A Quote to Start Things Off

"Passive Aggressive. It works for my mother, it works for Duolingo" Luis Von Ahn , co-founder of Duolingo from his TED talk, How to make learning as addictive as social media.

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Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

100 Books

Reading opens many doors.

I can't believe I read the whole thing.

My son is not only an action hero, but he is also a super genius.  Granted a super genius who doesn't yet read at grade level.  He has the mind of an inventor and a magnificent memory.  Yet he is having difficulty inputting knowledge in his mind through reading.  This has been a concern of ours as parents for a number of years.  We had tried many things tutoring, summer school, Lamaze (which did not help with his reading but you should see the kid breathe!); we tried it all.

When Amy and I attended the local home school convention this past June I went to a seminar about helping your under performing readers.  It was really encouraging and had many good take-a-ways.  One thing I decided to try was a 100 book chart.  You have the child read 100 picture books and write them on a chart in their room.  When the chart is full you give a GREAT reward. 

From June to October 31st we only put 23 books on the chart. Spider Droid probably read more than that but I didn't always get to writing them down.  In short my inconsistency didn't help him take ownership of the project.

In the meantime Spider Droid was taking vision therapy that was beginning to show some signs of progress with his reading ability.  On November 1st, his birthday.  I took him to the chart and added something to the top.  It showed how many books were left and how many days were left in the year.  He had 77 books remaining and 61 days before the end of the year.  We set two goals: 1) To get to a point where there were  more days reaming  in the years than books remaining to be read.  2) to finish the chart before the end of 2011.

He read 3 books that day and 17 by the 7th.  23 from June to October and 17 in a week!   He reached his first goal on 11/16.  40 books remained with 45 days left to read them in.  That's when SD upped his game and decided he wanted to finish the 100 by the end of November.  At about that time life began to get very busy with our home school co-op, robotics, Thanksgiving and the like.  Yet he was driven and diligent.  We went to the local library on Saturday and he checked out as many books as he had left to read.  Tuesday morning he had 10 left.  This morning he had 5 left.  In between lessons he finished the last 5 before lunch time. 

Here are 2 pictures worth 100 books. 

My Son the Reader

Our Story So Far

Here is some live footage .  . .

 Not only has SD's reading quantity increased, the quality piece has improved substantially.  In a few months time he has gone up one full grade in his reading level.

We still have a way to go but we are very pleased with his progress.  Too bad he isn't a little more excited about his achievement, as the picture below attests.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Cristina the author  of Home Spun Juggling, has bestowed upon me  a Liebster Award

Liebster  is a German word. 

According to an online translation tool Liebster can be defined as

 - n. sweetheart, beloved person, darling   
adj. dear, darling; beloved, liked very much; affectionate, loving   
adj. favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others
The purpose of this award is to showcase the hidden gems of the blogging world.  Blogs with 300 or less followers can be given the Liebster by a previous winner.    The new winner then finds 3-5 deserving blogs to bestow the award on. 

In a sense it seems like a high honor and I know that Cristina meant my Liebster that way and I receive it in that way.  But in another sense it seems like a blog version of a chain letter.

  Since I like to fill this space with praise of others in the blog-o-sphere.  I don't mind awarding some Liebsters to deserving blogs.  I would like to say that my no means do I expect  my Liebster winners to feel like they need to pay this award forward.  If they feel they know blogs that are deserving of this award.  I say go ahead let the world know.  If they choose not to continue the tradition that's fine too.

Here is the criteria I used for  doling out my Liebsters.

1) 300 or less followers.  In researching the award, I found that most references to it said 200 or more followers.  But Christina said 300 in her post and since she is my sponsor I am going to follow her lead.  Two of the blogs I have given the award to don't broadcast their follower stats.  I am giving those two the benefit of the doubt.

2) Blogs I love. Each of the recipients below are blogs I have mentioned in these pages before.  Many I have dedicated 1 or more post to.  I did not scramble to come up with names, the quality of these blogs scream out to me for recognition

The 5 blogs I have chosen are all written or co written by men.  This is somewhat coincidental.  However, since the blogosphere (at least the corner I live in) is generally filled predominately with blogs written by women.  I thought it might be nice to have a testosterone filled wing in the Liebster Hall of Fame.  Again, the quality of these blogs not the gender of the writers was my main criteria in bestowing the award. 

