Month: September 2016

If You’re Out of Schlitz, You’re Out of Beer.

As one Ph. D. of mathematics describes Harold Jacobs’ Geometry, “The applications to “real life” are the most realistic and compelling that I have seen anywhere. I keep finding things that I didn’t know, and ways of looking at geometry problems that I hadn’t considered.”

Today’s Geometry lesson was on conditional statements, and one of the statements was the Schlitz Beer slogan, ‘If you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer’. For some reason it seemed too completely ridiculous not to post. How many high school math texts use a beer ad to teach deductive reasoning? Ah, the joys of choosing your own books. I do love how Jacobs uses the most obscure areas of life as opportunities to teach, even if it includes Schlitz.jacobs_crosscut_areas

One of my favorite new {to me} curriculum authors and educational resources, Bernard J. Nebel, strongly advocates the connection between real world objects and math. His position is that arbitrary math facts are meaningless to younger children, and simply memorizing tables isn’t enough to actually understand what is happening mathematically. Using familiar items to represent the numbers in equations instantly gives students something to connect what they already know, to what they are learning. This, in turn, gives them a strong foundation to build a system of understanding that will last their whole lives. When I was looking through books for Elvis and Axel this year, it was a priority to choose texts that consistently reflected this approach. The Strayer Upton Practical Arithmetic Series, as well as Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic both use word problems that incorperate real world objects, and we have enjoyed using them so far this year!


As a plus, today’s Geometry lesson was returned to me with such wonderful handwriting, it was a joy to grade! Years of tears over penmanship have paid off it seems, so we are launching into a few more painful years with the younger kids, knowing it will be worth it in 5-7 more grades.


One thing that should help with penmanship, is fancy pens. We found these Japanese import Pilot Hi-Tec Maica pens at a good price, and they have been a hit! Everyone wants to write neatly with them, and having ‘just for school’ pens is a treat!


We also ordered these fancy notebooks, for the older two boys who will be using them for note taking in all subjects. Vegas is already in the habit of note taking, but this will be Elvis’s first year really working at it. It may be a slow road, but it will be a rewarding undertaking in the grand scheme of things.


Nebel’s Elementary Education strongly suggests a high quality, hardback notebook for note taking. This notebook should ideally include numbered pages and a table of contents…The Leuchtterm 1917 notebooks fit the bill perfectly!download

For September, we are studying one of  Jan Van Kessel’s pieces, and looking at illustration through the eyes of a scientist in Art & Science.


Our new friend ‘Fiona’ is proving to be a terribly fascinating pet, and object of study. She will totally shred any insect in her jar, without hesitation, and is extremely aware of what is going on around her. She watches us out of her jar, pivoting her head and fixing us with a creepy stare. We have been drawing her, and will incorperate her into our own Van Kessel piece.


I could go on, but then this post would be long and horrible. More pictures and updates will follow, although it may be a few days, since we are headed to the hospital in the early morning tomorrow for an induction, and if all goes well, should be home friday with another little Harmon. 🙂

Changing sheets and mending stuffed animals, hanging pictures and organizing random pen jars, Shelley


While the Boys are Away…

The first few days of this week were a little different around here, mostly because all the ‘men’ were away on the annual ‘men’s camping trip’. Meri and I had movie night, ate too much popcorn, and worked on a giant baby to-do list. Although we didn’t really make a dent in the list, we did get many things done, and had fun doing them. I finally repainted our bedroom, and hung up some art. We built the co-sleeper and put a headboard on the bed. bedroomAmerica was a huge help in organizing all the baby clothes by type, which is wonderful because up until now they have all just been jumbled into the wardrobe with no rhyme or reason. We packed the baby’s hospital bag, as well as mine! wardrobeThe big news is that we are scheduled for an induction on September 8th, one week from today. I am truly hoping that she just decides she is done ‘cooking’ before that, since the idea of being induced is something that I do not relish. At least I know that it won’t take longer than one more week, which is a comfort because all of a sudden, everything hurts and is exhausting. mantisWe caught a praying mantis for the boys to examine after camping. He is gigantic, and seems fairly angry, but at the same time, he is fascinating. Our first Art & Science lesson is on insect anatomy, and the ‘scientist as illustrator’, so the timing is perfect!meri ice creamMeri and I also exercised some of our most important skills in the kitchen, and made ice cream.

Our book orders have been rolling in, and I have been typing syllabuses like a madwoman. I think there are only one or two left to complete, and then I can just sit back and fill in my teacher’s plan book with a cup of coffee!

Today was the first day that the end of summer seemed like it was getting closer, although I still haven’t smelled an autumn morning yet. I’ll believe it when it gets here. Until then, it’s shorts, and swimming, ice cream and sprinklers…after our studies of course!

Hanging up our pull down map, Shelley