Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Hands-on Algebra: Adding and Subtracting Integers

Just as we have used counters to help our students learn addition and subtraction, we can use counters to help them understand addition and subtraction of integers. You will need counters of two different colors, one for positive integers and one for negative integers. We chose green blocks for our positive integers counters and black blocks for our negative integers counters.

The rules for this "game" are as follows:
A zero-pair is formed by pairing one positive counter with one negative counter.

Students can remove or add zero-pair to a set because removing or adding zero does not change the value of the set.

Using these rules, show your student how to use counters to find the sum -3 + (-2).

Place 3 negative counters and 2 negative counters on the mat to symbolize the equation.

Since there are 5 negative counters on the mat, the sum is -5. Therefore, -3 + (-2) = -5. That problem is pretty easy for students to see.

Now, use counters to find the sum -2 + 3.
Place 2 negative counters and 3 positive counters on the mat. Remind your students that it is possible to remove 2 zero-pairs.

Since 1 positive counter remains, the sum is 1. Therefore, -2 + 3 = 1.

Use the counters to find the difference between -4 - (-1).
Place 4 negative counters on the mat. Remove 1 negative counter.
Since 3 negative counters remain, the difference is -3. Therefore, -4 - (-1) = -3.

Use the counters to find the difference between 3 - (-2).
Place 3 positive counters on the mat. There are no negative counters, so you can't remove 2 negatives. 

Add 2 zero-pairs to the mat. Remember, adding zero-pairs does not change the value of the set. Now you can remove 2 negative counters.

Since 5 positive counters remain, the difference is 5. Therefore, 3 - (-2) = 5.

At this point, you can give your student a variety of simple problems that involve adding and subtracting integers, or he can make up some problems of his own. He can solve them using blocks, he can illustrate them in his journal or he can write about how he solved the problems in his math journal.

Hands-on Algebra: The Distributive Property

We have used rectangle tiles to model multiplication. They can also be used to show the Distributive Property of Algebra. 

Use a tile that is about 1 square unit. I am using about a 1-inch square of cardstock. 

Next make an "x" tile by making a unit that is 1 unit wide and as long as you wish. For our purposes, we made it about three or four times as long, but remember that it is "x" units long.

We begin by using the tiles to find the product of 2 (x + 2)The rectangle has a width of 2 units and a length of x + 2 units. We can use our area tiles to mark off the dimensions on a mat, or in this case, a dry-erase board, that will show us the product. Using the marks as a guide, we make the rectangle with the algebra tiles.
The rectangle has 2 x-tiles and 4 1-tiles. The area of the rectangle is x + 1 + 1 + x + 1 + 1 or 2x + 4. Thus, 2(x + 2) = 2x + 4

Now you just need to give your student some practice problems, (or he can even make up some of his own, if he's like.) He can use the tiles and a dry erase board and write the answers in his math journal or he could also solve problems in this way by sketching similar drawings in their math journals.
As a quiz, you could have your student write a paragraph explaining how to find the proof of such problems.

High School Ancient History Lesson 10: Alexander: The Great Man Theory

Note the emphasis on the individual in covering the achievements of the great individual, Alexander.

  • Map of Alexander's Empire

I. Greece following the Peloponnesian War
II. Rise of Macedonia
     A. Philip II
          1. League of Corinth
          2. Persian Wars
     B. Alexander
          1. Building an Empire
III. Hellenistic Age
     A.Greek Culture
          1. Major Developments of the Hellenistic Age
          2. Identity Crisis
               a. Epicurus
               b. Stoics

Food and Culture, Lesson 10: Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders

Lesson 10: Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders

A Filipino Lunch
Chicken Adobo
Steamed Rice Pansit Canton
Halo-halo or Puto

Research Filipino cooking and then choose one typical Filipino dish and describe it. Explain how it conforms to the principles of Filipino cooking. Select one or two ingredients and discuss whether they are due to an influence from another culture and why that might have happened.

List the indigenous foods of the Pacific Islands. Pick two from your list and describe how they might be prepared today, and discuss whether they are considered to have any special dietary or healthful properties.

A Native Hawaiian Dinner
Chicken Lu'au
Poi or Sweet Potatoes
Haupis or Guava Cake
Juice or Coffee 

Processed meats, such as Spam, are common in the Filipino, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander diet. How did this come about? Include in your notes a recipe using Spam.

A Vietnamese Dinner
Asparagus and Crabmeat Soup
Braised Bean Curd or Grilled Beef with Lemongrass
Stir-fried Vegetables
Steamed Rice
Iced Coffee with Evaporated Milk

High School Ancient History Lesson 9: The Rise of Greek Philosophy

Note the major contribution of philosophy, covering Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Complete the following outline using your notes.

