Computers and gadgets are great for children to experience, but remember to include handwriting instruction and regular practice in their day. Draw and write with your children—make it fun for both of you! This video was on our local news station last night:
A study is mentioned that found the following:
My youngest sister, Julie, is traveling across the country this week to visit our other sister, Anne. Julie’s only request for Thanksgiving dinner is Mom’s Pumpkin Pie. Anne hasn’t made the pie for quite some time, so she came to me, hoping I knew the recipe.
Marie used the Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe—the one on the pumpkin can. She added this and that to it. “All I do is add extra eggs and milk, so it’s like a custard.” I’ve made the pies regularly over the years, but I couldn’t assure Anne that my pies were the same as Mom’s. So, she ventured into her creepy attic to find the handwritten recipe that I wrote down when we were much, much younger. Whoa! So brave, and now we’ll share it with you—Marie’s pie recipe… with measurements!
Marie’s Pumpkin Pie
Printable Version (84k, pdf)
(Makes 2 pies, 16 servings)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves (optional)
1 can (29 oz.) Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-3/4 cups whole milk or 2% milk
2 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shells
In a small bowl, mix the sugars and spices—the first six ingredients.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
Combine and stir the pumpkin, sugar-spice mixture, and eggs in the large bowl. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and milk.
Pour into the pie shells.
(You will have extra. Marie usually made another little pie. I pour the mixture into custard cups.)
Bake in preheated 425°F. oven for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 350°F., and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
I’m having a hard time focusing on my pile of work that MUST get done today. It appears I’m grieving the passing of Steve Jobs. So, maybe if I write a bit, I’ll get back on track.
I got my first Mac in 1994, right after our first book was published. I bought the thing the same week my husband was laid off from work. It was scary to put down so much money, but I knew I had to learn how to use the computer. The Mac was what our publisher used. Actually, it was the only computer with programs that worked for publishing. Besides that, Macs made sense to me… PC’s befuddled me. They still do. I’ve stayed with Apple all these years and, fortunately, always found a program that worked to cover shipping or whatever for the business.
This editorial by the Seattle Times was published on August 25 after Jobs resigned: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2016015834_edit26stevejobs.html Here’s what struck me:
His story could not have been predicted or planned. The Mac’s proportionally spaced fonts helped create desktop publishing. To hear Jobs tell it, their reason for existence was that years before, he attended Reed College in Portland. He became bored with classes and dropped out — but he hung around campus to audit classes that fascinated him. One was calligraphy and typography. It was fascinating to him but completely useless — until it came time to design the Mac.
He called this story “connecting the dots,” but he said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward.”
Some of the little things we do with children may seem “completely useless”. You never know… during a lifetime, one of those experiences may be just what is needed for connecting some dots. Using Steve Jobs as inspiration, take time to draw, write and learn with children. YOU might find it fascinating!
The following refers to the Grape Lesson in Draw Write Now, Book 2.
When my mother prepared her drawings to show the publisher for the first time, there was one drawing in the stack that caught my eye—a cluster of grapes, simply drawn with rows of circles positioned like racked billiard balls. I hadn’t seen the lesson in years. My reaction was, “Mom, you made this drawing? I remember drawing this, but not with you.” Holding her drawing in my hand, my thoughts went to a quiet moment on a sizzling hot summer day when I was six or seven years-old:
After cooling off in the wading pool, I used my wet fingers to draw circles on the cement patio. The challenge was to draw four circles, all the same size, lined up in a row. I could make two the same size, but the third was too high or the fourth too narrow. No problem, the circles vanished in the summer heat. I tried again and kept trying, over and over, until I could draw the four perfect circles. With all the practice, I got quicker and had enough time to make a second row of circles—this had to be done before the first row evaporated. It became a race. Draw the line of four circles, then three, then two and one. Hurrah! Oh, the satisfaction when I was able to beat the sun!
It’s memories like this that fuel my passion for Marie’s lessons. The beauty of teaching a lesson is knowing that there are subtle things that will stay with the child, long after the drawing is finished.
See Marie’s collection of lessons, Draw Write Now.
