Category Archives: Kindergarten

Kindergarten Is the Most Important Year of Life

Kindergarten WAS the Most  IMPortant Year of Your life.

And now …

Kindergarten IS the most IMPortant year of your child’s life. 

Agree or disagree, but the fact still remains: the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR of life is kindergarten.

Kindergarten | Most Important Year of Life
the MOST important year of life

The current research says that our personality is FULLY FORMED by age 7. The only thing that has changed about that statement in 60 years is that in the 50’s and 60’s the experts would say that your personality is FULLY FORMED  by age 6.

One year (from 6 to 7) is the ONLY THING about that statement that has changed PER THE EXPERTS in 60 years.

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Doing Homework
play is the best learning tool EVER

So  who is teaching your child ?

From birth through age 7 ?

Is it Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Halo, or iPhone apps ? Moms and dads, I understand your busy lifestyle.
But YOU GET TO DECIDE what your priorities are. Not what you WANT your priorities to be; but what your priorities ARE BASED ON YOUR ACTIONS. Talk is cheap. But YOUR ACTIONS tell me what your priorities are.

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I thought about being gentle …

… and politically correct in my approach to this topic, but the STAKES ARE TOO HIGH.
Your child’s entire life is at risk.
Our whole nation IS AT RISK as we model value systems for our children.

And being politically correct usually accomplishes ONLY ONE thing. You are politically correct. That’s all.

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And by being politically correct all of your GREAT IDEAS ARE NEUTERED while you A-L-M-O-S-T SAY what you believe in politically correct terms. And NOTHING changes !

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Daniel Jedi Squire in Training
let’s be bold as a Jedi

 So let’s be bold.

The STAKES ARE HIGH. It’s time to take a stand for being involved in your child’s education.
Be aware. When you are bold in this belief, you will have YOUR HATERS. Haters are gonna hate. That’s what they do.

Kindergarten | Most Important Year

Kindergarten | Most Important Year

But the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR of life is kindergarten.

I understand, moms and dads. You are spending most of your life’s energy and resources climbing the CORPORATE LADDER, creating a career, paying the bills, and building your PROFESSIONAL RESUME. For what ? So that you can do what ? Retire well, travel, consult, blog?

And you need some help.

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help me income taxes 400x300 px
you feel overwhelmed and need some help

The fact still remains: the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR of life (your child’s or grandchild’s life) is kindergarten – PERIOD. This is the year when your child learns how to learn, learns how to respond to authority figures and feedback.

Your child also starts to realize that there are other little people who also believe that they are the center of the universe.

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so you NEVER miss anything

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So how involved and proactive are you?

…during this MOST IMPORTANT YEAR ?

readers become leaders || they learn by example
readers become leaders || they learn by example
Being involved is NOT telling your children to go do their homework while you’re sitting on the couch with your iPhone or watching ESPN or Netflix. This is not being involved. This is avoidance.
Or putting the iPad in front of your child instead of doing homework with them. Or instead of reading with them.
Hey, we’re all guilty of doing this because we’re TIRED and MENTALLY LAZY.

But being tired and mentally lazy are not good reasons – just weak excuses. 

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For Dads – Get Off the Couch !!!

Get off the couch. Turn off the video games and ESPN and NetFlix.
Dads and Grandpas, we gotta be proactive.

Being involved in the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR of your child’s life is NOT telling your children to go do their homework while you’re on the couch with your iPhone or watching ESPN or Netflix.

Kindergarten is the…

…most important year of life. 

daniel and libby 300x225 green borderHere’s what I have discovered as a parent and grandparent. Children RESPOND WELL to a structured program of study. Parents, even when your children  complain, after this structure is implemented; they look forward to this time. For us, after school we have a brief (10 minutes) “chill time.” And while eating a healthy fruit snack, we do our HOMEWORK EVERYDAY after school.

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  • Right after school.
  • This system works.
  • The children like this routine because now they have the ENTIRE EVENING FREE.

In fact, just this afternoon, Lucas, my grandson, and I worked on his math homework. When we finished, he was bragging that he was two days EARLY finishing this assignment. This is NOT the way it used to be before we started having a structured time and plan for doing homework.

And right now Lucas and Daniel are enjoying a movie with their mother, because they both have a structured routine of getting their homework done first. 

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America’s Grandpa is a Hypocrite !

