Category: Uncategorized

Teaching & learning with the cat in the hat

Sadly, my Hebrew skills are quite subpar, despite the fact that it was my first language as a baby. And yet, for years I did not take the time to re-learn. Only now with the desire to teach my own kids Hebrew am I actually putting in the effort and learning the language once again.

The beauty is that teaching forces me to fully understand a topic, inside & out, backwards & forwards. Plus, there’s a pretty good chance that my student will appreciate the new knowledge, even if it isn’t for many years :).

Another benefit of teaching Amina Hebrew with the Cat in the Hat book is that we are both already familiar with the story. It doesn’t have to be an exact translation for us to get a sense of what the Hebrew words mean.

One example of how I make things familiar for my Excel clients is by offering curriculum customization in my training programs. I receive sample spreadsheets from the client, create my own mock data (without any sensitive information), and use it in the hands-on exercises during the training program.

If you’d like to learn more about how I can customize curriculum for an Excel training program at your organization, I’m only a comment or a message away.

#learnbyteaching #bilingual #makeiteasyforthem #catinthehat #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Hallway learning opportunities

Never could I have predicted that my kids would actually REQUEST that we go into the hallway of our building and look at apartment numbers. What started out as a rainy day activity, has somehow turned into one of my kids’ favorite things to do.

I believe the main reason they aren’t bored is that each time I approach the activity from a slightly different angle. For example, after mastering apartment numbers, I started teaching new words like light, heater, windows, vents, and most recently door knobs, locks, peep holes, and doorbells.

I am always trying to push the envelope and keep Amina engaged and challenged. Barak is only 15 months at this point so everything is new and exciting regardless :).

Part of why I love teaching Excel is because no two students learn exactly the same way. To be effective, I cannot simply teach the same material in the same way over and over again.

Instead, I need to find a perfect teaching harmony of speed and difficulty level. In other words, teaching at the right pace/timing, and at a level of difficulty that is not too advanced or too basic.

It’s no accident that all of my live training programs consist of hands-on exercises that students can complete at their own pace. In addition, the level of difficulty increases as they progress through the exercises, with a challenging & optional bonus exercise at the end.

At the end of the day, students will get out of the training whatever they put in, but at least there are learning opportunities everywhere, and mechanisms in place for them to find their perfect learning harmony of speed and difficulty level.

When was the last time you had an “ah-ha” moment, perhaps in an unexpected place? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

#alwayslearning #applyyourself #keepitinteresting #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Plan on adjusting your plan

I had all kinds of plans for my kids this morning – we were going to visit the library, have some outdoor time at a nearby playground, and then meet up with my wife a little bit later.

Then reality kicked in – my son Barak fell asleep in the car before we got to the library, and 20 min later, my daughter Amina also fell asleep.

Instead of rigidly sticking to my original plan, and waking them up prematurely, which would have cast a storm cloud of crankiness on the rest of the day, I adjusted course. I let them both sleep in the car, picked up my wife, and we got lunch earlier than originally predicted.

The best part is that from my kids’ perspectives, everything was seamless and highly enjoyable. They will never know the adjustments what took place behind the scenes.

As far as I’m concerned, that is how it should be in parenting, just as in any Excel project. No amount of planning in Excel will take into account every possible scenario, so I have learned over the years to roll with the punches and adapt as needed.

Fortunately Excel is one of the most agile and powerful programs ever made, and with the right foundation of skills, it is fairly easy to make adjustments as you go to any project you are working on.

Looking some guidance on how to better roll with the punches? I can help with that! Leave a comment with “roll with the punches” and I’ll have my people call your people.

#dynamicworld #flexibility #frazzlefreezone #parentwisdom #excelagility #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Authoritative compliance

On the way to the park Amina was back seat driving (from her stroller of course), telling me “don’t go that way.” She wanted a longer and busier route, instead of my calm & quiet route that I preferred.

Instead of getting irritated and saying “no,” or even worse: “no because I said so,” I said “sure, let’s do it.”

The important thing was that we get some outdoor time at the park, not which route we took to get there.

I think it’s critical for me to let my kids experience those decision making moments to promote independence and leadership. After all, we only changed our route because Amina explicitly requested it.

The lesson for her is that when she speaks, I hear her, and what’s more, she has the power to create a different experience for herself, and others around her. In other words, her voice matters.

Pretty big win in her developmental journey if you ask me.

A similar scenario unfolded with a recent Excel corporate training client. I was teaching a 2 hour workshop with over 50 participants at a fairly prestigious brand, and before the workshop began they requested that I use a virtual background that they provided.

Sure, that was a no brainer to comply, and it didn’t cost me anything.

Another request that came in the middle of the workshop was to change the session format, slow down the pace, and spend more time walking through the hands-on exercises.

This request could have easily derailed my plan for the session, but fortunately I have been teaching for over 13 years, and I made the adjustment instantly and seamlessly (if I do say so myself).

At the end of the workshop they said “you knocked it out of the park” and they specifically mentioned how much they appreciated both the virtual background and the adjusted pace of instruction.

Bottom line is that I am still very much in the driver’s seat with my children, and with my clients, and knowing when and how to adjust course, upon request, will create instant and long-lasting wins for all parties involved.

#ihearyou #yourvoicematters #littlewinsbigimpact #authoritativecompliance #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove

Non-glamorous pre-walking skills

Even though my 10 month old son Barak has not yet taken his first steps, I am super excited.


Because this isn’t my first rodeo – I have witnessed firsthand the evolution of how his older sister Amina started walking.

Take for example, the fundamental skills that Barak has been working on diligently these past 10 months:

  1. Strengthening and leveraging the muscles in his legs and the rest of his body.
  2. Understanding the environment around him and how he can interact with it.
  3. Improving his balance.

Granted, his balance is still not quite there but once it is, it won’t be long before he takes his first steps unassisted. He may even surprise himself at how “suddenly” walking became possible for him.

But it’s not magic, and it’s anything but sudden. He has been working behind the scenes for 10 months.

So how does this all relate to Excel?

I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there are 3 fundamental skills in Excel that you must learn & master before you can truly leverage the more exciting and advanced topics:

  1. Navigation
  2. Formatting
  3. Formulas

Even though it may not be exciting, these are the necessary and non-glamorous pre-walking skills in Excel.

Fortunately, I teach a 3 part course on exactly those topics.

To find out more, reply with the words “pre-walking skills” and we’ll take it from there.

#nonglamorous #behindthescenes #buildingblocks #parentwisdom #excelwell #sharetheexcellove