MindManager for Kids

Friday, August 27th, 2004
To visualize some ideas for their U.S. FIRST Jr. Robotics Team, I taught Amy and Wendy how to use my computer to create a mind map. We loaded up MindManager and within minutes the kids were using the software to create their basic map.

Image:MindManager for Kids

Mind mapping is not new to my kids. MindManager just makes the process much easier.

I really enjoy coaching Jr. Robotics because it provides me with a tangible way to show young people the results of their creative thinking in action.

I plan to look into teaching the team how to use MindManager as part of the preparations for this year's competition.

Over the next 4 months, the girls and I will be blogging about our team experiences on the way to the robotics competition. Be sure to add this site's RSS feed to your reader so that you can remain informed.  

Until then, here's a link to the girl's 2002 Jr. Robotics web site.

Walking through the Bible, again...

Sunday, August 15th, 2004
Last year, our family participated in the popular Walk Thru the Old Testament Seminar. The seminar is an innovative way to learn about the people, places, events, and history recorded in the Bible. What I think is particularly fun about the Walk-Thru seminars is that the audience is actively engaged during the entire seminar. You can't sit still. The presenter, while teaching history, uses catch-phrases, body language, and hand-signs to help the audience literally, "Walk thru" the Old or New Testament in just four hours.

Image:Walking through the Bible, again...

There were two concurrent seminars, this year: an adult Walk-thru, and a children's Walk-Thru. I volunteered, along with several other adults, to help "Miss. Donna," as she presented the seminar to a group of almost a hundred children. Miss. Donna did an outstanding job and had everyone moving, laughing, and learning from start to finish.

At the end of the seminar, all of the kids (and even the adults) were able to demonstrate a better understanding of the people, places, and events of the New Testament from memory; they did this by reciting (in order) the more than seventy catch-phrases and hand-motions which they had learned.

It was a great deal of fun, and really helped to make the stories of the Bible come alive.

If you hear of a Walk-Thru the Bible seminar near you, look into it. I highly recommend it.

Italian food and children’s software

Sunday, August 15th, 2004
Last week, I took my family out to Buca di Beppo for an Italian Dinner, served family-style. Kathy took my daughters to the rest-room. Apparently, in the ladies rest-room there were several pictures on the wall.

Emily pointed to a reproduction of a painting and said, "I know the name of that painting, it's the 'Birth of Venus.'"

Kathy asked her how she knew that, and she said she learned it from JumpStart Second Grade.


The dinner? It was fantastic. Recommended.

Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

Monday, August 9th, 2004
Kelly and I were honored to be in the wedding of a close friend of mine. Kelly was the flower girl while I stood up front and thought about what it will be like to escort each of my daughters down the aisle someday.

During the rehearsals, Kelly walked so briskly that Kathy and I both encouraged her to walk more slowly. On the day of the wedding, Kelly did just that; she took her sweet time; so much so, that the wedding procession was almost done by the time she reached the altar, yet the bride was still in the aisle. (Oops.)

Image:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fameImage:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

There was some concern that the bride and groom might not find their way out from the reception, so we added a pilot-car sign to Kelly's gown ...

Image:Kelly gets her 5 minutes of fame

The wedding went well, and my friend and his new bride did not stop beaming the whole time.

The only problem (for me) was that Wendy caught the bouquet ...

Application for permission to date my daughter

Thoughts on how to pay for a wedding

Home Education on the Rise

Thursday, August 5th, 2004
CNN reports that as more parents seek control of the curriculum and environment for their children, the estimated figure of students educated at home grew by 29% this past year. The results were released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Education Department.

Kathy and I have just returned from the Christian Home Educator's Association of California annual conference, where we spent a weekend with thousands of other parents who are successfully home educating their children.

Image:Home Education on the Rise

It was inspiring and energizing to be with such a large group of parents, gathered for the sole purpose of further equipping themselves to educate their children at home. The speakers were great, and the organizations, vendors and colleges present provided valuable curriculum, books, resources, and training in various methodologies of education.

I'll post a more detailed summary of the trip and commentary soon.

Christian Home Educator's Association of California