I am a hypocrite, and I’m cheating a little.

I do cheat a little by adding some M&M’s to the study routine. For the kindergartener, M&M’s [Grandpa-Approved M&M’sdo help with LEARNING COLORS and COUNTING. 

Today we did some multiplication and addition and subtraction using M&Ms. And word problems. By the way, the student gets to eat his successes. And the teacher gets to eat any mistakes. So the student is motivated.
And I have convinced our kindergartner that chocolate provides ADDITIONAL BRAIN POWER for reading and counting.
Hey, criticize me, but I believe (for me) this is an ACCEPTABLE COMPROMISE for now while we are building a CONSISTENT ROUTINE and work habits.

Just for fun, buy some [Grandpa-Approved M&M’s] here. 

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Kindergarten | Most Important Year of Life

This important year is when our children learn the ENJOYMENT of reading and the ENJOYMENT of learning. And the comfort and satisfaction of routinely getting the job done. The kindergartener is learning very IMPORTANT LIFELONG VALUES.

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Kindergarten children need to…

  • need to learn Sight Words,
  • learn to create sentences 6 words or longer,
  • learn to count to 10 and
  • know their basic colors, and
  • learn to take turns and share.

Ask Yourself these Tough Questions.

Do you want your child to know how to read, write, and know some math ? At least, learn enough math to balance a checkbook or to give proper change at McDonald’s ?

How many times have you met a high school student at McDonald’s that can not give the proper amount of change if the exact number is not on the cash register ? Frustrating and embarrassing, isn’t it ?

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Flat Screen GODs

Beware of the “Flat Screen Demons.”

Here’s another tough question.
Do you want the “flat screen demons” to educate your children ?

Do you want your children’s major skill sets to be learned from Clash of Clans, MineCraft, and the newest version of Halo: Guardians ?

Let’s tackle Kindergarten with some new tools. 

Kindergarten | Most Important Year
Kindergarten | Most Important Year

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You Get to Choose

Choose to change. And your children will follow.
Choose to change. And your children will follow.
But, remember, the stakes are high. You do NOT GET A SECOND CHANCE at the first 7 years of your child’s life.

And you’re NOT going to teach them effectively while you’re sitting on the couch watching ESPN and Netflix.

Let’s tackle Kindergarten with some new tools. 

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Computer Games and Apps

Have some fun electronic time at Panera Bread.
having some fun electronic time at Panera Bread
I’m not against all computer games and apps. Or ESPN, NetFlix and Amazon Video. In fact, I AM AN AVID BELIEVER in using technology – computer tablets and computer apps and games and iPhone apps and games. I am concerned about the number of hours playing video games and apps and NetFlix.
And you thinking that you are interacting with your children while you are watching NetFlix together. You are not interacting.

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And if your child is going to CREATE APPS and GAMES some day, they will need to know how to read and think and EMBRACE CONSISTENT WORK HABITS.
Remember, as you watch ESPN and Netflix and play Candy Crush instead of reading with your children, you are now actively TEACHING THEM HOW TO PARENT their children.

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Kindergarten | Most Important Year of Life

to the dads

Dads, it is time to become fully engaged in your child’s educational process.
Your obsession with watching sports and chillacking on the couch.
This is NOT engagement with your children. This is conscious avoidance.
  • Football,
  • basketball, and 
  • your favorite Netflix series. 
  • It can all wait until later. Years later. 
There are a lot of changes expected of your 5-year-old kindergarten child.
This is  when clear expectations and structure and schedules at home become even more important.

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Celebrate with a HASHTAG SELFIE.
Praise | Celebrate with a HASHTAG SELFIE.
Clear expectations and structure and schedules at home become even more important. And having some good habits like…
  • A regular sleep schedule is paramount.
  • A regular study schedule is paramount.
  • Praise for doing well.
  • Praise often. 
  • Celebrate with a special event. 
  • Celebrate with a hashtag selfie. 
  • Put their BEST SCHOOL WORK on a Wall of Fame.
  • Healthy eating – WITHOUT all the sugar – aids in this learning environment.

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Kindergarten is …

… the most important year of life.

The stakes are high. You do NOT GET A SECOND CHANCE at the first 7 years of your child’s life.