Here are my 5 Liebster winners in no particular order.

 I became familiar with this blog by reading his work in the Carnival of Homeschooling.  I felt an instant affinity since we both have the same last name, Dad. We also share an affinity to reading aloud as I have been reading to my children since they were in their mother's womb.  I continue to read to them now, even now that they all love to read to themselves. 

I like his book reviews and his passion for reading a out loud.  Even though he is preaching to the choir, when it comes to me.  I still find much of what he says inspirational.

Allen Levi's Blog

Allen Levi is a hero of mine.  I have written about turned singer here from time to time. He sang at my 40th birthday party.  I love his blog and even wrote a song about how I wished he would blog more

On July 23rd Allen's brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Allen continues to produce great posts with updates on his brother's progress.  The last installment where he compared his brother's sickness to a trip he took to Afghanistan was especially poignant.

While his writing is deeply personal it is  also very accessible.  I encourage you to go pay him a visit.  It just sometimes takes him a while to come to the door. 

I absolutely love this blog.  I have been a frequent follower there, since I became a revolving host of the Carnival of Homeschooling.  The carnival is the brainchild of the Cates.  I could write a whole post about how fantastic the COH is.  Im fact, I have.

Why Homeschool goes well beyond the scope of the Carnival of Homeschooling.  It has some of the best variety in the entire Internet.  It is well written, and thought provoking. I love this blog so much, I was pleasantly surprised to find it does not yet have 300 followers and thus qualifies for the award. 

Out Walking is the first blog I ever remember reading.  I found it as part of a google search.  Like Allen Levi's blog there is much more quality to this blog then quantity.  He has posted only six times since September 1st of this year, but each one was well worth waiting for.

Today's post, Oh Melancholia really struck a chord with me.  The teasing he gets from his son is very similar to the beating I take because I cry a lot.

The author of  Families again is an HSBA rival of mine.  He and I have been nominated in the best Dad category for each of the last 3 years.  The main difference being, is that he has won it two of those years (including this year)  and I am still in Susan Lucci mode.

I am a big fan of Families Again.  The author does a great job of balancing between product reviews, Compassion updates, and other interesting topics.  He used to host A fine meme called Men's Monday Meme.  As a former host of a failed  an erstwhile meme, I know the pain of spending time to prepare a weekly meme and then only having 1 or less blog link on to it.  If you don't find his blog at the link above, he has probably completed his switch to the blogger platform.  I gladly became his first follower at the new location earlier today. 

I hope you enjoyed my Liebster Awards.  Thanks again to Cristina for giving me mine.  Just so you know, Cristina.  That if anyone else gave me my Liebster, you would have been the first to receive one from me. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Muppets

It starts when we're young. A show off at school. Making faces at friends. You're a clown and a fool. Doing prat falls and bird calls and bad imitations. Ignoring your homework. Now that's dedication. You look in the mirror. You're getting standing ovations.
You're burning with hope. You're building up steam what was once juvenilish is grown up and stylish. You're close to your dream. Then somebody out there loves you. Stands up and hollers for more. You've got a home at the magic store.

The Magic Store from The Muppet Movie (1979)

I believe in the way back machine.

So when I decided to write a review of The Muppets, I went back to 1979 when The Muppet Movie came out. I even had to go back a few years earlier to Saturday Afternoons/Evenings at 6:30 when I would watch first runs of The Muppet Show.

This is good, I have gone 4 paragraphs without a rant or an aside. When it comes to discussing Muppet Films this is a huge step for me. So before I go any further let me just clear the air and take my pet peeve for a quick walk . . .

Sometimes in conversations with people about movies I will mention that The Muppet Movie is my 2nd favorite film of all time. They will often politely ask which Muppet Movie. After taking my blood pressure meds, I will inform them that there is only 1 Muppet Movie.

Sure there are several films that have Muppet in the title. They are, in order of release: The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets in Space and The Muppets. 7 Muppet films only one The Muppet Movie.

