Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Author Review: Irving and Ruth Adler

I've had a personal website now for about five years. We used it to share book lists of our favorite authors and series and to sell my own books that I wrote. Now that I sell them on CurrClick I'm thinking about closing the website and moving everything to this blog. There's quite a bit of info over there so it's going to take awhile. Here's my first entry:

Irving Adler(April 27, 1913 - )
Ruth Adler (April 20, 1915 - March 30, 1968)

"Writing books is like eating peanuts. As soon as you finish one, you start on another." --Irving Adler
Irving Adler was born in New York City on April 27, 1913. He was the third out of five children in his family. He went to the New York public schools and graduated from City College in 1931, with a bachelor of science degree. He began his graduate work at Columbia University that fall, taking time off from school to teach when his funds ran low. He was also supporting his family during these depression years since his father was unemployed.

While a graduate student he met Ruth Relis, a seventeen-year-old sophomore attending Barnard College. Ruth was born on a farm in New York and went to a one-room schoolhouse when she was young. She was sent to college in New York City when she was 16. They were married in 1935, one day before Ruth received her college degree.
Adler was a mathematics professor at Columbia University and Bennington College, and at one time was the head of the mathematics department of a New York City high school. In 1937 he took a course in atomic structure at Columbia University. He says of this course, "This course planted in my head... that the main ideas that physicists have put together in their theories of atomic structure are so simple that it should be possible to explain them to children... By this time there was a full-grown book in my head clamoring to be let out to explain to children how we learn about small things like atoms and big things like stars." So, he wrote the book that was clamoring to get out of his head. Later it was divided into two books, The Secret of Light and The Stars: Steppingstones Into Space.

At first Ruth illustrated the books that Irving wrote. Later she helped selected subjects, discussed outlines, and read and critiqued everything he wrote. When they began the Reason Why books, she began writing whole books herself. There are 30 books in this series, Ruth wrote 23 and illustrated almost all of them.

Writing allowed Adler more time for his studies than teaching and he received his PhD in pure mathematics in October 1961. Mrs. Adler also returned to graduate school after their children were in school and received a master of arts degree in 1959.

Together they have written more than fifty books about science and mathematics. Their books have been printed in 13 languages! Dr. Adler also wrote seven books under the pen name Robert Irving.

I also thought it interesting that one of their children became a theoretical physicist and the other became an author and illustrator!

Ruth became very ill in 1968. When she became too weak to write to her friend, Joyce, in South America, Irving would write letters for her. After Ruth's death, he continued to write to Joyce. They later became good friends and eventually married.

"The Adlers have an unfailing ability to get at the heart of science and express great truths in simple, direct prose." - Horn Book

List of titles by Irving Adler:

The Reason Why Series, published by The John Day Company, New York in the 1960s. Science books for young readers that show basic principles at work in this fascinating universe, explaining them with imagination and clarity.:
Earth's Crust, The
Insects and Plants
Irrigation: Changing Deserts to Gardens
Numbers Old and New
Numerals: New Dresses for Old Numbers
Story of a Nail, The, c1961
Things That Spin: From Tops to Atoms
Why? A Book of Reasons
Why and How? A Second Book of Reasons
Your Ears
Your Eyes
Books for Older Readers by Irving Adler:
Color in Your Life
Elementary Mathematics of the Atom
Fire in Your Life
Hot and Cold
How Life Began
Inside the Nucleus
Logic for Beginners
Magic House of Numbers
Man-Made Moons
Monkey Business: Hoaxes in the Name of Science
New Look at Arithmetic, A
New Mathematics, The
Probability and Statistics for Every Man
Secret of Light, The
Seeing the Earth From Space
Stars, The: Stepping Stones Into Space
Sun and Its Family, The
Thinking Machines
Time in Your Life
Tools in Your Life
Tools of Science, The
Weather in Your Life
What we Want of Our Schools

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Craft Day!

Wondering what to do this summer?  Have a craft day.  

When my girls were little (and even now) we had craft boxes.  Cheap Rubbermaid-style boxes we got from Wal-Mart.  We filled one with all our painting supplies, one with Play Dough & clay, another with beads and elastic, one with papers and scissors, etc.  They grew and changed as the girls' interests changed.  It was easy to pull out a box and they even learned to clean up after themselves.  (Sometimes after a little reminding.)

If you're running short on ideas, go visit The Crafty Crow.  This blog is full of GREAT ideas.  Many are easy and use things you probably already have around the  house.

Here's your homework for today:  Pull out all your art & craft supplies to see what you already have.  Organize them into small plastic bins.  Show your kids where they are and teach them to pull them out (after asking you, of course) and put them up by themselves.  There'll be a lot of BTS sales the next few weeks so keep an eye out for markers, paints, pens, & pencils that you can add to your art boxes.  Have fun... get messy!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

We love libraries

We have gone to a local library almost every week since before my kids could even read!  Summers are great times to get acquainted with your library.  Most have a summer reading program with GREAT prizes.  Jordann isn't too old yet and she has already finished the requirements for our library's program.  She won a paperback book, pass to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, a free pizza, stickers, and a temporary tattoo.  