Kindergarten | Most Important Year
kindergarten is the MOST IMPortant year of life

Jon and Stephanie Weiss

Infomercial  – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa is supporting Jon and Stephanie’s trip to Tanzania. No, it’s not a pleasure trip. Jon and Stephanie and their 4 young children are going to Tanzania for 5 years as linguists and translators for Wycliffe Bible Translators. And half of Grandpa’s net revenues (any purchases via links on Grandpa’s website) will go to supporting Jon and Steph on their way to Tanzania. Learn more here about On Our Way to Tanzania.

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America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa is writing …

  •  … on behalf of America’s children who deserve a quality education and on behalf of America’s educators who deserve to have parents who are daily advocates of education and supporting their children’s educational experience.
  • And grandpa’s comments are directed at dads who need to be more involved in their children’s education.
  • America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa is also writing on behalf of my daughter who is an educator and would appreciate (along with all educators) parents being more engaged in their children’s education.

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If You Judge a Fish by its Ability to Climb a Tree …

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree …

… it will live its WHOLE LIFE believing that it is stupid. – Albert Einstein

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Did you know … ?

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree

So you know a fish that cannot climb a tree,

… and you call HIM stupid ?

Maybe you don’t do this, but others do. They call a fish stupid just because he can’t climb a tree — and you allow them to say this.

Or you are just not aware.

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Meet Beautiful Isabella
Don’t judge me. I am a BEAUTIFUL person. I am Isabella.

The real question is …

My question is: WHO is really stupid in this picture ?

You — or the fish that can’t climb a tree ?

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its WHOLE LIFE believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

We call people stupid quickly.

We judge people quickly. Just because they can’t “climb a tree.” Just because they can’t do something everyone else can do.

Or because they can’t do it as fast.

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We do it differently. But we WILL finish.
We do it differently. AND we WILL finish.

Or because they do it differently than you do it.

If someone with no legs entered a marathon and finished in last place, would you call her a poor runner ?

Would you criticize her ? 

Would you berate her for finishing last ?

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No, we would create a YouTube video.

No, we would hire an army of videographers equipped with GoPro Hero cameras running beside her. And we would create a YouTube video about how brave and courageous this person is.

We would add some inspiring music. In the video we would embed quotes from great leaders and athletes. We would post this video to our YouTube channels and promote this video via Facebook, Google+, and twitter. We would create a Vimeo version of this video.

We would email this inspiring blogpost with the video to our friends and subscriber list. And we would encourage all of our friends to watch the video of this amazing athlete finishing a 26.2 mile run with no legs. Or artificial legs.

AND finishing in last place.

She still finished in last place.

We would applaud her efforts. We would be inspired as we watch this video accumulate 1 million views the first day. And then 17 million views by the end of the week.

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We applaud her efforts.
We applaud her efforts — NOT her performance. 

And, remember, this runner finished in LAST PLACE in a marathon – clearly a very poor performance. According to our standards.

  • Would we berate her for not training adequately ?
  • Would we criticize here for lack of effort ?
  • Would we say that she is an embarrassment to our family ?
  • Would we constantly remind her that she finished in last place ?
  • Especially after the family spent all that time and money on her training ?
  • Would we shout in her face and remind her that everyone else’s best effort was better than her effort ?

No, we would NOT do any of those derogatory things. I HOPE no one would do that. Few people are that insensitive.

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No one is that unaware of this runner’s personal challenges.

  • Would we ever berate an employee with less talent who underperforms ? Some of you would.
  • Would we ever scold and berate a child who learns in a different way or at a different rate ? Unfortunately, some of us do.

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join now

so you don’t miss any KooL stuFF

Have a meSSy Christmas. Just say NO to Pinterest-Perfect.

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“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

This is very sad. But I have seen parents and others who do the same thing with children who learn differently. And treat these children like they are inadequate. And use the words “stupid” and “retarded.”

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Run, Forrest, Run !!!

In the 50’s when I was attending elementary school and a student learned differently, they were treated as if they were stupid and called different versions of the word stupid (dumb, retarded, slow, dense, unintelligent). Other children actually called them “retards.” And before all of today’s special testing, we know that some of these students did have undiagnosed learning disabilities (The movie character, Forrest Gump, is a vivid illustration of how children were treated in the 50’s and 60’s).

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No one should ever wear a dunce hat
No one should EVER wear a dunce hat

What are the negative results of a dunce hat?

