What is Your Mission?

What is your mission? What are your values?

This Christmas break, I decided to get a lot of books from the library (creative, education, psychology, etc). One of those books pressed upon me the necessity of defining your values personally. I’ve never really thought of spending much time thinking about my core values. However, I am excited with what I am learning.

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Creative Genius Monday — Connect the Dots, La La La La….

I hope you guys had fun making your character profiles from last week! If you made them, I’d love to read them and see a picture ( if you drew it). You can go the post here and leave a comment.

Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is becoming  more important in the worlds of business, employment, and education. Traditional schools concentrate, enforce, and encourage convergent thinking. Convergent thinking is taking a problem, using resources, skills, and other attributes and arriving at a single conclusion or solution to the problem.

Now, this is fine and a wonderful skill to have. However, not everything has one solution. Some may have 2 or 50. The solution you came up with is, most likely, a good one but perhaps not the best one.

I see this all the time with my students.

When my students play piano or do something musical, they will look for one way to do something. It may be a good way to do something, it may not. When they are asked to find another solution or do it another way…..they shut down.

I got it right so I should be done

No, you got it good…but it could be better. What else could you do?


I can almost hear a robotic power down of their brain.

They have had too much training in convergent thinking. One problem, one solution….is the mantra.

Later in life, their boss will want some divergent ways to market a product, increase sales, or find ways to cut expenses. There won’t be just one answer. This will require out of the box, divergent, creative thinking. So to encourage you here is a classic “problem” in out of the box thinking:

Divergent Thinking Exercise:


Connect all of the dots in the grid. Use just 4 lines but you can’t lift your pencil. So the lines will be connected and straight.

This is a classic and you may already see a solution. This is just to get your brain primed. We will see more of this grid and it will get even more challenging.



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twitter Jarrod home schools his kids in the Treasure Valley of Idaho. He holds two degrees in education, reads a lot, and experiments on his own children with creative education so you don’t have to. Then he reports his thoughts and findings here on the creative dad blog. He is also fond of clipboards.

Creative Genius Monday – Develop Your Character

I almost didn’t get this posted! I have  some cool ideas I wanted to implement at the beginning of the new year but disease has hit our household. I have been out since Christmas! Hope all is well with all of you. In this post, we have another creative prompt. I also review the last prompt about paperclips.  So here goes:

Use Your Creative Genius and Pick Your Character

Develop a character profile/narrative (Back story, environment, abilities, etc) based on one of these character names:

  • Jugglesthorn
  • Grimmfoot
  • Walbox

character narrative

Be inspired by these names, close your eyes, picture your character and begin to write. This is truly a creative writing prompt. This is a great exercise for students and adults alike to get the creative juices flowing around in the brain. Continue reading

Creative Genius

Our Creative Genius

I think all of us at some point have believed or felt that creative genius was limited to a special few. However, the more I research and discover, the less convinced I am of some special birth right, genetic disposition, or special touch on the creative geniuses in the world.

I am more inclined to believe that they withstood current education trends that pummel creativity out of our brains, heart, and culture.

One often hears that if they are going into a creative field, they will never make a living or, even worse: “you can’t be creative in math and science, they are not creative arts.”

So what sets you and I apart from achieving true creative genius?…..

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12 Days of Christmas Piano Songs

Christmas Songs on Piano

Hi Readers,

I wanted to let you in on something I am doing this year. I am making piano tutorials (for players of all levels) of Christmas Songs. So I wanted to let you in on this in case you’ve ever wanted to play the piano or maybe you have a student who would like to give it a shot.

Here are a few already:

Silent Night

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

There will be more on the way with a total of 12 released before Christmas. I hope you enjoy them!


If you want to subscribe to the youtube channel to get all 12 here is the link:



Or you can view the playlist here at this post and it will be updated every time a new video is uploaded:


Merry Christmas!

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post – a.k.a. The Power of Gratitude

[I haven’t been blogging a year yet but I figure the day before Thanksgiving I should probably dust myself off and write my first holiday inspired post.] It seems that science is catching up with religion. There are happiness gurus (positive psychology) like Shawn Achor (saw him on a Ted Talk) and others that study the psychology of happiness and have amazing things to tell us. However, they are some millnneia behind the major religions of the world, especially Christianity. So its official, 5 out of 5 scientists and religious leaders agree (can agreement really happen between those two?!?) that gratitude is a key to happiness. It is interesting that they both don’t say the same thing but rather compliment each other. The Bible tells you what to do and how to do it. The scientists tell you the results and why you’ll be glad you did it.

Tara is a student of mine (I Dragneted her name) that has seen leaps and bounds in term of her performance. She came as a very shy and timid person and she is still that way. She is very quiet and thoughtful in her lessons and after each lesson she is instructed by her parents to thank me for her lesson. This is new to me and it made me reflect on current and past students. Those who quit, those who burn out and cop attitudes of apathy or even arrogance, lack or slowly lose their gratitude. It took me some time to see it but it is a common denominator among them. Perhaps not the only one but a significant one.

