Category Archives: Uncategorized

Daylight Saving Time

We were so proud of ourselves!  We had managed to corral many children, get everyone ready to go, and arrive at church well before the service started.  After parking the car, we walked through the pedestrian-free parking lot thinking we were so early the previous service hadn’t ended.  The elevator ride ended with the doors opening onto the middle of the church service for which we thought we were early.  Before the doors completely opened, I pushed the button to return to the parking lot level.  As soon as the doors closed we whispered “Daylight Saving Time” and started laughing.  Having been defeated by the “spring forward” we went home.

This post is going to end up a lot like my last Monday post. Here’s an opportunity for research and learning:  Daylight Saving Time (DST) is an idea with a long and checkered past.  Follow the link below for an introduction to the history of DST, the pros and cons of DST, and the confusion it can cause.  It’s a great summary and could definitely be a jumping off point for further research.  Click here:

Brief History of Daylight Saving Time

Homework Due 2/28 and 3/1

It’s almost March!  Classes met for the seventh time this semester, eight weeks to go.  Be sure to check for your child’s progress.  If you no longer have the access information for trackmygrades, email me and I’ll resend it.The total percentage is not necessarily accurate, especially if it seems low.  Do check for missing work and take a look at grades on individual assignments. Remember, tests in any Saxon class can be corrected for full credit.

On, the total percentage is not necessarily accurate, especially if it seems low.  Check for missing work and take a look at grades on individual assignments.  Remember, tests in any Saxon class can be corrected for full credit.

Math for the Middle Grades – lessons 70-72, homework 23.

Math 76 – lessons 92-93, test 16.  This is not a lot of homework, so do your best, neatest, completest work.  Also, I forgot we were supposed to have a quiz on fraction, decimal, and percent equivalents today. We’ll aim for next week.  Here’s  a link to the info you’ll need to know to do well on that quiz:  percent-decimal-fraction-equivalents-to-memorize  (Some typos on the previous version have been corrected.)

Algebra 1/2 – lessons 96-99 and, if you haven’t turned it in yet, test 20.

Algebra 1 – lessons 92-95 and, if you haven’t turned it in yet, test 20.

Algebra 2 – practice for lessons 96-97, practice and odds for 98-99.  If you have already done the odds of 96 or 97, use that instead of 98. Everyone must complete lesson 99.  Also, complete the next test.

Personal Finance – Your activities and chapter test will be emailed.

Presidents’ Day

As a child, one of my uncles heard that Labor Day was coming soon.  Being a diligent young man, he began making a list of the chores he wanted to complete on the upcoming day for work. He wanted to celebrate Labor Day by doing what the name implied: labor.

Today is Presidents’ Day and my children haven’t asked for the day off.  They’ve figured out that non-routine days can happen any time and a federal holiday doesn’t mean there aren’t math problems to do and dishes to wash.  On the other hand, special days can be special opportunities for curiosity and research.  Once we have greater understanding of what we’re celebrating, there is greater potential for meaningful and grateful celebration.

According to, “Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.”

What great fodder for further research!  How old would Washington be this year?  What is the Uniform Monday Holiday Act?  How did the concept of a weekend come to be?  When are the other presidents’ birthdays?  What’s a president? Why is the apostrophe after the “s”?

Take a few minutes to discuss Presidents’ Day and to pray with greater understanding for our president and our country.


Homework Due 2/21 and 2/22

Parents and Students, please email any time!  Students, I love to help you with your homework by email.  Over the years I’ve seen many students do significantly better in math once they started emailing lots of questions.  Parents, if your student is young or you’d rather do the emailing, please email for homework help.

Math for the Middle Grades –

  • Lessons 67-69 and homework 22.
  • Lesson 62 – students are to read carefully, then make a document, poster, or three-dimensional representation of the information on that page.  Minimum size is 8 1/2 x 11″.  Aim for clearly presented information with some color and creativity.  Due 2/22.