The educational system placed them (the fish that couldn’t climb a tree) in the corner and put a “dunce hat” on them.

The teacher would draw a circle on the blackboard and have this student stand with his nose in the center of the circle on the blackboard.

What a sad public display of bullying via embarrassment.

I still wonder how some of these children survived. Some didn’t survive.

One of my elementary grade classmates didn’t survive. He killed himself in the 50’s. I was young and don’t recall all of the details, but this is what I do remember. On the weekend, when no one was at school, he stood on a shopping cart, pushed it away and hung himself from a tree in the school yard.

No one knows the whole story about this young boy. In those days, the police did not investigate the suicide deaths of young children. Especially a young boy of a high profile family in the community.

After all of our training and education, we believe we have evolved in our attitudes towards different styles of learning. But we haven’t yet.

Imagine if you are a young child, and you are berated by an authority figure (parent, grandparent, teacher, coach) because you can not perform well in a certain environment.

You quickly start believing this false information about your abilities. You believe that you are stupid, and you believe the rest of the world is better than you. After age 7, the experts say this becomes that child’s view of themselves. Forever.

And this self perception will change only slightly over the course of a lifetime.

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Unfortunately, I have seen this happen.

You need to ask yourself — I need to ask myself: have I ever been guilty of this kind of treatment ? In some way I believe we all have done this – due to lack of patience.

Or we have just focused our anger on a child because we had a bad day.

  • Have you ever observed a child being berated because his best effort was not adequate per the expectations of the parent ?
  • In school work or in sports ?
  • Have you ever seen a child berated to the point of tears and beyond ?
  • Have you ever seen this behavior by an overbearing parent at a sporting event ?
  • Or a by coach ?

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This moment will stay with this child FOREVER.
This moment will stay with this child. FOREVER.

Remember, these experiences of a young child stay in their memories forever.

So a young child is berated and scolded. Just because he learns differently. Just because he is a FISH WHO CANNOT CLIMB A TREE.

He is scolded to the point of tears because his BEST EFFORTS did not equal the best efforts of his classmates or teammates. And did not meet someone’s expectations.

What is your child’s best effort ?

Exactly what is your child’s best effort ?

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Reward your child's best effort
Reward your child’s best effort. NOT just performance. 

Let’s talk about your child’s best effort. What is your child’s best effort ? If you and I learn in the traditional (whatever that is) fashion, how would we know what a child’s best effort is ?

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We don’t know.

We only know what our best effort is with our skill set.

If you and I have two legs, how would we know what it is like to walk or run (or drive a car) without legs ? Or “be a fish who is expected to climb a tree ?”

We just do not know how this feels.

When I was younger, I did not understand old people’s slow pace of walking. I spent some time judging and criticizing these old people. And, of course, how these old people drive.

Now I move very slowly with a cane. I don’t believe I’ll be running a marathon this year. But if you want to judge old people based on your running skill sets, then please do so.

I’m just another fish who cannot climb a tree. Or who cannot run a marathon today.

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,

it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

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Here’s the point of Einstein’s quote.

If you and I are NOT fish, how can we understand a fish trying to climb a tree ? We cannot.

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What if your child is NOT athletic?

Be grateful for their imagination
Be grateful for their imagination

If one child is more athletic than another child, do we still berate the unathletic child ? I have seen some parents still scold for “underperformance.” What if that child is a “fish trying to climb a tree.

How do we know what that child’s best performance really is ?

Thankfully, some of us have grown mentally and emotionally over time. Some have not.

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Do you have a “non tree climbing fish” in your family ?

If we have a “fish” in our family who can not climb trees, instead let’s think about their swimming talents. Let’s be grateful that we have a good “swimmer” in our family. And not a tree climber.

Let’s celebrate their difference.

Our creator entrusted us with the task of caring for and nourishing a “fish” in the family – not a tree climber. We don’t know what their special “swimming” skill is yet. But let’s not kill the spirit of the fish before she discovers her “swimming” skills.

Let’s be encouragers of her special talents.

Thank God for different thinkers. Thank God for Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson.

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Embrace their inner fish

And embrace their inner fish – whatever hidden talent that is. And be grateful that someone did not label you as a “stupid retarded fish” who could not climb a tree.

These negative labels kill the spirits of young children. Destroyed spirits that cannot be revived.

