Sunday, May 4, 2014


Since communication is kind of a big deal at COMMunication Central, I thought it would be proper to post a link to a broadcast I heard last week on navigating difficult conversations with truth and love.  

Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interview Tim Muelhoff, the author of a new book called, I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love.

There are three parts to the broadcast and I highly recommend listening to all of them - for adults and children alike.

By the way, you can also listen to FamilyLife Today on the radio weekdays at 7:30am and 5:30pm on Faith Talk KDIS 99.5 (if you're in central Arkansas).  My oldest children (ages 9 & 4) also enjoy listening to Adventures in Odyssey at 7:30pm - it's a great "wind down" time.  The kids lay on the bed and listen, mesmerized.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FREE:: Opra in the Rock

Opera in the Rock is performing at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library on Saturday, May 17 at 2pm.

My neighbor, who plays piano professionally wrote me:

"It is a free event, and we will be performing a few scenes from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel and Massenet's Cinderella, both in English. I believe the program will be under an hour, and it should be fun! Feel free to invite anyone that might enjoy this event!"


Friday, February 21, 2014

Fun for the Weekend

Using my best cheerleader/game-show-host voice, I hopped on the mini-bus full of strangers and asked, "Who's super pumped to be going to the Garden Show?!"  They looked at me like I was from Mars.  

One lady, in her retirement years said dryly, "You don't get out much, do you?"

I don't.  And even more infrequently is getting out without three kids in tow.

I love going to the Arkansas Garden and Flower Show.  There's a little something for everyone.  (Kids get in free.) It's not just live flowers and garden tools.  You'll find power tools, sweets, wine and soaps there as well.  Every year I learn something new.  My favorite is probably the UofA Extension booth where I feasted upon how to grow edible mushrooms and seeing aquaponics in action.

One surprise for me today was finding praying mantis egg sacks for sale.  I've done zero research on them (but will in coming days since I'm now the owner of some.) 
 It's a mom & pop kind of company plus their 20 year old daughter doing social media for them.
I could have talked to the owners for hours (he started bug collecting as a kid) but I had lots of other things to see in the short time I'd hired a baby-sitter.
After all, I don't get out much.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Math (Competition) for Homeschooled Boys

Doing mental math *well* is a high priority for our homeschool (& I've let it slip in 2013 - "The Year of Baby Schaeffer.")  At the beginning of the week we were really struggling to meet the times in these exercises.  I've posted a picture of one below. However, in a few days we have seen great improvements. BIG GAINS. 

As a result of doing timed math drills, I have learned a few lessons that I want to document here.

1.  As a homeschooling mom (i.e. noncompetitive girl), I often fail to remember how important competition is for my son. The timer is a great competitor.  After all, as educators, we want our children to really push themselves against their own personal best, right

I put a post it note on each exercise and wrote his times down each day.  When we were starting out, sometimes I would just stop at 3 minutes because I could tell he was fatigued and frustrated then marked how far we got in that time.  We would strive for more problems in three minutes the next time.

2. Like real life competitions, cheerleaders can be game-changing element.  We've all been in those intense, tie-ballgame arenas when the fans are going crazy.  The excitement level is palatable.  Everyone is standing, shouting, clapping.  What kind of athlete could resist doing their best in that atmosphere? I must be the cheerleader when he is (we are?) discouraged. I'm sure this is true for girls too but my daughter is still in the fun stages of preschool.  

When I am the cheerleader, it helps to ensure the math-attitude stays positive… on at least half the team.  Honestly at the beginning of the week I was terribly discouraged about the status of our math facts.  But then I realized that my negativity wasn't helping anyone.  

I have to believe for him.  Believe the best in him.  Cheer him on towards the goal.  When I am cheering him on, it is a win-win for us both. PSSST:: I've also been known to "fake it till we make it."