Now that there are 7 films there is a muppet film one for each day of the week. If they do an 8th then we will simply need a new day of the week. I have been pushing hard for Kermit's Day for years so I say bring it on.

Okay the italics have ended that means I can get back to my review. Back to my way back machine train of thought. For me, watching the Muppet Show was like having a home at the magic store. The Muppet Movie gave a back story that not only captured that magical experience but expanded it. In the Muppet Show the muppets home was the stage they performed on. In The Muppet Movie, the world became their stage. Singing in swamps, peddling bikes, riding in Studebakers and buses we saw the muppets in a way we never imagined.

More than 30 years has passed and the world has changed in ways we never imagined. In 1979 a laptop was the tray table you used on airplanes. In 1979, if you wanted to connect to a computer from your home you needed a modem and a monitor. Yet here I am in my house typing this review on a laptop with a wireless connection to the Internet.

With all the many technological wonders of the last 3 decades, It is easy to think that Kermit and other marionette puppets have become a museum piece. This is literally the case as I discovered from my trip to the Smithsonian last year.

The Muppets, in a sense is an exploration of this thought process. Is there a place in the world of today for the inspirational and muppetational?

The film is about relationships It is a story about brothers different as different can be, yet also the same. It is a story about love lost and found. The film also is about quests. The quest for finding your place in the world. The quest to bring the Muppets back together. The quest to save the Muppet Theatre.

The theatre is an analogy to all things muppets. It is the magic store. As the movie continues the viewer comes to realize that the theatre is not the transcending point of the Muppets. Their reality is. My wife has a saying, she says: I like movies about real things, like the muppets.

Putting aside my wife's very tenuous grip on reality for a moment, let's just say that she's right.

The Muppets is a successful movie because it is steeped in reality. Sure, muppets aren't people. Dog's aren't people, but they're real. In the reality of The Muppets, muppets are real and interact with others who treat them like they are real. This gives an authenticity to their world even when we can see their strings. Another successful part of the muppet franchise are the cameos. The Muppets does not disappoint on this score. Mickey Rooney and Jack Black are my favorites.

Speaking of score, there are some fine musical numbers in The Muppets. There are several songs that are performed by 2 sets of characters. I really enjoyed the way they were able to intertwine multiple character and plot points in the same song.

Another standard muppet fare was what I will call muppet zaniness and The Muppets had this in spades. They also bring back some of these zany jokes later in the movie with great comic success. There are some great homages to both The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie and while it is not 100% necessary to have a muppet background to see the movie it does greatly enhance your enjoyment.

The Muppets is a great movie and works on a number of levels. It is fun for the whole family. It's not the best muppet film ever, nor is it the worst. What is the best muppet film of all time? The Muppet Movie, of course. The worst? Also a no brainer, The Muppets Take Manhattan. So where does The Muppets come in? I would say definitely in the top 4. I'd have to watch it again to be certain.

And be certain, I will watch it again. I've got a home at the magic store.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dave Out Loud

Sunday's Cool
A Link Up and A Look Ahead

A Link Up: I started a new vlog this week.

A vlog is a blog where the main content are video entries. The name my vlog is Dave Out Loud Dave Out Strong, Dave of Happy Not Sad, Dave of Good Things not Bad. I am not sure how frequently I am going to make entries, as this house doesn't often get quiet enough for video journalism. When it does, I will link my vlogs over here.

A Look Ahead: Thanksgiving Week was a pretty busy one for us. We had our co-op's closing program, a quick visit to Indiana, a bout with sickness, the premiere of the Muppets, Thanksgiving with relatives, and some swimming thrown in for good measure. This week I plan to post about one or two of those activities, starting tomorrow with my HSD review of the Muppets.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Fool

Of Ipods and Vaccum Belts

They are so different. One you can listen to, one you can replace. How are they the same? They both can be bought at Best Buy. But that's where the similarities end, so BACK OFF already!

Now on to the REAL message of this post:

Puppies are special, puppies are cute. Or some song like that from Esther. You know, the Veggie Tales video? Where the damsels are attempting to impress the king with their talent? Oh come on, you don't REMEMBER that? How's this: one of these things is not like the other! Three of these things are kind-of the same. Can you guess which thing does not belong here, before I finish my song? That's it, I'm leaving. You don't remember a Sesame Street song??? Children, hello here?