Draw Each Morning
Marie Hablitzel started her teaching career in 1942. She saw how her students (and she!) responded to regular drawing instruction. Eventually, she created a lesson for each school day.
2nd Grade Teacher
She taught primary grades at Gerber Elementary in California for most of her career. Budgets were tight, so Marie used whatever paper was available.
She and my father raised six children. Their daughter, Julie, teaches at the school where Marie taught.
After retirement in 1982, She volunteered at Community Christian School in Red Bluff, California and gave a lesson each week over the next twelve years.
Inspiration for the Draw-Write-Now Books
We lived a long distance from Marie, so in 1991 she mailed drawings and notes to my five year-old daughter. One day, after straightening the letters and realizing the stack of papers looked like a book, I called and said, “Mom, I have an idea!”
A family friend, Carolyn Hurst, worked in publishing. In 1994, her company, Barker Creek, released the first Draw Write Now book. Marie and I promoted the books at conferences and conventions. This one was so fun—the Dairyville Orchard Festival—an annual festival in Marie’s community. Maryanne, Marie’s granddaughter and my niece, helped us.
Marie’s Work Continues
Marie enjoyed three-mile walks up until a few weeks before her death in 2007 at the age of 86. I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with her and am honored to continue her work.
~ Kim Stitzer
I recently came across the original design sketches for the cover of Draw Write Now, Book 1. You might notice that only Marie’s name is shown on the sketches. Here’s how my name got on the cover.
In 1992, Barker Creek Publishing, was a start-up business and Draw-Write-Now was to be it’s first product. Carolyn Hurst, the owner of Barker Creek and editor of the books, invited Marie to attend meetings with the designer and production people, and since I was Marie’s daughter and Carolyn’s friend, I got to go along. The cover was designed early in the process and four sketches were presented—the farm-scene design was selected.
Marie already had a long list of drawings to complete, so Judy Richardson, the book designer, was given the assignment to draw the cover. Working from her sketch, Judy made several attempts, but Carolyn wasn’t happy with the results—Judy’s drawing style was not like Marie’s. They were close to scrapping the design and asking Marie to draw the second-choice design, when I meekly said, “I think I can draw it.” They both looked at me, looked at each other, and said, “Okay, do it!” Well, I did it, and my art was used on the cover.
I kept going to meetings and helping Marie in any way I could. At some point before Book 1 went to press, Carolyn asked Marie to make me her coauthor. Initially, I was hesitant—after all, the lessons came from Marie’s creativity, experience and hard work—but, Carolyn used good business sense. I was able to help with the promotion and production of the book series, plus I knew and understood Marie’s teaching and artistic style like no one else.
Throughout the series, Marie designed and created all of the lesson drawings, while I did the cover drawings, helped with illustrations and worked on text. Judy continued to oversee the designs elements. Carolyn edited the books and, along with several amazing production artists who embraced the 1990’s technology, pulled the books together on the computer. In the end, I think we all realized that the collaboration was perfect!
“My child is 10 and she hates writing.
What can I do to help?”
Focus on drawing and add a little writing on the side! Keep in mind that an older child’s handwriting habits are pretty well ingrained, making changes can take longer. Be patient, have fun and plan to practice regularly and carefully.
Handwriting PracticeSomewhere along the line, your child may have missed some basic skills. Start by gaining an understanding of the progression of language arts skills. Keep this in mind as you draw and write with her. Start with the sample lessons of the swan (Book 1), whale (Book 4) and tiger (Book 7). Keep the practice time short, easing into more writing as her skills improve. Find more lessons in the Draw Write Now books. An older child is able to do any of the lessons in the series, so look at the Table of Contents and select a book that she finds most interesting.
Pencil GraspLook at how she holds her pencil. The older the child, the stronger the habits, so don’t expect her grasp to be corrected within a week. Exercises to improve fine motor skills can help, see OT Mom Learning Activities.
If your child bristles at the idea of writing practice, drawing may be the thing that motivates her to put a pencil to paper. The skills of handwriting and drawing are similar, so there will be some improvement even if she doesn’t write a word!