Doodle photo by Nemo/Pixabay
Doodle photo by Nemo/Pixabay


I haven't posted a writing exercise in quite some time, and being that I'm doing lots and lots of writing during this grand month of "National Picture Book Month", an idea struck me. During November, I am participating in PiBoIdMo over at Tara Lazar's website.  Among authors and editors who are contributing posts to Tara's blog during the month, there are also illustrators.  It's through those posts and others that I have formed this idea.


Yep, that's right.  Doodle.

What exactly is doodling, you may ask?  Perhaps you've never been bored in class?  According to Wikipedia, a doodle is  "an unfocused or unconscious drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be abstract shapes."

Allow yourself or your child to just doodle away....maybe five minutes, maybe twenty. Or maybe just doodle all day amidst doing other activities.  Just pick up a pencil and a nice clean sheet of paper and doodle, doodle, DOODLE.  Draw a cat, a dog, a purple hippopotamus.  Draw a tree, a mountain, a brown chair broken to pieces.  Just doodle whatever comes to mind. And don't worry about whether it LOOKS like a cat or dog or purple hippopotamus or whatever it is that you are 'drawing'....because this doodle is just for YOU.  It's not for art class, it's not for your family, it's not for anyone but you and your imagination.

Now....sit back and look.

What did you draw?  Shhh!  Don't tell....it's just for you, remember?

Is it a person?  An animal?  An object?  Take some time to look it over.  You may not have completed the doodle.  Where is this person, animal or object?  In the woods?  The kitchen? Africa?  No, you don't HAVE to doodle that, but hey -  if the mood strikes, go for it!  But think:   ask yourself questions about it, or-  ohhh....wait!  Ask the picture!


Yes, I said, "Ask the picture".  You do know that writing takes imagination, right?  Not 'crazy' - just imagination.

Photo by Nemo/Pixabay
Photo by Nemo/Pixabay

If that picture could talk, what would it say?  Ask it.  "What are you doing today?  How are you?  Why are you laughing?  Why is your leg all twisted?  How did you get those spots?"  I can't help you too much with those questions because I can't see what you doodled....  but go ahead, have a conversation with your doodle.  It's okay, I won't tell anyone.... go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay?  Now write your story.  And don't hesitate to go back and ask your doodle some more questions when you get stuck. It may want you to add some more details.  It may want you to doodle another scene in the story. That's okay- whatever works to create that great story.

One more thing!  DON'T hesitate to STOP.  Yeah, it's okay.  You don't have to crank out a doodle and a great story all in the same sitting, or even two sittings.  Think about it for a while.  Some of the greatest stories are created not at a desk, but on walks, drives, or in the shower.  Take some time to think about your characters, your setting and most of all - what's the story ABOUT?  Without really thinking about those things, you'll get stuck.  So it's okay to pause or even completely stop for  awhile and really think things through before committing to pen and paper.

Enjoy the process.  It's fun!

And do come back and tell me later of your success!


While many parents are aware of this book, especially homeschool parents, some are not...so I decided today to do a review of this eloquent book to be sure that all of my readers have the opportunity to read and delight in its contents!

Title: A Child's Garden of Verses         

A Child's Garden of Verses
A Child's Garden of Verses

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Genre: Poetry
Pages: 104
Ages: 3-8
(and above!!!)
Publisher: Various - My edition is by Grosset & Dunlap; I believe the most recent publisher is Sterling.

Why Did I Choose It?  This book has been a favorite of mine since childhood.  It is the first collection of poems I had and I still have the original book that was given to me as I was entering second grade. It is on countless lists of recommended books for homeschooling, especially for those using the Classical Method or the Charlotte Mason Method as well as many other recommended book lists.  It is a must have for all children's bookshelves!
Review: The sixty-one poems in this book are ageless and present an enchanting look at childhood, written by master poet Robert Louis Stevenson. Subjects covered include going to bed 'early' in summer, swinging, shadows, sailing boats down a river and all that you can see when sailing off into a child's imagination.  Even a young child can enjoy the lovely illustrations (I prefer those by GYO FUJIKAWA but others are delightful as well) and wpid-img_20140506_100149_368.jpggather thoughts behind the poems of this insightful poet.  My own 4-year-old, just the other day, recited part of my favorite poem " Bed In Summer"...the poem I used before daylight savings time to discuss with him that sometimes he would have to go to bed when it seemed like it was still daytime.  When he whines about the sun still being up in the sky, we get out the book and read the poem again - leading him to laughter instead of tears. The language is beautiful.  The content is easy to understand for the child but also offers challenging vocabulary to build their comprehension skills. We try to sit down and enjoy several poems a week. Again, it is a must have for all children!
Other Books By This Author:  Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Underwoods, and other various books, novels and short story and poetry collections for various ages



I think the most important aspect of education is quality books.  And by quality books, I mean LIVING BOOKS.  So...what is a 'living book'?

                Thank goodness I was never sent to school...Beatrix Potter quote at DailyLearners.com

Living books are those books which make the subject 'come alive'.  They are generally written by one person, versus a textbook written by several authors.  The book reaches out and pulls you in.  It's a book that makes you feel that you are there with the characters.  They are generally written in a narrative style rather than a dry style of writing typically found in most textbooks which usually only present facts in a summary type form. With the right sources, you can find living books that cover most school subjects  -  even math!!