Never. Mind.



p.s. my wife wrote this a year ago today. I didn't put it the blog then, but since I have had a change of heart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

HSD Rewind: Pilgrim Hat Cookies

We are making Pilgrim Hat Cookies for Thanksgiving again this year. Here is a HSD Rewind to tell you all about how to do it.

Original Airdate November 2010

We were finally able to buy frosting and thus able to make some cookies that Amy read about in Working Mother magazine.

Here is what you need . . .

Fudge Striped Cookies Cream Cheese Frosting Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Orange Frosting Tube

Step 1. Set Fudge Striped Cookies Stripe side down on cookie sheet

Step 2 spread frosting on top of peanut butter cup .Step 3 affix peanut butter cup on cookie. Enough frosting will run over to make brim for hat.
Step 4 with orange frosting, make belt buckle on side of hat.
Step 5. Voila.

Meanwhile back in 2011 . . .

I guess if you take off the buckle you could also call them Ringmaster Hat cookies. That is just a clunky segue to remind you in the Chicagoland area that there are just 3 more days to see the Ringling Brothers Circus perform Fully Charged at the United Center. They will not be performing tomorrow but have 8 big beautiful shows between Friday and Sunday. If you use the keyword MOM you can still save $4.00 per ticket.

Next Time: Thankful for a Random Wife

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HSBA Awards and Carnival of Home Schooling

The 2011 HSBA awards were announced yesterday. I have all the links to the 20 winners blogs on the sidebar to the right. If you want to see who won for what catefory click here.

Today I have listed the blogs I voted for in each category as well as a link to each blog. I am currently working on making a page that will incorporate who I voted for in each category along with the winner of each category. There were some awfully good blogs nominated this year and I am looking forward to familiarizing myself with the winners.

Here is who I voted for . . .

Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog Home Spun Juggling

Best Homeschool Dad Blog Home School Dad

Best Blog Design Homeschool Hacks

Best Photos Blog Adventurez in Child Rearing

Best Crafts, Plans & Projects Blog The Science Mommy

Best Family or Group Blog Why Home School?

Best Encourager A Holy Experience

Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog Why Home School?

Best Homemaking or Recipe Blog Tammy's Recipes

Best Teen Blog God's Daughter

Funniest Homeschool Blog Home School Dad

Best Special Needs Homeschool Blog Special Needs Homeschooling

Best Homeschool Vlogger 10 Million Miles

Best Homeschool Variety Blog Marine Corps Nomads

Best Thrifty Homeschooler Blog Angi's Place

Best SUPER Homeschooler Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Best Nitty-Gritty Homeschool Blog Home Spun Juggling

Best NEW Homeschool Blog Homeschool Hijinx

Best Homeschool Methods Blog Homeschool Mo

Best Homeschooling Nature/Field Trip Blog Charlotte Mason in the City


The Carnival of Homeschooling Thankfullness Edition went up today at Mom School. I am gratified that they included my post on receiving and believing encouragement. Check out the entire carnival by clicking here.

Next Time: Pilgrim Hat Cookies

Saturday, November 19, 2011

9 score and 18 years ago

I wasn't planning on participating in Six Word Saturday today. But here I am, and here's my six:

I learned something without using google.

Today Spider Droid finished reading the book, Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel to, which he has been doing over the past week or so. The book tells the story of the battle of Gettysburg and culminates with Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address.

As he was reading I realized that Lincoln gave the speech 148 years ago. So that's 9 score and 18 years ago. I'm 47 so it's also 3 me's and 7 years ago. In honor of the Cubs hiring a new manager, it's the last time Cubs were world champions and 45 years ago. Okay, you get it. It was a while back.

While I am good at remembering birthdays and anniversaries in our family, Google's little fancy designs are usually what tell me of the commemoration of a historical birth or event. Today I learned about it without Google. In fact if you take a look at a Google, you will see I scooped them. How about that?

For more Six Word Saturday Click Here.