I. The Peloponnesian War
I. Greek Philosophy
     A. Sophists
          1. Protagoras of Abdera- man is a measure of all things
          2. Socrates -The Father of Greek Philosophy. Read The Trial of Socrates
          3. Plato
          4. Aristotle Read Ethics

Snapshot Summary: October 2018

October 2018

In October we had weekly meals to supplement our Food and Culture studies.
We made Pemmican as part of our Food and Culture Studies.
We also went out to a Korean-Chinese restaurant...
and liked it so much, we tried to recreate the experience at home.
Katie has been doing well in her ceramics studies...

and made some pretty awesome Halloween decoration pieces, such as these skull candle holders...
 and another skull in various states of decomposition. She really would like to become a forensic facial re-constructionist.
Sam is also doing well. He has applied for an internship for the spring.

We had a good Halloween, although there were much fewer trick-or-treaters this year. James was the only one who dressed up and went around the neighborhood.

James and Quentin have been doing fine in homeschool, although I have nothing hands-on to show you guys.
Eddie had his 22nd birthday this month.
The weather has been pretty beautiful this month...
 and so there have been many trips to the beach.
 Pretty much daily.

How was your October?

Food and Culture, Lesson 9: East Asians

List the countries for each of the following regions: East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia.

Cantonese Dim Sum
Spring Rolls
Shrimp Dumplings
Suite Maichar sui bao
Egg custard tartlets
Jasmine or Chrysanthemum Tea

Visit a Chinese restaurant and as you look at the menu, can you tell which region of China the dishes represent. Why do you think that most Chinese restaurants in the United States cook Cantonese style?

 Lesson 9: East Asians

Research and then summarize what the basic tenets of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are. How might these religions influence Asian food culture?

What are the Staples of the Asian diet?

What are some common foods derived from soy beans?

What are some of the different types of teas from Asia? Describe how they are different, including their taste. If possible, have a taste testing tea time.

A Japanese Family Dinner
Miso Soup
Pickled Cucumber
Steamed Rice
Pickled Ginger, Wasabi and Soy sauce
Sake, Green Tea

How did the Chinese influence the cuisine (and world view) of the Koreans and the Japanese? Provide examples.

Dinner in Korea
Soybean Sprout Soup
Korean Barbecue Beef
Seasoned Tobu or Chrysanthemum Leaf Salad
Seasoned Eggplant
Steamed Rice, Kimchi
Apple Pear
Ginseng Tea

Optionally, make one or more of the dishes from the menus on this page for your family to taste.

High School Ancient History Lesson 8:The Classical Age of Greece

Using art, architecture and sport, note how the individual was again the focus for the Greeks and the attainment of their security.

Complete the following outline using your notes.

I. The Acropolis
     A. Age of Pericles
     B. The Propylaea
     C. Temple of Athena Nike
     D. Parthenon
     E. Erechtheum
     F. The Agora
     G. Temple to Hephaestus
     H. The Stoa
     I. Temples and Theatres
          1. Theatre of Dionysus
          2. Theatre of Atticus
          3. Theatre of Epidarus
          4. Temple to Poseidon
          5. Temple to Apollo
          6. Greek Olympics-religion and sport -Temple to Zeus

Food and Culture: Lesson 8: Caribbean Islanders and South Americans

Lesson 8: Caribbean Islanders and South Americans

A Caribbean Sampler
Hati and Jamaica: Patties
Colombian: Buñuelos de Fríjol de Cabecita Negra (Black-eyed Pea Fritters)
Dominican Republic: Mangu

Select one indigenous food found in the Caribbean. Describe its taste and use in recipes from the region. 

Next select a foreign food that was brought into the region and still commonly consumed. Provide a recipe. 

Which foods are now the staples of the diet? Describe a holiday meal in one Caribbean country plus the specialties of the island.

What are the health problems have become common for people from the Caribbean living in the United States? How could the diet be modified in the treatment of these disorders?

A Puerto Rican Lunch
Beer, Coffee with Milk

High School Ancient History Lesson 7; The Rise of Greek Individualism, part 2

Note the continued emphasis on the individual through the major cultural contribution of Greek drama. Here the play Antigone demonstrated various types of individuals that the Greeks admired.

Greek Drama
Research the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Read Antigone.

Food and Culture; Lesson 7: Mexicans and Central Americans

Lesson 7: Mexicans and Central Americans
A Traditional Oaxacan Comida

Research and then write a comparison/contrast paper on the staple foods of the different regions of Mexico.

