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Learning in the real world 

If there is one thing all parents want for their children, it's a good education. Standards are up, test scores are down. Expectations are up, budgets are down. Whether children attend public school, private school, alternative school, or homeschool, the question remains: how can I provide the best education for my child?

Writer, speaker, and alternative educational consultant Pat Farenga will be in Rochester on Saturday, October 16, presenting a seminar for parents who want to enhance their children's learning. In Pat's morning talk, "Learning Outside the Box," he'll discuss how homeschooling reconnects education to active learning.

In the afternoon workshop, "Allowing Children To Do Real Work," participants will discuss ideas and stories about helping children learn by involving them in real work with adults.

"Pat draws on a wealth of experience, both personal and professional. His energy, enthusiasm, and confidence inspire parents all around the country to trust themselves and their children to embark on adventurous real-world learning," says homeschooling mom Amy Mantell. "It's exciting to welcome him to Rochester."

For information and advanced sale tickets ($30), contact Lynn Barnett at 899-6803. Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the event. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at Christ the Good Shepherd Church, 1000 Winton Road North. The seminar runs from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a break for lunch.

--- Marjorie Sangster Rolleston

This week for families:

Choo Choo's Express Dinosaurs in costume, through Oct 31. | World's Biggest Jukebox, weekends in Oct. | 5138 W. Ridge Rd, Spencerport. $3.50. 352-4422,

Helmer Nature Center Wed, Oct 13. Become a Helmer forest detective, grades 2 and 3, 154 Pinegrove Ave, 3:30-5 p.m. $5. 336-3035

Henrietta Public Library Wed, Oct 13, preschool storytime, ages 3 and 4, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Thurs, Oct 14, after school storytime, grades K-3, 4-4:45 p.m. | Monday, Oct 18, family pajama storytime, ages 2-8 and their families, 7-7:30 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092,

Hispanic Month Events Wednesdays, cooking classes, ages 6-15, South Avenue Community Center, 900 South Ave, 4-5:30 p.m. 428-6015 | Tuesdays, cooking classes, all ages, Avenue D Recreation Center, 200 Ave D, 5:30-7 p.m. 428-7934 | Journey Into History, Wed, Oct 13, City Hall Atrium, 30 Church St, 12-2 p.m. 428-7186

Hunt Hollow Ski Club Colorfest Sun, Oct 17. Live music, pumpkin hunt, silent auction, 7532 County Rd #36, Naples, 1 p.m. Free. 716-385-6920

Interfaith Forum Essay Contest Deadline: Oct 29. Theme: Building community, bridging our differences, grades 9-12. Info:

Lights on Afterschool Celebration Thurs, Oct 14. Edgerton Community Center Stardust Ballroom, 41 Backus St, 4-8 p.m. Free. 428-7904

Long Acre Farms Haunted Corn Walk Fri-Sat, Oct 15-16. 1342 Eddy Rd, Macedon, 6-10 p.m. $7. ages 7 and up. 315-986-4202,

Memorial Art Gallery Family Day Sun, Oct 17. A Journey Through African American Art, Live jazz, art activities, tours, storytelling, 500 University Ave, 12-5 p.m. $1. 473-7720

Our School Annual Apple Fair Sat, Oct 16. Games, food, apples, 39 Karlan Drive, Irondequoit, 1-4 p.m. 461-2639

Peek 'n' Peak Fall Fest Sat-Sun through Oct 17. Craft show, ski lift rides, children's games, 1405 Olde Rd, Clymer, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Rapunzel Sat-Sun through Oct 17. TYKEs, ages 4 and up, UpStage3, 875 E Main St, Sat 10:30 a.m., Sat-Sun 1 p.m. $10. 723-6080

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. Giant-screen films: Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey: Sat 3 and 8 p.m.; Bears: Wed-Fri 4 p.m., Sat 2 and 4 p.m., Sun 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m., Mon, Oct 11, 2, 3, 4 p.m. | Laser shows: '60s Laser: Sat 9 p.m.; I See the Sky: Sat 9:30 a.m.; Night of the Eclipse: Sat, Oct 9, 1 p.m. and Mon, Oct 11, 1 p.m.; The Sky Tonight: Sat 10:30 a.m. | Tix: $4-$7. 271-1880

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Magical Threads: A Kaleidoscope of Quilts, Sat-Sun, Oct 16-17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $6. | BUBLT Project Mission, Sat, Oct 16, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. $16, $13 kids. | RMSC Young Visionaries Award Ceremony, Wed, Oct 20, 6 p.m. $25. 697-1942 | Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005. | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006. | Live Science! demos and theater, Wed-Fri 3:30 p.m.; Sat 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. show sign-interpreted. | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door. | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880,

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Book and Beast, Wed, Oct 13, 11 a.m. Read stories about, and meet, the animals. Free with paid general admission. 336-7213 | Genesee Trail Day, Sat, Oct 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free with regular park admission. | Creepy Crawly Critters Family Fun Night, Wed, Oct 20, 6-8 p.m. $8.75. Preregister. | Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. Free 2 and under. 467-9453,

Fright Fest 2004 Fri-Sun, Oct 15-17. Six Flags Darien Lake, Fri 6-10 p.m., Sat 1-10 p.m., Sun 1-8 p.m. $15.99, $9.99 kids. 599-2211,

Stone Barn Castle Trick 'n' Treat Village Off Route 49 between Jewell and Cleveland, Fri-Sat, Oct 15-16. Fri 6-9 p.m., Sat 12-9 p.m., Sun 12-6 p.m. Tix: $4. 315-675-3602,

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Wed, Oct 13, Making American Music, Golden Eagle String Band, 7:30 p.m. $15. | Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700

Valentown Museum Spooktacular Sat, Oct 16. Trail of Terror, Rte 96, Victor, 12-8 p.m. Tix: $2-$5. 924-4170,

Read the book

With serious money to be made, Hollywood seeks out children's books to turn into big-budget blockbusters. L. Frank Baum was turning his own Oz books into movies 25 years before the Judy Garland classic. Often, a film and its source are surprisingly different. Walt Disney supposedly forbade the people working on his animated The Jungle Book from reading the Kipling masterpieces on which it is extremely loosely based.

My wife and I let our kids see such movies as long as they don't offend our sensibilities with crassness, gratuitous violence, or stupidity. But we also seek out the sources. My wife just read Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted to our girls, and loved it (she also approves of the quite-different movie). They're now enjoying Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, which, of course, has also been filmed.

J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan has been adapted countless ways, but until last year's film by P.J. Hogan, not one approached the psychological subtlety of the book. Don't read it to a small child unless she has a precocious vocabulary, but do get around to it.

I just read the girls Roger Lancelyn Green's 1956 retelling of The Adventures of Robin Hood, with compact, exciting tales that were a great relief after reading Tolkien. If you're categorically against violence, don't go here; Green's version is bloody. But we found the stories quite moving, and again, surprisingly different from the versions found in cartoons or the Fairbanks and Flynn vehicles.

More than recommending specific books, though, I'm suggesting that you use movies as a lure into books, where imagination and complexity rule.

--- Adam A. Wilcox

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