We had a blast in class this week. Each student made a bingo card by coloring a variety of fractions, then arranging the fraction pictures on a bingo card.  Every student had a uniquely arranged bingo card.  I called out fractions and students had to find them on their cards.  Ask your student about it.

Math 76 – For lesson 90:  On page 433 there is a chart with some formulas for perimeter and area.  On page 434 there are drawings of the shapes listed on the chart.  Do this:  On a sheet of filler paper write out all of that information and copy the drawings.  Your page may be set up in two parts like the information in the book, or you may put the formulas and drawings together.  For example, draw a square and write the formulas for area and perimeter of a square near the square.  Do the same for the rest of the shapes.

For lesson 91:  Complete the activity on page 440.  Keep track of your flips in sets of ten as shown in the book.  Do as many sets of 10 flips as you want to, then try to answer the questions.  Be sure you bring all this info to class and we’ll try to compile everyone’s results.

We did most of Investigation 3 in class.  For some, making 3-D models was fun.  For others, it was a struggle.  I was impressed with everyone’s effort.  Later this year we’ll try some more 3-D models.

Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 2 – Lesson 92-95 and test 20.

Algebra 1 – lessons 88-91 and test 20.

Personal Finance – The activities and test for chapter 10 were emailed.





Homework Due 2/14 and 2/15

During spring semester there might be a quiz at the beginning of class.  Quizzes are extra credit.  If you are absent, the quiz will not be made up and because it’s extra credit it won’t change your grade.

Math for the Middle Grades – Homework 21 and Lessons 64-66.  On page 62 the book describes Strategy 3: Using a Negative Fraction. This strategy is optional.  If it makes sense to you, it’s a good tool to have in your toolbox.  If it makes no sense, or just complicates things, skip Strategy 3 and use Strategies 1 and 2 to complete lesson 66.

Math 76 – Lessons 85-89.  Next week we’ll be doing some cutting a gluing.  Bring scissors and glue if possible.  A small roll of tape, colored pencils, and/or highlighters might also be useful.

Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 2 – Lessons 88-91.  Many students are behind by one or two tests.  Turn in your next test on 2/14 or 2 1/5.

Algebra 1 – Lessons 84-87.   Many students are behind by one or two tests.  Turn in your next test on 2 /14.

Personal Finance – All activities for chapter 4 should be turned in by 2/15.  Those are the activities that were emailed to you last week.  We are wrapping up a chapter about debt, credit scores, and credit cards.  Very enlightening!



WEST Math Classes

All students need some individualized help now and then.  Some students need more frequent support.  Thanks to technology, my students can get answers to their questions as often as they need. In general, it’s best when students request help for themselves, rather than having a parent ask on the student’s behalf.

Students, if you are struggling with a particular concept or a few specific problems, just ask and I’ll help.

If you are absent or you missed something in class, email me and request a pdf copy of the class notes.  I’ll email it.

Email me with questions about homework and tests. I’ll send them help by email. Sometimes I make a video of the solution. Most of the time I send a colorful, detailed PDF document of the solution.

Students who email frequently usually do better than students who rarely email.  In the past few years, I’ve had students who were not emailing for help and were failing.  When the students began emailing every question they began to succeed.  The detailed explanations that can be read or viewed over and over worked.  The almost daily communication was the difference between failing a class and getting an “A”.

I want you to succeed.  I want you to email me for help. Students, next time you are struggling to solve a problem, or you want help understanding a lesson, just email me!

Homework Due 2/7 and 2/8

Math for the Middle Grades

  • Lessons 59, 60, 63.  Lesson 61 is optional.
  • Lesson 62 – students are to read carefully, then make a document, poster, or three-dimensional representation of the information on that page.  Minimum size is 8 1/2 x 11″.  Aim for clearly presented information with some color and creativity.  Due 2/22.
  • Homework 20.

