Most of you PPB friends know that my 18-year-old daughter Emma does the purchasing and programming for 0-18's in my bookstore.  She's a senior in high school and has been busy since summer applying to colleges and the usual stuff.  She asked me if she could communicate directly with you, without mom in between, so below please find her message: it is that she is RE-OPENING her Emma's Kids program, starting Monday (President's Day). I have read it, but she asked me not to edit it. I have not, so here it is — my Emma's voice.  I will say in my defense, that at the time my parenting seemed entirely normal to me, and as always, I blame my mother for my whimsical "projects with mom" style because she raised me that way; she is an artist and views the world a tad askance.  — Sandy   

President’s Day Celebration

Monday, February 15th, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
As all CUSD 200 students know, we have President’s Day OFF FROM SCHOOL. Score! It’s another day for play, watching movies, sleeping in, and getting that math homework done -- truly a gift from the scholarly heavens… well, for most. Not so much for the young Koropp children… at least, not in the way you’d expect.

Growing up, my mother firmly believed (and still does, rather) that a day off from school is in no way a day off from learning. So, starting in Kindergarten, every President’s Day, my mother required each of the Koropp children to choose a U.S. president, learn about him during the day, and give a presentation for her and Daddy when he came home from work. We read big fat books, looked through encyclopedias (2003 was longer ago than you think!), and colored in pictures of our presidents all day long.  

You must be thinking: research? A presentation? On a day off? In Kindergarten? I know, it seems a bit intense. But I sort of loved it. And it wasn’t that I was such a nauseatingly keen student that I couldn’t go one day without a textbook. It wasn’t even that wanted to show off to my classmates how studious I was or to butter up to my teacher the next day. Honestly, it just felt wonderful to be curious on my own time, to learn without inhibition, and to know that every bit of knowledge I picked up came from me. There is something different about discovery when it comes directly from yourself. It somehow feels more real, more important. It sticks.  

I was so lucky to have people in my life that facilitated just that type of learning; people like my mom, my dad, my siblings, and even some of my teachers. Plenty of kids, however, rarely find themselves in that perfect environment. I know that many rarely experience self-driven discovery, and it isn’t hard to see why. It’s extremely difficult, as the facilitator, to create an environment for learning that is effective and fun, but doesn’t feel forced. It is a wobbly balance. But it is SO worth it.

In my book, a child’s curiosity is the most beautiful thing in the world, and I can’t wait to share a bit of it with all of you. This year, I hope to get some more kids in on this whole idea with my PRESIDENT’S DAY CELEBRATION on Monday, February 15th from 10:30 to 12:00. There will be crafts, videos, star-spangled treats, and maybe even a play for all kids aged 5-10! We’ll learn all about our nation’s presidents and hopefully, if I do my job right, we’ll leave just a little bit more excited about learning. Just maybe.

I hope to see you all there,


P.S. Just to make y’all smile, I wanted to share my FIRST Presidents’ Day project…get ready for 4-year old me on President's Day 2001.