So, Momma…get out there and cheer on your children!  You can do it!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

FREE Informational Meeting for Parents of Struggling Learners - please share

Since receiving my second NeuroNet certification right before Christmas, I am more excited than ever about being able to offer these programs to struggling learners!  This meeting is especially for homeschool families, but I provide services to children in a variety of educational situations so any interested parents are very welcomed.  Please forward and share this information.  Thank you!
--Lisa Lipe

FREE Informational Meeting for Parents of Struggling Learners

What: Learn about NeuroNet programs and meet Lisa 
When: Saturday, January 18, 10-11am (participants are welcome to stay later to ask questions)
(Home-based business at 17 Warwick Rd., Little Rock AR  72205)
Presenter: Lisa Lipe, M.Ed., Certified NeuroNet Provider, Private Educator of struggling learners, and "almost-finished" home school mom Open-mouthed smile To find out more about Lisa click here.
**If you would like to come, RSVP to with the number of people who will be with you.  (No children please, unless nursing.)

What is NeuroNet?
NeuroNet is a movement-based brain-training program which  can be implemented at home in about 20 minutes per day to help children improve motor skills, language skills, and information processing. Automation of these foundational skills facilitates fluency in reading decoding, handwriting and math fact retrieval which makes all future learning easier.  

Who can benefit?
·         auditory processing disorders
    • doesn't overhear and jump into conversations (often strikingly absent)
    • frequently asks "what?" or needs repetition of questions and directions
    • auditory misperceptions (hears "cookie" for "cooking"; "hoot" for "hoop" etc.)
·         dyspraxia or apraxia of speech
·         developmental delays
·         ADD and ADHD
·         balance disorders
·         developmental vision disorders
·         high functioning autism
·         overly fearful, or excessive risk-taker
·         constant motion - self-distracted
·         clumsy
·         messy eater; difficulty with cutting, tying shoes
·         handwriting challenges (dysgraphia)
·         history of ear infections, asthma, allergies or other respiratory illnesses
·         late talking
·         articulation problem: some speech sounds still incorrect or unclear
·         difficulty learning verbal sequences such as months of year, alphabet
·         minimal interest in books or reading-readiness activities (dyslexia)

NeuroNet programs offered:
·         Integrated Rhythms
·         Tools for Learning
Find out more about NeuroNet programs at

Thursday, December 12, 2013

More Math Games

Raise your hand if you like doing math in your jammies.  Ahem.

Today's math was a variation on the Around the Circle addition game.  I taped numbers to the floor and we practiced multiplication facts.  He hoped, skipped, stepped his way through twenty minutes of drills.  Well, maybe more like 15 but it seemed like 20.  Just sayin'.
At one point my son wanted to make up his own games with the numbers on the floor.  I followed along.  Hey, as long as we're thinking about numbers, it's progress, right?
His favorite was "Twister Math."  I would call out a sum and his body parts would touch numbers that added up to that sum.

 The baby enjoyed refining his pincer grasp cleaning up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Competitive Math Games (without batteries)

Even though Comm. Central is on Christmas break, the Majors are still doing math, handwriting and a few other fun things. Complaining to my husband that I wanted our son to work harder in math, my dear man said, "Can you figure out a way to make it feel like a competition to him?"   I am not a competitive soul - I don't understand the need for competition.  I'm here to tell you this worked for us.

Draw a huge circle, put numbers around it and one inside (see below).  Then add around the circle.  For example, 7+18=25, 7+12 =19, etc. Time yourself and try to be faster each time.  I gave him a minute each round.  Then put a different number in the center.  I think this will work too for subtraction, multiplication or division.  Today we only worked on addition.
Once he finished going around the circle, I told him how many seconds remained.  For even more math, he told me how many seconds it took him to complete the task.  We did it again to see if he could beat his time.  (On more than one occasion, he lost several seconds arguing with me about the correct answer…)  Below is the tally sheet.  You can see after the third try on his 8s he was fatigued, taking over a minute to complete the circle.  I had him to (change speeds) write three words in cursive then back to math.   This proved to be enough of a distraction to make it the best round of 8s.  I didn't want to end on a frustrating note.
The idea for this game came from Strayer Upton Practical Arithmetics, book one (originally published in 1934).  We've borrowed books one and two from a friend and my understanding is book one is for third grade and book two is for fourth.  I really like their emphasis on figuring in your head and the many, many, many practical word problems.
 Here is another addition game.
 I'd love to hear your ideas for making math competitive - or at least fun.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Reformation Trivia