Next Time: Aliens on the street?!?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Puppy Uppers

This morning Puppy crawled into bed with me to snuggle. My part of the snuggling was a semi comatose dream state. She would say stuff and I would respond partially consciously. When I was almost fully awake we had this conversation:

Puppy: Daddy

Me: Yeaaaaaaaaaah.

Puppy: You are the best Daddy ever.

Me: The best? (This wasn't a question, as much as a wake up technique I have of repeating everything I hear,just in case I am dreaming. I have had conversations with Amy in the morning. Except the Amy next to me wasn't talking. I was responding to the Amy in my dreams.)

Puppy. Well, . . . God is the best. You are the second best Daddy ever.

I am not sure about the second part, but she sure nailed the first part. For such a great beginning of the day, it turned out rather lousy. Mainly, because I forgot or did not acknowledge the first part. When I forget the first part, there is no way the second part can be true.

Tomorrow is another day. A day that God will be the best Daddy ever. I'm gonna remember that and try for second!

This post is being featured in the Carnival Of Homeschooling:Thankfullness Edition at Momschool.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where are the Birds? A Puppy and Bunnyism

I am sitting here at the library using the computer and voting for the HSBA Awards. (Vote for me in funniest blog and best home school Dad if you have not already by clicking here. Puppy is at the computer next to me playing Club Penguin. After Puppy picked up some videos to check out, she started watching Bunny play. That is how I overheard this conversation.

Puppy: Where are the birds?
Bunny: What birds?
Puppy: The birds you are going to destroy.
Bunny: Oh (Puppy's real name) Kill two birds with one stone is just an expression.

Oh well. Just had to share that. Now back to my HSBA voting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

COH #307 Tweeting The Carnival

My response to twitter when I first heard of it was exactly the same as my response to Facebook when I first heard of it was about the same. Why would I ever do that. With twitter I was intrigued about the process of condensing my thoughts and even did a few twitter sized posts on my blog. Finally I warmed up to the idea of twitter and started using it from time to time.

Earlier this year it dawned on me that about the only time I read all the carnival of homeschooling articles is when I host the carnival. I even read other hosts say the same thing. Each time I have hosted I get so much out of the carnival since I do read each post. So as a writing challenge to myself and a chance to read an entire carnival I tweeted every post of COH#286 that was hosted @ As For Me and My House this past summer.

I really enjoyed all aspects of the experiment, I got to read every post and I got to work on my writing chops by reviewing each post in twitter sized chunks. So when my turn came up to host the carnival I decided to tweet the entire carnival. As each submission came in I tweeted intro and even made up a hash tag for the carnival, . Most of these tweets came on Monday night because like the title of the aforementioned COH 286 there were technical difficulties in getting all the links to me in a timely manner.

So, for your enjoyment, enlightenment, entertainment and 3 other words that don't start with an "e" or end with a "t", here is the Twitter edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling:

NOTE: By Clicking on the word Tweet in each submission you can see my original tweets.

Can you tell a good book by the award on it's cover? ReadaloudDad says kid's can't, and they are 100% right.

Chore could use more help at home. Chris of HomeSchoolvs.PublicSchool presents Encouraging Chore Participation Tweet

Charla & HighParkHomeDaycare made a fun tree & leaf decoration. Nothing says Fall like leaves and velcro!

BarbaraFrank chronicles the upside of downsizing now that her 4 children are adults. Enjoy Almost There Tweet

Amanda of DenSchool continues her WhyWeHomeschool series. Her guest Victoria answers Siblings as Best Friends.

Lisa of Golden Grasses has Basement Love. She says the singing and laughing of family outweigh the soreness.

Cristina of Homespunjuggling likes reading about testing & learning . I like her cartoons & book she's planning. Tweet

Linda of Parent at the Helm knows any endeavor has it's own vocabulay. Here's her Happy Home Education Glossary

LauraGraceWeldon talks about the lost art of "unmentoring" in Fancy Name For Grown-Ups Kids Need

If Blossom of NLH&S *NorthLaurelHome&School* feels outshone by others acheivements, she asks What about the rest of us? I love her answer.