In our homeschooling years, I have tried to use Living Books whenever possible.  Now that I am researching the Charlotte Mason method to use with my toddler, I have found a plethora of sources and would like to share them with you!

Source List for Living Books:

All Through The Ages

The Ambleside Online Curriculum

Beautiful Feet

Books of Wonder

CM Bookfinder

Five In A Row

Greenleaf Press

A Literary Education

Honey For A Child's Heart

Living Books Curriculum

Newberry Medal and Honor Books


Charlotte Mason teaches that you are to select books that will cultivate your child's taste for good literature and words fitly spoken.  A quality book will cultivate imagination and nourish their mind. Charlotte Mason homeschoolers do not usually spend their time using books consisting of 'twaddle'(nonsense or 'dumbed-down' literature).  I don't,however, think an occasional book that is not categorized under high quality literature is a waste.  As long as it isn't the only type of book your child will read, it's not against your morals or values, and it leads your child to reading, then it is a book worth it's price!  Happy Reading!


"A Rhyme is something without which I would probably be in the dry-cleaning business."  ~ Theodor Geisel

Indeed, one wonders if we didn't have the talents that God gave to us, where would we be?

Maybe I should have saved this post for March.  That is, after all, the birthdate of this brilliant man.  Have you heard of the name Theodor Geisel?  How about Theo Lesieg?  If you don't know him by those two names, then perhaps Rosetta Stone or perhaps the name  Dr. Theophrastus Seuss which he used in college may at least ring a bell... for  surely you know him by his most popular pen name, Dr. Seuss.  If you haven't heard of Dr. Seuss....well... you need to go buy some books!

Dr. Seuss published 46 children's books for which he is well-known for.  His first published book was actually And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street though he is probably best known for The Cat in the Hat, a book that he wrote when given a list of 348 words that every six-year-old should know. The book contains 236 of the words from that list... this was no small feat. This accomplishment took talent....and several ideas which he ended up scraping!  This book is a wonderful beginner book - a book that I used myself in my classroom as a teaching tool for learning support children when I taught in the public schools and will no doubt use with my toddler one day soon!  He already loves the story!

Ruth K MacDonald, an author,  claims that without The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss would not have been the acclaimed, well-known author that he is today.  Perhaps, but I sort of doubt that.  My personal opinion is that yes, The Cat in the Hat does seem to be his most popular book, but Dr. Seuss  has many, many popular books.  Theodore Geisel wrote most of his books in a poetic meter termed anapestic tetrameter which was used by many poets and is often suggested as one of the main reasons Geisel's writing was so well embraced by children and their parents.  Indeed, in the quote above, Geisel knew how much he relied on his ability to use rhyme!

Rhyme was truly a talent of his...as was his vivid imagination.  And vivid imaginations is important for any writer.  without imagination, we have no business even attempting the field!  One does need a skill or talent in any area one decides to perform or take part in.

My dear daughter is majoring in criminology.  Whether she sticks with the major or not is to be determined... so far so good!  It is a major that fits her.  She has always had the curious mind to know what makes things tick.  What makes people do the things they do?  Why do people stray from the rules?  In her elementary years in the public school, she often got into trouble for reporting on what others were doing which was not according to the rule book!  I wonder what her teacher, Mrs. Wilson, would say to know that she is now a criminology major?  My point is, whether your talent is rhyme, observing others and details, math, environmental awareness, cooking or educating, then that is what should lead you in life.  That is the skill God gave you to make use of.  Your choice in life should lead you to say.  "Without this ___________, where would I be?"

Dr. Seuss said he'd be in the dry-cleaning business.  Something he would obviously find dull and not as uplifting.  Where are you today?  Immersed in the rhyme of a field that uplifts you?  Or are you stuck doing someone else's dry cleaning?  Everyone's story is different.... but if you are finding yourself stuck... is there a way out?  There usually is, though harder for some than others.  But why do dry-cleaning just because it puts dinner on the table if you can do the same thing and use the talents that God gave you?  Just some thoughts for this Saturday....  and here's a few more;)

Random Thoughts For Saturday:

  • A person is a person no matter how small.  ~ Dr. Seuss in Horton Hears A Who
  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  ~ Abraham Lincoln
  • Snow is cold.      I know - you already knew that.
  • Getting daily sunshine is more important than most people realize. 10-20 minutes out in the natural sunshine without sunblock should be part of your daily routine (I'm trying to work on that one myself...)
  • I believe blocks, or any type of building toys,  are the most brilliantly creative toy a child can possess-  it is amazing what a creative mind can do with blocks!
  • Students who read widely and frequently are higher achievers than students who read rarely and narrowly.
  • Ketchup is supposed to be a condiment, not the main course.
  • Those moments of challenge that we are offered whereby we do NOT become unglued are moments of grace offered to us by our Lord to show us that we CAN choice to be merciful and calm... Becoming unglued is something we CAN overcome.
  • Rhyme is awesome!