Your homework:  Take your kids to the library on a really hot day.  Get a big stack of books and camp out on the floor for a while enjoying the cool air and reading to each other.  Let them pick a few books to take home

Saturday, July 5, 2008

First Step: Are YOU Ready?

This should be something you should think about even before becoming a parent, but especially before you start homeschooling. This step isn’t “Do you have your curriculum?” or “Do you have a lesson plan?”, but “Are YOU spiritually ready to homeschool your children?”

As someone who has been through it I’m going to be honest with you. Homeschooling is NOT the easy way out. It will be hard. There will be days that you want to give up. There will be times you’ll get angry with your kids.

If you’re thinking about homeschooling, stop planning and start with prayer. Here are some other things to think about:

Can you put what YOU want aside for 12+ years and focus on what is best for your family?
Your home won’t look like the magazines. Can you deal with science experiments in the kitchen, art projects on the dining table, charts on the wall, etc?

This verse is one I turned to again and again during our homeschool years... and STILL do today! Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

More questions:
Are you and your husband on the same page?
Does he support homeschooling COMPLETELY?
Have you talked together about how this will affect you financially? (Does he agree that you won’t work or maybe just work part-time? Have you included homeschool in your budget?)

Here’s your homework: Pray. Pray with your husband. If your children are old enough pray with them about the decision, too. Ask God especially for wisdom, patience, and humility. Be prepared for Him to provide opportunities for you to practice your patience and humility!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First Entry in My New Blog

I've been thinking about this for a while. Starting a new blog. Just what I need to fill in all my free time, right? But I've realized lately that I have a lot of information that would be really useful to moms just starting out on their homeschooling adventures. Ours is over now... although you really never stop learning at home!

For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you about our homeschooling adventure.

We have 2 girls and my dh has been a pastor or church staff member for most of his adult life. We're both in our early 40s (no exact ages... lol). When my oldest was a baby I started reading The Beginner's Bible to her every night. When she was about 2 1/2 years old she suddenly started recognizing words in the book and reading along with me. I was amazed. I didn't know that was possible! When she was around 3 I had a couple of friends that homeschooled and I thought that would be a great thing for our dd.

DH didn't think so. Not until he met a family in one of our churches while we lived in Illinois. They were the most respectful children we had ever met. They greeted us at the door when we came to their home, helped their parents serve us, were excited to share their latest piece of art or book they'd been reading, and wanted us to sing along to the Veggie Tales with them. They were so fun and so smart. He (dh) started to think that maybe we should try it too.

So I started the research. LOTS of research. If you're currently thinking about homeschooling, you know what I mean. There's sooooooo much out there! There wasn't quite as much 15 years ago but it still kept me busy for several months. (And I still have notebooks full of notes that I took and will be sharing those on this blog as I come across them.)

We began the adventure with The Weaver Curriculum in Kindergarten. We moved on to the Sonlight Curricululm after that. I can't tell you how much fun we had those first few years. Or how much they both learned -- even though the younger dd wasn't officially 'schooling.'

We continued a rather eclectic homeschool method through elementary -- no textbooks, lots of real LIVING books (I'll explain that later, too.), hands on activities, experiments, field trips, gardening, housework, travel, etc. Math was the only subject we had a textbook for.

We started adding more textbooks in 5th grade -- Abeka, Bob Jones, Saxon, etc. (We really like Bob Jones!) And we joined a couple of co-ops during those years.

High school brought about some BIG changes. A move to California, where laws were different so we joined an umbrella school where all the students were homeschooled. Took some classes taught by other moms in the group -- incredible. Worked on the yearbook, talent nights, band at a local private school who allowed homeschool kids, and classes at the local community college.

Last year was our first ever to NOT have anyone at home for school during the day. It was very different. I have to say *easier* for mom! lol... But I wouldn't trade those homeschool years for anything!

I assumed that chapter of my life was over. But I still have people asking me about homeschooling. And now my younger sister is just starting out with her two little ones. It feels like that was soooo long ago for me. But since I've been through it and have the notes to prove it I thought I should have a place to share them. I do have a website for some of the curriculum that I wrote and sell, but blogging is so much easier than keeping up with the website! I may just give up the website and blog everyday for the rest of my life.. lol!

So, if you're reading this please let me know. And feel free to ask me questions. I'll answer if I can or point you to someone who can. Hopefully not every post will be this long. And I want to share photos, too, so you'll have something interesting to look at. The blog looks pretty boring right now, huh?