Erin reviews at CLHSN *Chicago Land Home School Network*. She says you can watch with preschooler and teenager and all 3 can enjoy. Tweet

Kelly at Thehomeschoolco-op shares her November Monthly Booklist: Top Ten Tweet

Amy of DCB *Delightful Children's Books* says before you "book" your next visit to the aquarium check out these 9 Children's Books About Fish

LindseyClair on Week 10 of her Homeschooling Journey at HSID *Home School in Detroit*: Report Cards, Leaf Contests and Lapbooks, Oh My!

I had a guest at HomeSchoolDad this week. Amber Paley had great tips on taking children on nursing home visits,

Maureen of SpellOutloud can't keep the lid on the newest toddler teaching tool. Top of your learning with lids.

Cindy at Getalonghome tells her friends who send their kids to public school why she won't judge them. Tweet

Susan of HomeschoolingHearts&Minds says she is hopeless, but Organizing Our Homeschool Week argues otherwise.

Henry Cate AKA Mr. COH, of Why Homeschool shares this cute video . . .The Homeschool Kids Who Don't Do Anything Tweet

Fall makes beautiful colors so does Allison at HomeschoolHappyMess in Poetry and Leaf Painting:

Yummy Yum Yum! Margot at Learningbeyondthebook says Science is Delicious! You butter not miss this post!

Maggie of ParentingSquad presents 7Reasons to Take Your Kid to a Protest. What will I do with the other 2?)

NEPC plan to control online education got HappyElfMom 's attn in Cyberschools: 800#Gorilla of School Choice. ..

of HSLHS *Holy Spirit Led Home Schooling*talks about Homeschooling Boys. She had me at Lego's are to be embraced! :)

JeanetteDrew, TheAccidentalHomeschooler talks about a surprisingly fun educational fieldtrip to a landfill. Tweet

Jamie @ MOMschool says "Burnout, you are so busted!", with these 5 quick, doable homeschool stress relievers.

Kris of WeirdUnsocializedHomeschoolers says figuring out courses for highschool is a googlesized job. *Here is* her plan.

Jay3fer of AIML*Adventures in Mama-Land* hasn't dropped out of school. She says when food is involved, math happens even on a week off.

Maureen of Homeschool Mo gets your goat and takes the cake in her preschool at home week in review.

Thus ends the tweeting portion of this edition. I had a lot of fun. I hope you did too. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of homeschooling using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday's Cool: Fragments of a Tweenaged Spider Droid

Sunday's Cool

A link up & A Look Ahead

A Link up: Friday my son posted on his blog for the first time in a long time. He also made a lot of changes to it. So I suggest after you read his most recent post, that you spend a little time there admiring what he has done with the place. He would also like followers. Unlike my daughter, who is content just to write her blog whether people read it or not, SD wants people to actually see what he does. So go ahead make his day and follow his blog.

A Look Ahead: The week just past, was a busy one for me in the blogosphere and in real life. This week should be as well. I am hosting the Carnival of Homeschooling on Tuesday as well as getting ready for our co-op semester to end a week from Monday. Add to that some home improvements and our regular school week and it should be a very eventful week.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nursing Home Visits, A Guest Post.

This morning, I have invited Amber Paley, who writes about nursing home abuse at www.nursinghomeabuse.net to write a guest article here. Amber, in addition to her work at NHA DOT NET, is a frequent guest blogger and article writer. Today she is bringing to us tips for taking children to nursing homes. I asked her to do so for a number of reasons. One is that I have recently joined a home school adopt a grandparent group that is going to be visiting nursing homes with their children.

Let's give a very special HSD welcome to Amber Paley! Also Amber did not realize this but she is participating this week in Six Word Saturday at ShowMyFaceDotCom.

Her Six Words . . .

Nursing Homes: Tips for Taking Children

Visiting a loved one who lives in a nursing home with your family can be a great experience for all of those involved. Here are some tips for your trips:

1. Talk to You Children about the Facility in Advance.

Try to communicate to your children what they should expect at the nursing home. Explain that some people in the home have disabilities that cause them to need wheel chairs, walkers, etc.; also explain that some residents can become confused and/or unresponsive.