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Just another fish …

I still remember that day – 58 years ago – when I heard my classmate had killed himself by hanging himself from a tree. Somehow that tree in the country school yard wasn’t fun to climb anymore.

I guess he was just another fish who couldn’t climb a tree.

What can you do with this information ?

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Create RADICAL change.

Celebrate different. Create RADICAL change. Reward special talents.
Celebrate different. Reward special talents.

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  • Create RADICAL change.
  • RADICAL change at home.
  • At school.
  • On the sports field.
  • Protect those “fish who cannot climb a tree.”
  • Reward those special talents that make them fish.
  • Reward those who think differently.
  • Be grateful for the nerd in your family.
  • Be grateful for the athlete in your family.
  • Be grateful for the artist in your family.
  • Be grateful for the day dreamer in your family.
  • Celebrate the different one.

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don’t EVER miss any cool stuff again

yikes 150 x 150

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Play Is the Best Learning Tool. EVER.

Play is the BEST learning tool. EVER.

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Every Child Wants to be a SUPER HERO
Play is the ultimate SUPER HERO WEAPON for learning.

Play is the ultimate SUPER HERO WEAPON for learning.

Play is the BEST learning tool for …

… for children of ALL ages – even adults in the workplace.

Look at the recent research on adult play and gamification.

Hey ! Just WATCH your children PLAY ! Play is a child’s work !

This is what the experts say:

  • Play is the NATURAL VEHICLE for learning in children.
  • When children play; they learn social, motor and cognitive skills.
  • When children play, they learn creative solutions.
  • When children are stressed, it is very hard to learn. So let’s play.
  • When the anxiety is gone, learning can happen. 
  • Learning through play is highly effective.
  • Play and games can be a great tool for learning.

Play is the best learning tool …

  • for children,
  • for you and me.

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Play is the BEST learning tool.
Play is the BEST learning tool. EVER.

This information has been confirmed after a 30 year study

  • Watch children play.
  • They celebrate every win as if it is an EPIC WIN.
  • And play is even more fun when adults do NOT interfere and
  • DO NOT keep score of their mistakes.

Watch children playing MineCraft. A recent independent study confirmed that children love the CREATIVE PLAY of MineCraft with NO ADULT INTERFERENCE

Watch children of ALL ages …

… when they are practicing their newest skateboard move. They do it again and again AND AGAIN until they get it right. Then – after a little success – comes the EPIC – CELEBRATION – DANCE.

A-r-r-r-gh !! Celebrate every victory. Like a pirate.

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Celebrate EVERY victory. Like a pirate.
Celebrate EVERY victory. Like a pirate.

Watch children practice any game – basketball, soccer, a video game – they play until they “get it right.”

Children DO NOT QUIT when learning is a game.

Play is the work of childhood.

Children play until they succeed. Children do NOT watch the clock when they are playing.

How many times have you asked your child to stop playing a video game — after 2 hours of non-stop play ?

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don’t EVER miss any cool stuff again

yikes 150 x 150

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But mom. I just started. 

And they tell you, “But mom, I just started.” After 2 hours of playing !!! Children are unaware of time when they are playing and having fun.

Play is the best learning tool. EVER. 

And celebration is a part of that play. It’s a healthy expression of fun. Here’s a great FAN CELEBRATION DANCE. Watch it and enjoy the next 2 minutes!

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Why NOT intentionally create a learning environment that uses play and victory dances that CELEBRATE EPIC WINS ?

Why not have a great Celebration Dance after studying spelling and math and social studies ?

We celebrate every day after school.

Read how we study like a Jedi Rebel to learn more.

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Celebrate EVERY victory.
Celebrate EVERY victory. Why not ? We do. 

Daniel, age 5, and Lucas, age 9, read and do homework in the SAME PLACE and at the SAME TIME every day.

We celebrate almost every success; and at the end of the study session, Lucas, the older brother, teaches Daniel how to read in a special big-brother mentoring time. Both boys win during this time.

Then we celebrate with high fives ! And epic dances with our most creative and energized moves ! Why not ?

The result: Daniel learns how to read. And Lucas learns some patience AND learns how to teach a valuable skill. What a joy ! What a DOUBLE EPIC WIN !

An EPIC win that will have positive results the rest of their lives. 

This daily study event takes some planning and is an intentional planned event focused on creating successes and celebration dances.

