Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 guest is a very busy man. In addition to keeping his popular blog, Happy Birthday Author, he recently celebrated his own birthday. He published two ebooks last month (see info in the bio below) which my son LOVES. He’s about to take up beekeeping (for real). Oh, and he welcomed his fourth child, Kate, into the world just a couple of weeks ago. Are you tired yet? I am! Please welcome Eric Van Raepenbusch.
I was a special education teacher before becoming a stay at home dad, a blogger, and an aspiring children’s book author. Special education teachers are constantly gathering and evaluating information about students to clearly identify their needs. They know their student’s strengths and weaknesses, abilities and deficiencies. They communicate openly with the student and their parents. Measurable goals are established to guide the instruction to obtain academic and social growth.
I enjoyed this structure. I knew exactly where a student was at the beginning of the school year. The measurable goals kept their instruction focused throughout the school year. I knew exactly what my students had accomplished when the school year ended. Seeing growth in a student over the course of the school year was one of the reasons why I loved being a teacher.
In 2011, I participated in my first online challenge; Read to Me Picture Book Reading Challenge hosted by Danielle Smith at There’s a Book. My children and I set the goal to read 200 picture books. I recorded all the books in diary form on my blog each night after reading to them. We reached our goal early on, but kept on reading. At the end of the year, we had accomplished reading 944 unique picture books. It was amazing to look back at all the books we experienced together. It showed me the impact of reading to my children every night.
Near the completion of my reading challenge, I discovered the 12 x 12 in 2012 writing challenge. I thought to myself, “Right now, I have all these ideas for picture books. It would be great if I could end the year with twelve written manuscripts.” I signed up for the challenge to find out the impact of writing consistently over the course of a year. After three months, I now expect to grow as a children’s picture book writer just like many of my students grew academically and socially during a school year. I also, expect to feel the same sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of picture book reading challenge but this time I will be holding twelve picture book manuscripts in my hand.
My fellow 12 x 12ers, we are at the end of the first quarter of this challenge. The accomplishments of the group are piling up and I am excited for what the future holds. Keep working toward your goal. It will be an amazing feeling when the year comes to an end and we can all reflect on our own accomplishments.
Eric Van Raepenbusch is a stay-at-home dad, blogger,and read aloud extraordinaire. He creates memorable reading experiences by celebrating children’s author and illustrator birthdays. His blog, Happy Birthday Author, shares his family’s reading experiences to encourage other families to read together. He has self-published two e-books; Three Ghost Friends: Learn About Colors and Three Ghost Friends: Learn about Opposites. You can learn more about the Three Ghost Friends at http://www.threeghostfriends.com.