My husband turns 40 this year.  His birthday is near Halloween and for several years he has talked of throwing a "Reformation Day" Party.  Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenburg on October 31, 1517. (Cue Munsters theme song - thank you Comm. Central memory songs!)

This year we're making it happen.  It's an adult-only Reformation-education style party.  He's dressing as Monk Martin and I'm his bride, Katie, a former nun.

Today I was researching a bit for the party and decided it would be beneficial if I read through the 95 Theses.

Near the end of the document, #92, caught my attention: Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace.

The phrase "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace rang in my ears.  I could hear the voice of my son reciting memory work from Comm. Central but I couldn't remember which piece it was.  I asked omniscient Google who told me it is actually from the Bible, in Jeremiah 6:14 & 8:11.

But we haven't memorized that passage from Jeremiah.  Where was it from?!!

Anyone remember?

See if this jogs your memory:

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace ­ but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

The question remains, "Was Patrick Henry quoting Jeremiah or Luther?"

I suppose it doesn't really matter, I just thought it was cool to make the connection.  Without Comm. Central, I would not have been able to put the two together.

Happy to see fruit of my labor,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kon-Tiki {rafting adventure across the Pacific}

My husband read this book review on Kon-Tiki then reserved a copy of it from the library.

It's a true story of how six men traveled 2,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in 1947 on a raft made of balsa wood to prove a theory that Polynesians migrated from Peru.

I was hooked after reading this paragraph from the reviewer:

Kon-Tiki is not a monotonous log or diary of a voyage; it is an amazing adventure. It is not a typical living geography book, though it does describe in vivid detail the people and terrain of Peru, the ocean currents, the South Pacific islands and their respective inhabitants and culture. It encompasses a vast array of other subjects: history for one, with its interesting description of the world after World War II, the technology, industry, and interests of the young men who survived the brutal realities of that war; worthy literature, as Heyerdahl masterfully employs excellent language to tell his tale with admirable literary flair; anthropology, as he enthusiastically justifies his pet project to prove a theory about the relationship of the Peruvian Indians to the Polynesians is contagious enough to awaken interest in that field; even government as he negotiates and pulls strings to get the project underway.

Because I am a mother of two boys, I'm thinking of buying a copy of this book for them to read again and again.  You can buy a mass-market paperback for $5.  I'm not an expert at gauging reading levels, but I would put this one on a high-school level.  For my fourth-grader, I will pick passages for him to read - specifically surrounding the crew's observations of marine life.  Already I have read several passages to him aloud.  It's not that the story line or words would be too hard for him to read, I think he would be lost on some of the details (that I find engaging!)

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch a one-hour documentary [from 1950] free. In 2013, Hollywood made another version.  I've not seen either because I want to finish the book first.

What books are you reading?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lego Robotics 6 week course

*If interested, contact Heather, ASAP*

Engineering for Kids Homeschool Class
Ages 8-14
Fridays 8-9:30 at The Bible Church of Little Rock October 4, 11, 18 and November 1, 8, 15
Cost is $125 per student with small discount for additional siblings.

This is a 6 week course in Robotics using Lego robots and learning how to design, construct and program the robots.

Cash or check due at first class. Please sign up by calling Heather Muckleroy at 817-694-2828 or email her at

Deadline to sign up is Monday, September 30, 2013.  Hurry!