So if play is a great learning tool …

… and celebration is part of that play, why not use these tools intentionally ?

Why not plan “play” and “celebration” into every learning event ?

Why not have a victory dance or a celebration routine planned and intentional ? And why not use celebration frequently to enjoy the wins ?

And make every win an EPIC WIN. As a parent, you get to choose.

You say this takes too much time …

… and does not fit into your mindset of being a productive and efficient adult role model.

Let me ask you, Is what you’re doing now working for your children ?”

Are they enjoying learning or just getting their homework done ?

Well, then. It’s time for a change.

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Choose to change. And your children will follow.
change and they will foLLow. but you MUST CHooSE to change

This works for us. Yes, celebration takes time, but the learning curve is ALWAYS SHORTENED for us because we have fun and we celebrate.

I challenge you to make some intentional changes in your homework routine. If you need some ideas, look here for some ideas — Revenge of the Jedi Rebel.

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Celebrate EPIC WINS

Celebrating EPIC WINS is a great learning tool.

Do you remember your school day ?

Do you remember those days when you brought home a paper with a score of 97 %. That’s 97 correct answers out of 100 possible questions. I remember.

I remember. I arrived at home PROUD and EMPOWERED and feeling like a SUPER HERO. With a 97 % . An EPIC WIN until…

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Focus on his wins. Not his wrong answers.
Focus on his wins. Not his wrong answers.

… the adult in charge IMMEDIATELY looked at the 3 RED X MARKS and commented, “Why did you miss these 3 ? I know you know the answer to these 3 questions.”

You studied hard, and you had an EPIC WIN; but where is the joy and the fun and the celebration now ?

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Don’t Ruin an Epic Win

Celebrate EVERY victory.
Celebrate E-V-E-R-Y victory

An EPIC WIN becomes an Epic Failure; because you are reminded that you missed 3 questions.

And all you heard in your mind was, “You’re NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You still missed 3 questions.” And you forget that you did get 97 right.

And the adult in charge (dad | mom) just turned a MAJOR WIN into a reminder that you are NEVER GOOD ENOUGH.

And your young child gets to hear that negative message in their mind the rest of their life – no exaggeration ! Read the research.

I hope you’re NOT doing the same thing with your children.

Instead celebrate EVERY EVENT

…with a hashtag selfie. Why not ?

Tweet your wins. Facebook your wins with selfies. And, to your child, make every WIN an EPIC WIN.

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Celebrate with a HASHTAG SELFIE.
Celebrate with a HASHTAG SELFIE. Make EVERY win an EPIC WIN. 

You get to choose – to celebrate.

Celebrate the wins. ALL of the wins.

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As a parent, you now get to CHOOSE TO CHANGE the homework routine for your children – INTENTIONALLY and with a CLEAR PURPOSE.

You get to break the cycle of negativity.

Every kid wants to be a SUPER HERO  – at least for a moment.


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Children of ALL ages love to celebrate.
Children of ALL ages love to celebrate. 

And then CELEBRATE some more.

Even big kids like to  wear super hero capes and celebrate.

Next time I’ll tell you about our M&M routine of celebrating.

It works. It really does.

M&M Learning is Kid-Tested and Grandpa-Approved.

It doesn’t get any better than celebrating with M&Ms. 

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I dare you to…

I dare you to make learning fun.
I dare you to make learning fun. 

It works. It really does.

  • Celebrate your wins. With your children.
  • And then try some Celebration Dances with your team at work.
  • Why not ? Share the fun.

After all, play IS the best learning tool. 

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Have a meSSy Christmas. Just say NO to Pinterest-Perfect.

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3 Ways to Fail at Homework with a Six-Year-Old

3 Ways to Fail at Homework with a Six-Year-Old

I did it. I failed miserably. I was trying to do homework with my six-year-old grandson, Daniel. And I failed miserably in three different ways.

… and I did it all in one aftern00n.

It felt  like a major setback this week. Doing homework with my grandson, Daniel.

So much progress made this year motivating Daniel. And then an EPIC FAIL in one aftern00n.

I dare you to make learning fun.
“I dare you to make learning fun.” – Lucas, one of Daniel’s older brothers

Thursday after school didn’t go well.

It didn’t go well at all. Daniel just decided to assert himself – more than usual. Our homework session started OK. Then Daniel just said “no.”

