Glenn Beck doesn't actually host Liberty Treehouse, the new kid show that debuted on his Internet channel, GBTV earlier this week. Instead, the "hipper" Raj Nair (of ESPN Road Trip fame) anchors the hour-long program that aims to give tween Tea Partiers a chance to experience American history and politics through the lens of the former FOX news commentator. And for those middle-school conservatives looking for a dose of good-old-fashioned wholesome entertainment after school, Liberty Treehouse will regularly air excerpts of mid-century classics like Ozzie and Harriet, Flash Gordon and Popeye cartoons.
It is extremely doubtful my kids will ever watch the program. I am not a fan of Beck's politics, over-the-top style or loose treatment of facts. And since I don't intend to subscribe to GBTV at $9.95 a month--I wouldn't take it for free--I am not worried that the show is something the kids will stumble upon by accident. But even if they did, I'm pretty sure my children, raised on Bart and Homer Simpson, would not have much tolerance for the blandness of 1950s sitcoms. I can't even get them to watch Brady or Cosby re-runs with me---forget about the Nelsons.
But I have to say, Mr. Beck, I think the concept of a politics/history show for kids is a pretty fabulous one. I understand why careful educators and researchers are nervous about politics and entertainment mash-ups when it comes to children, but I wouldn't mind, at minimum, an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place where the parents go to vote. Maybe it's high time Nick News with Linda Ellerbee was more central to Nickelodeon's programming focus"Sponge Bob is great, but hasn't taught my kids a darn thing about real life under the sea.
I've mentioned before the profound influence both School House Rock and the musical 1776 had on sparking my interest in American history. And I'm pretty sure my oldest son can still tell you more than you want to know about Nathan Hale and Thomas Paine based on countless hours of watching the animated series Liberty's Kids when he was younger. Unfortunately, the show was dropped from the PBS schedule after just one season in 2003; it makes me kind of sad to think my kid may have been the only one that liked it.
As a mom who is just as likely to get her TV news fix from Comedy Central as CNN, I'd welcome the chance for my kids to learn about current events in an entertaining way. If done right, satire could really work for the middle school set. And I'd love to see someone take a stab.
So Jon Stewart, if you're reading, have you ever considered a pre-teen version of The Daily Show? Correspondent Samantha Bee blogs regularly about her children"I'm pretty sure she could easily handle this.
Or how about a Kolbert for Kids? Obnoxious spelling aside, Stephen, I think you'd have a real winner.
Do you all have any thoughts on creative programming to counterbalance Liberty Treehouse? This non-GBTV Mom is impatiently waiting.comments powered by Disqus
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.