Think about it. We see this in our daily lives and especially around this time of year. Black Friday….


I can’t remember when Black Friday became a “thing” but I am pretty sure its been sometime in the past 30 years. We didn’t always have it. We use to stay at home with our families, play outside, watch football, and eat leftovers. Now, however, we wait in line on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday Eve for stores to open at ridiculous hours to sell us junk we don’t really need so we can get a bargain to sooth our greed. Sure you can get stuff at really good deals but don’t you feel like a slave? Don’t you feel like you’re worshiping consumerism and materialism by bowing to the schedule of the retailer?

I have heard tale of stores now opening this year on Thanksgiving to get an earlier jump on Black Friday. This makes me sick. The mob, the majority have made black Friday what it is, a blatant and unapologetic support of obtaining stuff. I bet if you had to work on Thanksgiving you’d raise a little ruckus and fuss, no? Then why go to a retail store, buy their junk, and support them being open on Thanksgiving (or Black Friday for that matter)?


When I was young growing up in the Midwest, we couldn’t even think about shopping or eating out on Sundays because EVERYTHING was closed. Sound foreign? It happened less than 30 years ago. Forget about holidays and black Friday. It was unheard of.

As for me and my house, we are getting back to gratitude. In support of our initiative, we will not be participating in any shopping this holiday weekend. I would rather my family find gratitude with one another, for the needs provided, and for the extra “stuff” they already have. Oooooh….there is a really good sale going on at Cabela’s where I could finally get…NO! Sorry, that was a relapse. I think I did Black Friday once of twice in my life and it just gets into your system.

So back to Tara. I have no solid evidence, as my longitudinal study needs more time, but I am very sure that her attitude of gratitude has led to many musical successes in her short time learning from me. She may be shy and timid but she consistently has some of the best performances every recital. She enjoys playing piano. I think enjoyment and gratitude feed off of each other in a never ending positive psychological cycle. So get hooked on it. And for only $19.99, you can be part of our Attitude with Gratitude sys…..SORRY! It creeps up out of nowhere.

So I guess you could say that gratitude is my 2nd ingredient to academic excellence and life success. Joy and gratitude. How do you incorporate gratitude in your life, education, or homeschool?


[for a bigger rant on Black Friday from a different blogger…click here…fun stuff]

Creative Education News Bulletin

Every once in a while there comes a flood of stuff I am interested in regarding creativity and education. So since this was one of those weeks, I decided to consolidate some of the things that have crossed my email, social networks, and conversations. You’re in for a treat because there have been a lot of eyebrow raising events in education this week.

Let’s start off with a positive.

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Be Radical in Your Learning



Meet Sergio and Paloma. Sergio is a teacher in northern Mexico right up against the border. Paloma joined his class when he decided things needed to change and apparently the students of his class became amazing thinkers and learners after his changes. But what did he do?

I received a Facebook notification from my mom-in-law alerting me to an article in which the headline reads: How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

So without hesitation I opened my browser and read the contents. Even though the writer proposes that he has discovered a trend in education that is radical and may make you a genius, it seems that education, research, psychology, and technology are finally catching up to a form of unschooling.  Sergio didn’t completely convert to the unschooling school of thinking (is that sacrilege?) but used a lot of principles of allowing kids natural curiosity and motivation to guide their learning.

I like divergent methods of education. This article describes several places in the world where self-taught, self-motivated, and self-structured education is occurring and the amazing results. Some of it is unschooling with a high degree of technology involved (internet). However, this method is not limited to technology because it is being implemented in some of the poorest communities in the world with great success.

Now I will admit, I am not completely comfortable with unschooling because I think kids are like electricity or water: they will follow the path of least resistance. Therefore, if they don’t have to study it or if it is too hard, they will forget it. So I think some structure is good but perhaps structuring learning with greater input from the learner will have greater affect on their learning. The article then continues to talk about major players around the world using and testing this method of education.

I took two things away from the article:

1. Freedom and creativity at a young age inspires and leads to genius thinking (read the story of Einstein and Google execs in the article)

2. Greater learning occurs when the learner has the most control.

I learned a method to implement #2 which I will talk about in my next post


What do you think of the article?

How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

A Creative Tech Tool Everyone Can Use

I have been gone for a while on a hunting trip (I just hunted with my camera while the rest hunted for real…I was just the camp cook.) I finally finished the piece of technology that I found a while ago. This is Prezi. It is like Powerpoint on steroids. It gives you more creative control over your content and is snazzier in presenting your information. It doesn’t take a huge learning curve to understand the basics but it will take some practice to make your presentations just stellar cool. Here are my ideas on how you can use it as a homeschooler and even a blogger!