Tell Me a Story about … Magazines!

FOF 1 A (3)How recently have you meandered into a bookstore and checked out the magazine racks … and racks … and racks? Even with the number of magazine publishers closing, there remains a plethora of choices to fit any age, any interest. Women’s magazines full of recipes and homemaking tips. Men’s magazines filled with car engines and fishing lures. Kids’ magazines with puzzles and coloring pages. How can anyone decide on just one?

Being a writer and having an extra share of cFOF 1 C (2)reativity, when it came to teaching our daughters about writing, I chose not to focus on reports—the dreaded book reports of elementary school and those nasty 10-pagers of secondary levels. I figured the skills necessary to write those scholarly pieces could come through a more fun and no-less-educational foray into the world of magazine-making.

While studying animals, we created whole magazines with stories, poems, and more. Pictures cut out of glossy nature magazines and pasted on notebook paper allowed them to write short articles about the animals, which included a bit of research and teaching on journalism styles. Lists of horse breeds or FOF 2 B (2)habitats became word search puzzles. Pictures made from those old trace-and-color books became “Color Your Own Picture” pages.

Even comic strips drawn on blank sheets of copy paper offered lessons: art, dialogue, comedy writing. Add construction paper covers and staples to hold them all together and we had a magazine to treasure … and put in the portfolios for proof of our lessons in English, math, sciencFOF 2 A (3)e, art, and more.

With ten years between the first two daughters’ school years and their sister Faith’s, I had the joy of doing this exercise twice. I remember Faith called her magazine Kit’s Kreatures, after her favorite American Girl.

But Faith didn’t stop there. One day she came to me and said, “MaFOF 2 C (2)ma, I want to make my own magazine and sell subscriptions to it!” And so we did … and Focus on Fun was born.

Over the next four years, Faith developed, designed, and co-wrote her own 16-page magazine, with as many as 22 subscriptions one year. We kitchen-table published it, as professionally as we could, being lucky enough to own a copier (perks of a husband who works in the office products industry). Though often stressed to get the current issue out on time, we still enjoyed the brainstorming for each issue, choosing new “columns” and other articles to write.

This venture also gave Faith an incredible foundation in running her own business with credits and debits, overhead and invoices. The entire experience filled her homeschool FOF 1 B (2)days with more learning, academic and life-skills, than any 10-page research paper would have brought her. And it was a whole lot more fun!

The photos included with this post are from various issues of Focus on Fun. If anyone is interested in how we went about this, contact us at legaciesletloose@gmail.com!

*** Have you ever written a magazine article? Do you read any magazines regularly? Share your thoughts with us! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

Mud

Mud. No other word draws all five senses together in such a short moment. See it ooze between tiny toes. Hear it squish as bare feet smush into it. Feel it cool and grainy, wet and slippery. Smell its fresh-after-the-rain fragrance. And taste? Why, mud pies, of course, fed to unsuspecting kid brothers and ever-loyal canine companions.

Mud - Copy

            To me, mud tastes like a tomato sandwich, slathered with butter and coated with sugar. The problem began with the fact that this delicious concoction never filled my stomach without a second helping.

            One sunny afternoon, as most teens are wont to do, I lazed in my backyard while eating my first tomato sandwich of the season. The fresh tomato juices mixed with the creamy butter and slid down my throat. The grass, sparkling in the sun, needed mowed with all the rain we’d had recently. Dad would get to it over the weekend, but for now, it soaked through my canvas sneakers as I pushed the swing to and fro.

            Suddenly, the desire for another sandwich, the tomato juicy and the sugar thick enough to chew, beckoned, and with a holler to my mom to please start making one, I ran for the house. In my eagerness, I forgot about the constant mud by the door. My wet sneakers didn’t allow me to slow down, and I slid the last several feet, trying frantically to stop. I did stop, after I crashed through the plate glass storm door into the kitchen. I lay there, sprawled on the kitchen floor, while glass cascaded around and over me. I picked myself up, dazed but miraculously unharmed except a few knicks on my arms.

            Mud. What scenes does it pull from memories long-buried? Maybe a free-for-all mud fight in a neighborhood park. Could be a tire stuck in six inches, getting deeper with each rev of the engine. Or how about rain splashing in a blessed puddle after a long drought. See it, hear it, feel it, smell it, and if you dare, taste it.

            When our senses tingle from an experience, we feel alive. We have a concrete relationship with the event. Maybe this thought caused Jesus to choose to use mud when He healed the blind man, even though He needed nothing to create this miracle. Mud – I can feel it; can you?

 Share your “muddy” story with us in the comments below.