Funderstanding Newsletter – 5/9/13: The Science of Cooking


“A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.” Horace Mann

What interests your kids? As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, I’ve been trying to become a better cook in the past year. I’ve bought cookbooks, I’ve watched videos and I’ve subscribed to websites. Full-on food geek mode. Or so I thought.

I stumbled across this video on PBS a couple of months ago. I started watching it and I was sucked in. Completely geeky stuff and after it finished 53 mins later, I wanted more. It’s one thing to watch a video on how to make a tasty Thanksgiving dinner but a completely different thing to learn how to make a fantastic dinner by understanding scientific concepts.

It’s so obvious. Everyone has interests. What do kids like? Movies? Sports? Music? Yes to all. Don’t underestimate how much they will pay attention to and absorb while discussing things related to those things as opposed to going to school to learn about dumb ol’ history.

Any things you have found on the web that had the same effect on you? Let us know.

What’s New at Funderstanding

Dan Barth has JUST signed off on the proof for the new second paperback edition of Maurice on the Moon. If all goes well, it will be up on Amazon in 5-7 days! The new paperback has a full blown glossary and a much better cover.

How many bazillion times have you sat through the same Disney movie because your kid loves it? Granted, maybe you love it also but we can make all that tv and movie viewing beneficial for your kids. They’ll be happy, you’ll be happy and their teacher will be happy. Win, win, and why not, another win.

Ask Us Anything

A parent from NJ asks – Bob, homework is a constant fight with me and my 12-year old. She spends more time complaining and screaming than doing the homework. I keep telling her she needs good grades and she should be doing better. What can I do better?

Bob Sullo: First, rest assured that your story is typical. Homework struggles are the norm, especially when kids approach adolescence. More than anything, they want to assert their independence and fiercly resist control, even if they intuitively understand it’s “for their own good.” Rather than telling your daughter she needs good grades, needs to do better, etc – all logical comments, by the way – I suggest asking her what she wants for herself. What kind of future does she want? Does she want to be a success? Will doing well in school help her get what she wants? Will completing homework – even if it’s tedious and boring – help her achieve her goals? Don’t be surprised if she rolls her eyes and says, “Whatever,” boredom punctuating her terse comment. That’s typical. Resist the temptation to lecture her about her disrespectful attitude, a new offense compounding her failure to approach homework with joy, enthusiasm, and a song in her heart!

Despite the rolled eyes and dismissive “whatever,” kids want to be successful. By inviting your daughter to explore how doing homework allows her to more easily get what she wants, you minimize the power struggle, arguing, and stress you are both experiencing. Most importantly, make sure to maintain a positive relationship with your daughter.

Ask us your question on Facebook or Twitter!

Technology in Learning

The sky’s the limit to infographics! We love infographics but we came across a new fangled one the other day. Labeled as a motion-infographic, this one is a simple yet effective way to grasp the distance to Mars.

We love baseball. So we loved that we could take our kids to see 42, the new Jackie Robinson film. If you want to learn more about baseball in that era, you could watch Ken Burns’ documentary entitled Baseball. The 5th inning is mainly about the Negro Leagues. If your discussions about baseball don’t include the Negro Leagues, don’t continue that mistake. This is not just baseball – this is history.


Competition is always a good thing. A new competitor has come into the picture to go up against Smashwords. For those not in the know, a lot of independent authors have used Smashwords to publish their books. Draft2Digital claims they are even easier to use than Smashwords. I’m not convinced that’s a good thing but if it helps to push Smashwords to improve their game, nobody should complain.

G Whiz Moment

Recently, I was at a gas station and I was confronted by someone who thought I was competing with him over a gas pump. I hadn’t noticed him and he was very upset. As he expressed his opinion strongly, I employed a useful listening technique. I began by feeding back to the other person what I think he was saying. “You’re saying you were waiting for this pump?  Sorry, I didn’t see you. Would you like me to pull out?” He was completely startled by what I said, shook his head, and drove away. Acknowledging what you hear the other person saying as a basis for going forward is very powerful.

This tip is from Geoffrey Caine, author of 9 Skills for Listening to Life.

Funderstanding Authors

Do you have a book that needs attention and better marketing? Do you have a book that needs to be converted into a digital format? We can help. Please contact us.

Below are some of our latest publications-just another way we deliver great content.

Maurice on the Moon by Daniel Barth, is a fun, sci-fi fantasy book for 5th-9th graders. Best of all, it fits into the structure of the new Common Core standards and is currently being used in U.S. classrooms.

9 Skills for Listening to Life by Geoffrey Caine, helps you to learn the art and skill of great listening, which is critical for not only improving personal and business relationships, but also for increasing everyday efficiency and effectiveness.

The Inspiring Teacher by Bob Sullo, is for every teacher and parent committed to making a difference and positively impacting the lives of their students and children.

About the author -

Eric Cohen

Eric Cohen founded Funderstanding in 1994, a product of his passion for active and inspired learning. His day job is at a2xconsulting, where he helps small companies grow into big companies. He lives in NJ with his wife, 2 kids, dog - and his ever growing collection of fine whisky, good movies, and baseball books.

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