Math 76 

  • Lessons 84, 83, 82, 81 practice (done in class) and odds
  • Lessons 80 and 75 – practice only (done in class)
  • Test 14
  • Lesson 79 gives directions for two tasks to help understand parallelograms.  For the first, use any material you like to make an object that works like the one in the book.  For the second, use graph paper to make each of the models shown in finding the area of a parallelogram.  Attach graph paper models to a sheet of paper. Label and explain as necessary.  Aim for clearly presented information with some color and creativity.

Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 2 –  Lessons 84-87 and Test 18 if you haven’t already completed it.

Algebra 1 – Lessons 80-83.  Test 18.

Personal Finance – Your homework will be emailed.  The currect chapter takes two weeks to complete, so homework for chapter 4 Debt may be turned in on 2/8 or 2/15.  Remember to keep up on your own personal budget.  If you think you don’t handle enough money to have a budget, you may make a fictional budget. I’ll be checking on this at our next class.


There are many basic math facts all students should memorize. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts are more helpful when they are automatic.  Along with the four operations, there are a few other things math students should know and be able to recite without thought.

Before I give the list of things to memorize, here are some reasons to memorize basic math facts:

  1. When students start studying algebra, geometry, and other higher math subjects, all working memory needs to be used on the algebra or geometry.  If the working memory is stuck figuring out 6 x 7 the student will have a hard time doing the higher math.
  2. Easily and immediately retrievable math facts give students confidence in their math skills.  Math anxiety is decreased.
  3.  A student’s time is used more efficiently used when math facts are immediately accessible.  A student who has to compute basic facts while working on higher math skills will work more slowly and therefore have less time to work on other learning activities. There’s nothing wrong with working slowly.  In fact, errors can be prevented by working slowly.  But slow doesn’t have to be inefficient.

All these reasons and more apply to memorizing often used fraction, decimal, percent equivalents.  Over the next few weeks, WEST math students will be working on memorizing the table of facts in this post.  Quizzes will be given on 2/14 and 2/15.  There will be prizes valued at somewhere between zero and a million dollars.

Click on this link to find all the info you need to know.

percent decimal fraction equivalents to memorize

Homework Due 1/31 and 2/1

Math for the Middle Grades –

  • lesson 55, 56, and 58
  • Homework 19
  • Lesson 57 is optional
  • Also, there is one problem in one of the lessons marked optional

Math 76 –

  • lessons 74 – 77, practice and odds
  • lesson 78 – copy the chart of quadrilaterals at the beginning of this lesson.  Nothing fancy, just a write a copy.  Think and talk about the names and definitions of the quadrilaterals.
  • Supplemental Practice for lesson 65, found on page 700.  You don’t have a key for this.  Hand it in unscored.  Finally, test 14.
  • Supplemental Practice for lesson 65, found on page 700.  You don’t have a key for this.  Hand it in unscored.
  • Test 14

Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 2 – Lessons 80-83 and if you haven’t done it yet test 16.

Algebra 1 – Lessons 76-79.  You may do the odds for a second time, or do the evens.  I emailed a key.

Personal Finance – be sure you are using a budget. is my favorite.  It’s easy to use and is similar to using the ever-dependable envelope method of budgeting.  Activities have been emailed to you.




“Debt is owing anything to anyone for any reason.”  Dave Ramsey

My children have asked me dozens of time, “Mom, would you please loan me the money to buy this amazing thing?”  There are a couple of variations.  One that has seen lots of use is,  “Mom, I left my money at home.  If you loan it to me I can pay you back as soon as we get home.” Another approach takes more creativity and has endless variety:  “Mom, do you remember [insert story of inconvenience or desire to learn something]? This [insert description of amazing object child wants] will help me with [mention inconvenience or thing to learn].  Would you please loan me the money?”

How many times will I have to say “no” before they figure out my answer will not change?

I have six children.  I don’t want to keep track of all the loans!  I don’t want any (more) reasons to argue with my children.  I don’t like details!

More important than keeping life simple, refusing to loan my children money helps me fulfill one of the goals I have for my children.  I want my children to live debt free.  I want them to never know the stress and helplessness of being in debt.  I want them to know what it feels like to not owe anyone anything for any reason.