Things are looking up at OpenSim land. Of course, it's not finished by a long shot, but a couple of painful issues have been solved recently. Most notably: OpenSim now remembers avatar settings between sessions. This means clothing, body shape etcetera are now persistent. That's a huge win, and I've noticed my kids are much more eager to use OpenSim because of this. They are also starting to customize their avatar now that these modifications are automatically persistent.
My kids are happily building stuff and houses; I try to teach them a new trick every now and then, to keep them involved. So far this seems to work. Check out the last pictures in this set for some of their recent work!
I have provided a teacher at my daughters' school with a couple of logins; he's thinking about using my OpenSim environment as a part of the computer training all kids receive. Unfortunately, his home PC is not able to run SL, so we'll have to wait until he's back at school after the holiday break.