  • “No. I don’t like math.”
  • “No. I don’t want any help.”
  • “No. I don’t want to do homework.”
  • Just “no.” “No.” And another “NO” for good measure.

And internally I just crashed.

It was already an emotionally charged week for me working with Daniel. Daniel was in a no-no-no mode” this week. My aged brains cells raced with frustration and questions.

  • Doesn’t he understand how valuable MY time is?
  • Doesn’t Daniel understand how IMPORTANT education is?
  • Doesn’t he appreciate ALL OF THE WORK I have done to create a friendly learning environment?

Internally, I crashed and was CRUSHED when Daniel kept saying “no.” I thought I had created the ideal learning environment. I knew I had failed this aftern00n. And I had finally met my match in self-will and stubbornness.

Hey, I’m dealing with a six-year-old who would rather watch video games (you know, Minecraft) than spell words and do math. And compared to Minecraft, all this education stuff means nothing to him.

daniel with 3 letter words
“No. I don’t want to do homework.” – Daniel

No amount of M&M’s (candy bribery) or …

… false encouragement and excitement about education would change Daniel’s mind.

Well, the next day, Friday morning, I was trying to understand where I had failed.

Where did I FAIL ?

Here is the 3-point assessment of my faulty (MBA) thinking.

Every Child Wants an EPIC WIN
Daniel’s brain cells were saying, “Enough is enough.”

My first FAILure was …

… the obvious – thinking about me and that I had failed. I had provided the right environment and the right processes. But Daniel had a tough week and had reached an invisible emotional peak (or valley). He had reached some sort of educational saturation point.

Daniel’s brain cells were saying,  “Enough is enough.”

Daniel is six years old.

Every Child Wants to be a SUPER HERO
“Play is the ultimate SUPER HERO learning tool.” – Captain Daniel America

And I’m, well … real old. Daniel had reached the six-year-old limit for doing homework on a routine. He had reached the six-year-old maximum number of days in row for doing homework on time.

  • That’s all.
  • Simple.
  • And out of MY control.
  • This was all about Daniel. And HIS limits.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not listed in some education manual that I could predict. Daniel’s maximum limit did not fit into my linear way of thinking.

Second FAILure …

My expectations were t00 high.

  • It was like pushing a string.
  • Like stopping the wind.
  • Like trying to put t00thpaste back into the tube.

No amount of “grandpa super powers” would work.

My expectations of my perfect plan combined with intellectual super powers were unrealistic.

Crazy thinking on my part. To try to compete with a six-year-old’s thinking. 

My unrealistic expectations were MY RECIPE FOR FAILURE. Or a recipe for feeling like I had failed.

“A six-year-old’s super powers for resisting homework will always trump this old man’s thinking about what’s gonna work for Captain Daniel America.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

Third FAILure …

… WAS keeping score. Trying to think in terms of black and white. Wins and losses. Thinking that when Daniel gets to win, then grandpa must loose. I forgot that …

I forgot. The goal is to help Daniel to enjoy learning. Not just complete another math problem.

Teach the way he learns - Daniel
Daniel and his learning maZe crEation – complete with a Lava Lake and a Kangaroo Wave Park


“If Daniel doesn’t learn the way I am teaching, then maybe I should teach the way Daniel learns.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

If Daniel doesn’t learn the way I am teaching, then maybe I should teach the way Daniel learns. (Simple. Profound and true.)

Try some new things.

  • Teaching on the computer, the iPad?
  • Taking our homework class to Panera Bread and mix in some double chocolate brownies with math?
  • Or (for a six-year-old) just SKIP HOMEWORK one night? WOWzer !!
  • Or do homework AFTER SUPPER instead of ALWAYS BEFORE supper?
Teach them the way they learn - America's GRUMPiest Grandpa
“Teach them the same way they learn.” – America’s GRUMPiest Grandpa

I need to remember the goal is to sell the learning process – not just to do one more math problem.

The end result …

… of Thursday evening was: Daniel did finish his math and spelling – peacefully – with his mom AFTER SUPPER. With no drama.

And then Daniel happily showed me his completed homework.

Ya gotta admit it.

Moms and six-year-olds are so smart.

Mission accomplished. 

moms and six-year-olds are so SMART
MOMS and six-year-olds are so SMART – Daniel and Libby