2. Plan Trips in Advance.

Planning trips in advance will not only give your loved ones something to look forward to, but also allow you to plan the time of day you visit. For loved ones with mental and physical disabilities, this is imperative. Certain times of the day are better while others are worse; make sure you find out which times of the day are best for a visit to your loved one to ensure the best trip possible for everyone.

3. Plan Fun Child-Loved One Activities.

Planning activities that will engage both your elder and children will make the experience fun for everyone. Some children can be shy; games help everyone be more comfortable.

Here are some ideas for what to do . . .

Play! Checkers, Chess, Card Games, Board Games.

Make arts and crafts. Holiday Ornaments and Decorations (Christmas tree ornaments, Hanukah decorations, etc.), Scrapbooks, Family Photo Books.

Read to each other. If possible, have loved one read to your child and or Have your child read to your loved one.

Engage each other.

1. Have everyone decorate your loved one’s room for the holidays.
2. Sing familiar songs or holiday songs.
3. If your child plays a small instrument, have them play it for your loved one.
4. Many facilities host events and activities, make sure to get a facility calendar so that you and your children can participate in these things with your elder.
5. Look through old family albums.
6. Try to bring items with you that both your children and loved one both love and can enjoy together.
7. Have your children do arts and crafts in advance to give to your loved one as a gift.
8. Share current events and experiences in your life and your children’s lives with your loved one; show him or her pictures of your pets, your children’s soccer games, etc.
9. Ask your loved one about the things going on in their life and be sure to listen intently.

Get moving. Take a walk with your loved one and children around and outside of the facility. If your loved one is able, take day trips. Some ideas are:

GO TO . . .

The park for a picnic.
A local parade.
Have ice cream or lunch.
To a family reunion.
To get his or her hair done.

4. Most Importantly, Be Affectionate!
Nursing home residents do not get much direct human contact at the facilities other than when they are assisted by facility personnel. Your loved one will love hugs, kisses, and when you hold his or her hand. Make sure to have your children be affectionate with your elder; it will make his or her day.

Thanks Amber for a wonderful post. I always am open to having a guest blogger here at HSD. You have to admit, Amber set the bar pretty high. So if you have a post that's got some game, get in touch with me. For More Six Word Saturday click here.

Next Time: Sunday's Cool for Spiderdroids.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 11 11 41

Veteran's day always served a double purpose in my adult life. One was it gave me pause to reflect on how those in our military, lay their lives on the line to insure and protect the freedoms I often take for granted.

The other was actually more important, it reminded me of my brother's birthday. My youngest brother was born on November 11th. Having 4 siblings, I was grateful for anything that would remind me of their birthdays. Having one born on a holiday is certainly one way of doing it.

Keith loved being born on Veteran's day. He used to joke that people were getting the day off from school or work (although I don't remember getting the day off for either) for his birthday.
Having a brother with a birthday on a holiday was working for both of us. I remembered it and he basked in it. Then, in 2009, he goes and dies on me!

What good is a remembering a birthday if you don't have someone to celebrate with? So, I started celebrating Keith's birthday here, on my blog. In November of 2009, I spaced my posts 39 hours apart since he would have been 39. What can I say, the kid loved math. On his actual birthday I posted every 39 minutes mine and other's remembrances of him. Last November, I linked many of those remembrances at the end of my posts and on what would have been his 40th birthday I wrote this.

Keith would have actually enjoyed his 41st birthday better than his 40th. He was obsessed with math, and particularly enjoyed calendar math. This probably had something to do with being born on the 11th day of the 11th month. I remember in 1981 how he cherished turning 11 on 11/11. I also remember in the mid to late '90s how this 20 something was telling me what would happen on his 41st birthday. I mean hey this was before people were even worrying about Y2k!

Yes, today his 41st birthday is on 11/11/(20)11. The kid would certainly dig that. The only thing he might have wanted to change, if he could go back in time (a concept, he often thought about), would to be born 3 decades later and turn 11 on 11/11/11. I am not sure my Mom, who would have given birth at age 60, would have appreciated that.