A Border Dinner
Fresh Red Salsa and Tortilla Chips

List two regional United States foods that are modifications of Mexican recipes. First, describe the possible origin dish, and then explain how it has been modified.

An Ecuadorian Dinner
Plaintains and Milk

What countries make up Central America? 

A Guatemalan Dinner

Describe the food staples of Central America.

A Brazilian Celebration
Coconut Bread Pudding or Tortellini de Banana
Capirinhas, beer

Do immigrants from Mexico and Central America have any health problems? How may acculturation to the American diet contribute to these health problems?

Optionally, make one or more of the recipes listed here for your family to try.

High School Ancient History Lesson 6; The Rise of Greek Individualism

Note the continued emphasis on the individual, looking at the major city-states of Sparta and Athens and their means of achieving security.

Map activity: City-states of Greece.

Complete the following outline using your notes.

I. Sparta-Experiment in Elitist Communism
     A. Dorian State
     B. Messenia
     C. Lycurgus
II. Athens- Experiment in Democracy
     A. Solon
     B. Cleisthenes
     C. Pericles Read Funeral Oration from Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War.

Food and Culture; Lesson 6: Africans

Lesson 6: Africans

Research the cuisine that West African slaves brought to America and describe it in your notes. Include one American food recipe that has its origins in Africa. What traditional food might be served on Juneteenth?

Optionally, make some or all of a West African meal to serve to your family. Here is some suggestions:

A West African Meal
Ginger Beer or Green Tea with Mint

Research East African traditional cuisine and compare and contrast it to West African cuisine. What countries have influenced East African cuisine.

Ethiopian Dinner

Honey Wine, Ethiopian Coffee

Research the Nigerian child naming ceremony. What foods are used in the ceremony and what do they symbolize?

What is pica? Why does it occur?

What factors of the traditional African American diet contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure?

A Traditional Black Southern Supper

Making Native American Pemmican

Pemmican is a food that was developed by North American Indians, the word coming from the Cree word pimîhkân, which itself is derived from the word pimî, “fat, grease” which refers to the fat that was added to the lean meat from large game, such as buffalo, elk, or moose, in order to keep it together in a cake. The meat that went into the pemmican was sliced and dried in the sun or in the smoke of a fire, then ground into powder using rocks. Often dried fruit such as berries were added to the mixture. The mixture then could provide most, if not all, of the foods and nutrients one needs to survive on long hunting expeditions or just as a mainstay food through the long winters. It was easy to carry, tucked an a leather pouch. Later it was eaten by European explorers to the New World. It was even eaten by the Arctic explorer Vihljamur Stefansson.

We have been studying Native American groups this fall and so we decided that it might be interesting to try our hand at making and eating pemmican, and I will share the recipe with you, so you can try it as well. We found that it was pretty tasty!

We debated a bit on which recipe to try, and ended up settling on a recipe that uses already prepared jerky as the meat ingredient. We did this mainly because we did not want to spend a lot of time on this activity and we had already made our own dried meat before when we studied pirates, so we did not have to duplicate that step this time. 

This recipe calls for suet. You can find food grade suet, called Recipe Ready lard in the refrigerator section of your grocery store.


1/2 lb Jerky 
1 Tab. Brown sugar 
1 oz (2 Tab.) Raisins 
2 oz (4 Tab.) Cranberries 
2 1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) Suet 

Run the dry jerky through a food grinder a few times (we used a blender). In a loaf pan add the cranberries, raisins and brown sugar. When the mixture is well blended, melt the suet and stir it in. Let the suet cool and harden. You can then form it into balls and enjoy!

source: Recipe Source

High School Ancient History Lesson 5: Greece: Emergence from the Tribal State

Note that security is still the major goal or theme for man. The Greeks, however, obtained that goal through a major emphasis on the individual and the unique types of individuals the Greeks admired.

Compare and Contrast: Egyptians and Greeks

Map work: Ancient Aegean

I. Greek Heroes
     A. Myths personified the major ideals that the individual was to aspire to. Originally Greek heroes were warriors.
          1. Myths Research the major gods and their myths.
          2. Heroes: What ideal do each of the characters in The Illiad and the Odyssey represent?
               a. Homer
               b. Achilles
               c. Hector
               d. Odysseus

     B. Myths as History
          1. Henrich Schlirman
          2. Sir Arthur Evans

II. Greek Political Development
     A. Polis: city-state
     B. Dorian Invasion
     C. Archaic Age