfunded school what their dream school would look like. Their answers were revealing, wise, and heart shattering…

We started by making a mural that showed what their dream school would be like if money was no object.  Let me start by saying that when I was seven or eight and attending a fully funded public school in Winchester, MA, I would have dreamed of having over-the-top things like a swimming pool or something outrageous like a movie theater.

My students, attending a chronically underfunded school, instead requested things like pencils, markers, and glue sticks.  One student asked me if he was allowed to simply say that his dream school would be “shiny and new.”  Another student asked if it was too big to dream of a school where kids who felt sad could have a room with soft things and people to talk to.

Many students dreamed of a better playground and some asked for a class pet and field trips to far-away places.  As they were working, a student came over to ask me if some schools have a whole library in them rather than just one in their classroom.  When I said yes, he changed his mind from a swing set to a library.

Comedian Chelsea Handler’s abortion story says a lot about the state of the pro-choice movement. 

A review from School Library Journal, Freedom Over Me: Eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life.

If you liked Finding Dory  (of course you did,) and Lego, then you might like these Finding Dory inspired Lego Mosaic patterns. 

(CN: Misogyny) David Futrelle, who follows the Men’s Rights Movement so you don’t have to at We Hunted The Mammoth has found the World’s Worst Parenting Advice. 

(CN:Racism) Meanwhile, one of the newer Free Thought Blogs… Affinity, has a piece about two incredibly shameful summer camps that you should not send your kids to.

To clear our palates here’s an article about hypnotizing baby seas turtles… 

I’m a sucker for this song, but I’ve never seen the video, so here you go…

Featured Image Credit: Chris Miller on Flickr. (I have never taken really good fireworks photos)


Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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