In honor of Keith's posthumous achievement I posted this at 11:11 this morning. We all miss you Keith. The memories we have of you, and the knowledge that you are in Heaven, help us get through each birthday and every day we spend without you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This weeks Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Under the Golden Apple Tree. My recent post about Birthdays and Homeschooling can be found there as well as many fine homeschooling posts that I am looking forward to sampling in the days to come.

I will be hosting next weeks COH and submissions can be emailed to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com Be sure to include the following:

Title of Post

URL of Post

Name of Blog

URL of Blog

Brief summary of the post

You can also send submissions in via Blog Carnival
There is a carnival atmosphere around the internet due to the recent nomination announcement at the HSBA. I am excited that this blog has been again nominated in the Best Dad blog category as well as Funniest Homeschool blog. You can check out all the fine nominations and vote for my blog and the rest of your favirites by clicking here.

Besides shameless self promotion of the awards I will also be revealing which blogs I voted for in various categories during the voting period which ends November 17th.

In the first category, Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog I voted for Homespun Juggling. This is by far my favorie homeschooling blog that I don't write myself (see previous sentence about shameless self promotion.), As a reminder of why I like her blog so much read this.

So check out the carnival, submit a post for next week, check out the HSBA nominations and vote for your favorites *Hint Hint :)*

Next Time: HSD Rewind.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthdays and Home Schooling

Like many home school parents, I was not home educated. Unlike my kids I went to school rather than stay at home. One of my favorite days to "go" to school was on my birthday. I loved going on my birthday, bringing candy for my class. I also loved when it was someone elses birthday and they brought in candy.

At our home school we have a tradition of taking the day off school on our children's birthdays. Last week Spider Droid went all double digits on us.

When SD was younger he really enjoyed trains. He loved playing with trains, watching and reading Thomas the Tank engine stories, visiting train museums, riding trains. He loved all things trains. As he has become interested in other things like robotics, Lego's and soccer, his train love has waned a bit. Thomas is old news, and he only plays with his trains when younger kids come to visit. He still likes to ride trains, though.

So for his birthday we went on a short family train trip. 2 of his friends, brothers who had gone to Joplin with us, came with. We took a Chicago commuter train from one suburb to another. Our destination was a place called the Choo Choo Cafe. It is a real cool restaurant that serves your food on a model train.

Here are some pics or Spider Droids special day. . .

After we ate lunch the train brought out some ice cream for the kids.

Not all our birthday celebrations are so elaborate. This was a nice birthday/field trip. So I got to wondering how other home educators spend birthdays. If you are visiting from this weeks Carnival of Homeschooling please comment and tell me what you do for birthdays. To get back to the Carnival click here.

Next Time: HSBA Challenge

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday's Cool: Bunny Circus

Sunday's Cool

A Link Up & A Look Ahead

A Link Up: In September and October when I was all but an absent figure in the blogosphere, I was also not pushing my children's presence there. Now that things at the Izola Becker Home School or more or less to back to normal, I hope my kids will get back to blogging as well.

On Friday, Bunny Girl wrote a post about our trip to the Circus. You can get to that post my clicking on the picture of the 12 year old ringmaster or by clicking here.

A Look Ahead: This week I plan to blog about birthdays. My son's that just passed and a birthday my late brother would have loved. I also will be working on the Carnival of Homeschooling that I will be hosting on the 16th of this month.

Next Time: Birthday Training

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 Ring Circus. 6 word review.

It's time once again for Six Word Saturday at Show My Face Dot Com.

Here are my Six:

Went to Circus, Here's some pictures.


Bunny the Ringmaster

I look like circus folk don't I?

Signature Clown Move

Family Circus Clowns

The Greatest Show of Hands

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.

How many clowns does it take to change a light bulb?

High Wire Walking

High Wire Biking

Apparently the first Elephant didn't see the green light.

Sitting Tigers

Jumping Tigers

That's All Folks!

The circus in question was the Ringling Brother's Barnum and Bailey Circus doing their Fully Charged show. I had never been to see this circus before as I mentioned in my last post. It was a fantastic show as I hope you can see by all the pics and vids. For More Six Word Saturday show your face with or without the clown nose @showmyface.com. If you are or will be in the Chicago area this month click here for discount tickets to the show.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip