Archive for the ‘School Games’ Category

Our first full day of school. (Math game at the end.)

August 29, 2011

To be totally honest here, our first full day of school went really lousy.  It wasn’t the new part of the day either, it was the very first part.  The part that we have been doing for two weeks.  It was Kiddo.  She was a bit on edge today.  She had a few episodes of whining, but the big problems came with math.  She didn’t understand what they wanted her to do the first time I explained it.  I had explained it rather badly, but there were no second chances, it was too hard and she couldn’t do it.  I kept at it and she kept whining.  I finally told her that she would have to do another page because she couldn’t stop until she had a good attitude.

The first page was about cups, pints, quarts and gallons.  I had gotten out my measuring cups to help understand the concepts.  With the help of the measuring cups and more explanation from me she was able to finish the page.  I thought about putting the cups away, but I didn’t.  Last week she broke something of hers because she was upset.  She didn’t mean to, but being upset she was too rough with it.  I thought that she had learned her lesson.  (Silly me.)

We started the second page of math.  She needed the rods to do the page so I asked her to get them.  She got them off of the shelf and slammed them down on the table.  I told her to put them away.  Once they were away, I asked her to get them out nicely.  (Good parenting move, huh?)  She did so and set them on the table (not gently, but not too roughly).  For about 1/2 a second, I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to do this 10 times then she shoved the box.  Guess what was behind the box?  Yep, the GLASS measuring cups.  All three of them landed on the floor, but only the big one broke.

She was sorry.  I know that she just shoved the box, and didn’t think about the cups behind it.  For once, I was able to stay calm.  I guess that I had known that it was a possibility.  She cleaned up the broken glass (with help, of course), and sat down to finish her math.  She will have to buy me a new one out of her money.

Dearie also had some issues today.  Issues like not wanting to practice piano.  I had decided yesterday that if I could just get her to SIT at the piano for 20 minutes, I would consider it a good thing.  It took repeated requests from me, but she finally sat down at the piano.  She even practiced her songs!  The first part was a pain, but the ending was good!

Now for the MATH GAMES!  Last night I asked Honey what kind of game she wanted.  I was not surprised when she said that she wanted a horse game.  Of course!  She also said an active game and no math games, LOL.  I told her that it was for math, it would have to be a math game.  She said that she only wanted to do addition, no subtraction or multiplication or division.  Well, I had decided to start with addition so no problem.  Here is a picture of the math board that I made:

It is just the felt square numbers that I made waaaaaaay back when I was in college.  A few are missing, so I just put masking tape on some blank felt squares and called it good, LOL.  I made flash cards with the facts that I wanted to review.  I figured that I could pull them out of the pile if she knows them quickly and easily.  Then I showed her a card and she had to jump on the answer.  For answers like 14 she put one foot on 1 and one foot on 4.  (Maybe I should have had her do 10 and 4 hmmmm….. have to think about that one.)  Every time she jumped on a number I put a penny on the felt square.  If it was a number like 14 both the 1 and the 4 got a penny.  At the end, I had her count up the pennies and figure out how many nickles to trade them in for.  (Had to sneak in one division problem, LOL.)  It wasn’t much of a game, but it did give her some much needed practice in addition.

I think that we will do something with horses tomorrow.


Chutes and Ladders is back!

March 15, 2010

I don’t think that I could teach math without Chutes and Ladders.  It works so well for practicing math facts because it is long enough to have many moves, but not so long as to be boring.  The game part of climbing a ladder or going down a chute keeps it fun.

In the past week we have played at least 3 new variations.

For subtraction:

Use 4 dice

1 20-sided die

1 12-sided die

1 10-sided die

1 8-sided die

(Any variation of these will work. I am thinking about picking up some more so that we could use 2 20-sided and 2 12-sided dice)

 Roll the dice. Add the 20-sided to the 12-sided. Add the 10-sided to the 8-sided. Then subtract the second number from the first. My kids understand negative numbers well enough that if we get one, they go backwards on the game board. With this set-up of dice it does happen, but not very often.

 For Percents:

(Dearie is needing a bit more practice than is offered in Singapore. This is only the second topic that this has happened on, so it is no big deal to me to add in a little extra practice.)

 Use 4 dice

1 10-sided die that has tens on it (00, 10, 20, 30…)

1 4-sided die

1 10-sided die (0-9)

1 8-sided die

(If I had more 10-sided (0-9) dice, I would use three of those and the 10-sided die that has tens on it.)

Roll the dice. Add the 10-sided die that has tens on it to the 4 sided die. For example if you roll a 30 and a 4 then you would have 34. Then take the other two numbers and put them together to get a large number. For example if you roll a 7 and a 8 you would say that the number is 78. The first number is a percent and we want to find that percentage of the second number. So in the example, we would find 34% of 78. We get 26.52. We then round to 27 and that is how much that person gets to move. For this game we said that the winner would be the first one to complete the game board 5 times. We do use calculators for this game, but not the % key.

 Another Percents game:

(Dearie was having trouble understanding how when you compare two numbers with percents, the percentage could be larger than 100. This game practices comparing two numbers with percents.)

Use 4 dice

Any dice that only have single digit numbers on them will work.

 Roll the dice. Decide how you will lay out the dice (we said that we would put the two white dice together to make a number always putting the big one first, and that we would put the pink and purple dice together always putting the pink one first). Then make two numbers from the four dice. (If we rolled a 3, a 9, a 5, and a 0 we would have 39 and 50. ) Then ask what % of 50 is 39. We always put the dice in the same order so sometimes we got what % of 24 is 48? When we got our answer (again using calculators) we moved the first number of the percentage. So if we got 85% we would move 8, if we got 104% we would move 10. It was a fun game and I think that it made Dearie a bit more familiar with finding percents.

A new way to do math!

November 19, 2009

Did you know that if you type a math problem into google (like 7+8 or 34 X 4) it will give you the answer. 

 My kids know it.  They learned it from another homeschooling friend.  Honey asked me if I e-mailed her friends mom, and I admited that I did.  She said that was good, poor Honey was afraid that her friend wouldn’t learn any math if she kept doing this.  Did you get that!  Honey was worried about her friend not learning math!  Honey who struggles with math, who will on occasion lie about this or that, did not try to use this for herself, but wanted to help her friend.  I am pretty proud of her for that.

Can I do Math?

April 16, 2009

Yesterday afternoon Honey came up to me and said, “Can I do math Mom?”  I looked at her and said, “Why?”  I mean, this was Honey after all.  She has NEVER asked to do math before.  Cry, run away, refuse to do it, yes she has done those, but never ask to do math with a smile on her face.  She just asked again, “Can I?”  I said, “No chocolate chips!”  (Yes, I have been known to bribe her to do math, sigh.)  She said, “That’s OK.  Can I?”  I kept pushing and it finally came out.  When she does a test in her math book, (about once ever two weeks if she does a math lesson a day) she gets a prize, and she really wanted her prize.  So I said, “OK”  and she did a lesson before dinner (took her less than ten min.) and did the test after dinner.  She did a total of 3 1/2 lessons and the test yesterday.  (She did a lot during math time too.)   This is how math is supposed to be, easy and fun! 

This is really making me re-think what curriculum to use for next year.  Horizon’s (what she is using now) is back on the table.  Now the section that she is working on now, is doing a lot of “fun” topics: fractions, time, place value, and shapes.  She has not had any drilling of the math facts in this section.  (I’m sure that it will be back.)  I think that this is why she is suddenly interested in math.   It does not mean that I have suddenly changed my mind.  It does mean that I won’t be buying any curriculum for Honey at the homeschool convention.  I will look, I will see what is available, but I won’t buy until she finishes this year and I see how the rest of the year goes.  If I don’t have to switch, I won’t.  Horizon’s is a good program, and I truly believe in not fixing what is not broken.

New Math Games

April 8, 2009

Honey is working on subtraction now.  It is not hard for her unless you ask her to write it down.  I “know” that she will willingly do subtraction problems as long as there is no paper and pencil involved, but I don’t really understand it.  So anyway, we are both getting tired of Chutes and Ladders, so we practiced by playing bingo.  I wrote the numbers 1-12 on a grid and you could cover up a number whenever you rolled that number.  (Roll a 12 sided die and a 10 sided die and subtract.)  It went well and she is memorizing some facts.

The next game we played was a little more inventive and a lot more fun.  We used attribute blocks (pattern blocks would work too) and 2 die (20 sided and 10 sided).  It is hard to give rules, so I will just walk you through a game.

First we rolled the dice.  Say Honey got a 12 and 2.  She subtracted 2 from 12 and got 10.  Then she had to choose enough blocks so that she had a total of 10 sides.  (1 square – 4 sides, 1 triangle – 3 sides, and 3 circles – 1 side each)  We used the blocks to make a picture.  Each roll gives more blocks for your picture.  There really is no winner to this game, but it was fun. 


Games make math doable for Honey.  Without them there is nothing but tears.  She is doing more of her workbook now, but only if someone else does the writing.

Dearie Dethroned!

March 31, 2009

Yesterday, Kiddo was asking a lot of math questions.  (We even did math yesterday, but she is really into asking addition and multiplication questions.)  She really does understand multiplication, so I thought, “Why not teach her some of the hard facts, then it won’t be so hard when she is older and doesn’t want to drill.”  So I asked her 7 X 8, and when she didn’t know I told her.  Then I told her to go ask Dearie, and when Dearie didn’t know I told Kiddo to tell her.  Oh my, Dearie was so mad!  She spent about an hour in her room calming down.  She later told me that she was the smart one and Kiddo was not allowed to know more than she did.  We had a long talk about that, and how she doesn’t like it when people get mad at her for knowing stuff she isn’t supposed to.  She has calmed down, but she still doesn’t like it when I ask Kiddo the “hard” multiplication facts.  On the other hand, Dearie now knows (and will forever know) 7 X 8 ;).

Problem solving. (Monday update)

March 29, 2009

We started a unit on problem solving today.  (Yes on a Sunday, don’t tell the kids that it was school though, they thought it was a game.)  I have several problems lined up for them to solve, but I am still looking for more.  If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.

Cold and Hot jars:  This one was way to easy for Dearie, but it was fun for everyone.  I put two jars on the table, one full of hot water and the other was full of cold water.  Without touching either jar the girls had to figure out which was which. 

—They did this one very quickly.  They saw steam rising from the hot jar and knew that it was hot.  When I demanded proof they put a thermometer in each one and proved it.  Then I dropped a few drops of  food coloring in each one and we watched as the hot water turned pink much quicker than the cold water did.


Take the animals across the bridge:  I will ask the girls to bring me a stuffed rabbit, a stuffed dog, and a stuffed horse.  Then I will grab two boxes and we will go across the creek.  I will put a box on each side of the creek and tell the girls that they have to move all three animals across the creek.  The rules are that only one girl can move animals, and she can carry only one animal at a time.  The rabbit cannot be left with the dog (dogs eat rabbits) or with the horse (rabbits scare horses).  This is an old puzzle, I originally heard it as a man in a boat and the animals were different, but the logic is still the same.  It will be interesting to see how they solve this one.

The girls liked Sunday’s activity so much that they were begging for more. (I don’t think that these activities will last us two weeks!)  I refused to give them another activity, but I did tell them about today’s activity so that they could think about it.  This morning we had to leave early, and in the car the girls were talking about how to get the animals across the bridge.  Dearie was using stickers to act it out (they were in their car seats), and everyone was trying to figure it out.  I gave a hint, “If you are standing there with the animals they can be together.”   All of a sudden Honey says, “I got it!”   And she did have it.  When we got home, we went into the backyard and acted it out.  Kiddo carried her rabbit across and left it in the box, then she went back and got the dog, carried it across and put it in the box and got out the rabbit.  She carried the rabbit back and traded it for the horse and then carried the horse across.  Then she went back and got the rabbit.  Each girl had a turn acting it out and then I gave them some variations. 

I gave the girls a “pass” and said that the pass will get any combination of three girls or animals across the bridge.   They could never have more animal than people, or more people than animals, but only people or only animals would be ok.  They applied this rule to both sides, but not to the bridge.  It did not take them long to figure that one out.  So then I told them that the rule applies to the bridge as well.  They needed the hint that the animals could walk on their own (they are stuffed and the girls had been carrying them), but they quickly got this one too.  They can’t wait for tomorrow’s puzzle!

Get the paper towel wet:  I will put a paper towel down on the ground and on it I will place a salad dressing jar that is 3/4 full of water.  I will tell the girls that they need to get the paper towel wet and that they are not allowed to touch the jar or the paper towel.  The jar is also not allowed to be tipped over.  I expect that this one will take them a while to figure out, but I’m sure that they will.  I have read them the Aesop fable about the crow how drops rocks in the water to raise the water level, but I’m not sure that they will remember it.



Get the paper towel wet 2:  If they use rocks the first time, I will put the jar on the driveway and draw a big square around it.  (I will also make sure that  there just happens to be a stick in the square.  There are a lot of sticks around here so that shouldn’t be a problem.)  They will have the same instructions as before, but this time they are only allowed to use what is in the square.   —– If they use the stick the first time, I will still draw a square, but I will make sure that the square has rocks in it.  ——  If they come up with some other method, then I will just let them go at it again, with instructions to do it a different way.


Counting by 1s, 2s, and 3s:  For this challenge, I will give the girls felt squares with the numbers 1-12 written on them.   Then I will tell them to line the numbers up so that while holding hands, and each girl moving only one square at a time, they can each move as follows: Dearie by 3s, Honey by 2s, and Kiddo by 1s.  This one will be as much about cooperation as it is about logic.


Squared X:  I will draw a square on the driveway and then draw an X inside it.  I will tell the girls to walk on all lines, but to only walk on each line once.  This is not possible, and it will be interesting to see how they react to it.


Moving marbles:  For this one, I will put 15 marbles on the deck and 10 rocks on the ground.  The girls will be given a bucket and told these rules.  1) The bucket has to have 3 rocks or marbles in it to go up.  2) It has to have 5 rocks or marbles in it to go down.  3) The bucket can not go up or down if it is empty.  4) Move all of the rocks to the deck, and all of the marbles to the ground.  — This is one that I think that I will have them work it out with paper dots before they start.  It could take a really long time otherwise.


I will add to this post as we do the activities.  You will find how the kids did in red.

Negative Numbers

March 28, 2009

I’m a math geek.  Its true and I am turning my children into math geeks too! 

Ever since Dearie announced that her favorite number was -18, there has been a lot of talk around here about negative numbers.  I got to thinking about negative numbers and Chutes and Ladders.  I thought, “Why do we always have to put the bigger number first when we are subtracting.  Wouldn’t be fun to sometimes get a negative number and have to go backwards?”  So we did!  First I asked Honey what 3-5 was.  She thought a while and said -2.  So since she “got” it, we played the game.  I used a 20 sided die (1-20) and a 10 sided die (0-9) so that we would get positive numbers more often than negative numbers (didn’t want the game to last forever).  Even Kiddo got in on the fun (and had no trouble with the negative numbers part).  The best move in the game was when someone got a -3 and landed on the big ladder.  That never happens in ‘regular’ Chutes and Ladders.

Practice with adding double digit numbers.

March 16, 2009

We played a new math game today.  Honey’s math book has been reviewing double digit addition, but she hates to write it down in the book.  So today, I pulled out the dice and the white board and the base 10 blocks and started a new game.  This game reviewed place value and addition.

To play, I found 2 dice that would only add up to 9 if each die rolled the largest number.  This was a 4 sided die, and 6 sided die with the numbers 2,3,3,4,4, and 5 printed on it.  I am still using only dice with printed numbers, I want to focus on addition not counting dots.  Then I found two 6 sided dice with the numbers 1-6 on them.  All of the dice look a little different (one blue, one green, one small white, one large white).   I drew blanks on the white board to represent a double digit addition problem and rolled the dice.  Each die was assigned a blank (so that the ones place could only get up to a 9, we have not started regrouping or carrying yet) and I worked the addition problem.  Then I took that number of base ten blocks and added it to my pile.  The first player to get the thousand block, wins.

Of course we ran out of base ten blocks about halfway through (there are only ten 100 flats), but we just pulled out the cuisenaire rods and kept playing.  Honey won, of course.  She had no problem working the problems, so I won’t make her do the ones in the book.

New Reading Game.

February 17, 2009

Edited to add pictures, scroll down.

As we work through the Reading Reflex book, we have hit the place where Honey is learning instead of reviewing.  She does not know what sound <sh> makes.  She does not know what letters represent the /sh/ sound.  Sh is good at guessing, but she does not really KNOW it.  So it is time to bring in more games.  Reading Reflex recommends introducing one sound at a time so this game will work on the new /sh/ sound and review the vowel sounds (I think that she still mixes them up sometimes). 

(My goal is to make this today, this is how I plan to make it.)

First I will draw a game board with 50-80 spaces on it.  Then I will print out small horse pictures (Enchanted learning is a good place to find little pictures.)  and glue them on the game board.  While the game board is still blank, I will cover it with clear contact paper (similar to laminating it).  Then I will fill in the spaces with the vowels and sh with a wet-erase (visa-vis/overhead) marker.  These do not smear or smell like dry erase markers do.  This way, when she gets this sound down, I can erase the board and put new sounds on it.  I have several blank dice, and I will write the vowels and sh and maybe a ‘go double’ on one. (Again using the wet erase marker.)   Each player will roll the die, and move their piece (I’m going to snag some horses from our manipulatives.  Honey is really into horses right now.)  to the next space that matches the die.  A roll of go double, means to roll again and move your piece to the second matching space.  With each roll, the player has to say the sound on the die, this is where the learning occurs, the game just keeps it fun.

I will post pictures after I have finished the game.  We have a busy day planned today, but I hope to find time to make this game and to play it with Honey.  I don’t think that I will let the other girls play.  Kiddo has these sounds down, and Honey does not need to be reminded of that.


Edited to Add pictures:


Honey decided to help with the making of the game board, so it has a lot more color than I would have done.  I don’t care a lot about how it looks as long as it works, Honey is the opposite.   After drawing the board, I added a river and grass and colored the path brown.  Honey used her horse stamps at the START and FINISH.

We have played it several times and I kept winning, even when I gave Honey a head start!  I guess that learning to lose with a good attitude can be added to our lessons for the day.  She did have some trouble with the /sh/ sound, but after several games was doing better.  It will be interesting to see how she does when we introduce /ch/.

More Chutes and Ladders

February 15, 2009

We have been playing a lot of Chutes and Ladders lately.  It lends itself so easily to math games, and it is easy to get in a rut when everyone enjoys playing.  The girls and I all played tonight.  We used a 20 sided die and a 12 sided die.  Each person had to subtract the smaller number from the bigger and if both numbers were the same then you lose a turn.  It was fun playing with four people (maybe because I won, I rarely do). 

Honey is doing a lot better in math now.  She is doing one lesson a day in her workbook and we still have time to play a game or two.  The workbook is just introducing subtraction.  She has understood the concept for a long time and it is nice to see that she is converting her addition facts into subtraction facts.   4+4=8 so of course 8-4=4.  She is not quite automatic on all of her addition facts, so there is still some working out of the subtraction facts, but she is getting there.  I am adding in drilling of subtraction to our rotation of math games.  I do not want to have a repeat of the addition fiasco.

My review of Reading Reflex.

January 30, 2009

Reading Reflex is the book that I have decided to use with helping Honey to read.  She can read at about a mid-first grade level according to our lovely school system (note the dripping sarcasm here).  The main problem is that she has plateaued.  She is not advancing much, and it is obvious that she is trying to memorize the shape of the words instead of reading the sounds.  So with this in mind, I started reading Reading Reflex.

The first chapter starts out with the history of reading instruction.  It explains the differences between “whole language” and “phonics” and how they are often combined.  Then it talks about how kids learn to read and a little about their system for teaching reading. 

Chapter two talks about how to implement the following chapters and how to teach their system.  It was rather boring, but it included some needed information, so it is a must read.   At the end of the chapter is a test to give the child  to see what problems they are having.  This was very enlightening to me.  Some of the test were the same as what the school gave Honey.   The first test has you sounding out words for your child to see if they can hear the word from the sounds.  I thought that Honey would do great on this one, and she did on the three and four sound words, but missed some of the five sound words.  The next test had Honey telling me the sounds in words.  This one the school gave her.  They said she did fine on it (low side of normal, but normal none the less).  She did fine on the three sound words, but missed every four sound word.  I’m starting to see a pattern here.  She did the same thing on the final test, got the three sound words and missed the four sound words.  After this chapter, I could see where Honey needed work.  There was also a test that showed how many letter sound Honey knew.  I was surprised at how many she did not know. 

Chapter three includes lesson plans for teaching letter sounds and reading three sound words.  I started this chapter with Honey this week.  She really does not need most of the lessons, but it is good review, teaches us both how to use this system, and it filled in a few holes that I did not know were there.  For instance, Honey was using letter tiles to make words.  Then I would give her a new word and have her change the old one to make the new one.  (Bug to Dug)  She did fine with this, but when I asked her to change Dug to Dig she made Dui.  I had her read the sounds and she changed it to Dig, but she made this mistake several times.  Today, we reviewed this and she made no mistakes.

Sometime next week, we will start chapter four.  Chapter four is four sound words.  I expect that we will spend a lot longer on chapter four than on chapter three.  Hopefully this is where we will make a lot of progress.  Hopefully this is where we see a light bulb go on in Honey’s head.  I am looking forward to chapter four. 

Chapter five focuses on sounds that are represented by two or more letters.  I expect this chapter to be one that helps Honey a lot too.  I can’t wait to get there. 

Chapter six talks about multi-syllable words.  I have not read this chapter yet, and I have heard (and from skimming the chapter, it looks like this is true)  that the format is somewhat different than the earlier chapters.  I am willing to work with it, if need be, to make it work. 

The main thing that this book has helped with is that it breaks reading into its sub-skills.  It tells you what the sub-skills are so that you can teach them.  For some reason, I was not able to figure this out by myself.  I have no problem figuring out the sub-skills of math, breaking it down and putting it back together.  I have done a lot of this in the past few weeks, and I am beginning to see results.  Now that I know how to do this with reading, I expect to see some improvement in a few weeks too.  The other thing I have learned, is how to measure these sub-skills.  When I have Honey read to me, I can see that there are problems.  She can’t read words that I think that she should be able to read, but I don’t know why.  Until I read this book, I couldn’t see the sub-skills that were missing.  Now it is clear.  Now I have hope.

ETA (March 2010): I posted this a year ago, and Honey has made great progress.  In Aug. (2009) I started her with Level 1 of All About Spelling.  It is a spelling program, but I am using it as a reading program.  I have her practice reading each word as well as spelling each word.  It is interesting to look back at this post because she still struggles with hearing and blending words with many sounds.  (She can do 4 sound words pretty well, but still has trouble with 5 and 6 sound words.)

Honey’s math is going much better these days.

January 29, 2009

I am transitioning Honey back into her math book.  She still doesn’t like the book, but she now CAN do the work.  Backing up and getting those facts down has worked wonders for her.  We still play a math game every day, and the bookwork is taking two days to do one lesson, but I am so pleased that she can actually do it now.  I was worried about the double digit addition.  Did she understand it, how hard would it be to teach it to her?  It turns out that she does seem to understand it, she just couldn’t do it because she didn’t know the basic facts. 

Chutes and Ladders is still our favorite game to play.  She likes it and it is so easy to turn it into a math lesson.  This week we have played it in these ways:

Use one 10 sided die (0-9) and double the number on the die to find out how far to move.  (More practice on doubles)

Use all the dice that you can find and add them up to find out how far to move.  (More practice on making tens.)

Use one 20 sided die (1-20) and make a rule of no counting spaces.  Every time you roll, you add the number that you rolled to the number that you are on.  The answer is where you move to.  We used magnetic numbers on a cookie sheet to work the problems.  There was a problem with this game though.  Some of the addition problems we rolled included renaming (carrying) and she has not been taught that.  I ended up working those problems for her, and we went on with the game.  When we do get to renaming, we will play this one again!

I don’t know if I will stick with this math program (Horizons) next year or not.  I don’t really like it for Honey, but I can make it work.  I am tempted to try Right Start, but it is so expensive, and Singapore is working for Kiddo, so there will be no one to pass it down to.  I have a few months before I need to decide, so I will leave that decision until then.

Some things that I am learning about twice exceptional kids.

January 23, 2009

Twice exceptional.  2E.  That’s what kids who are gifted and have a learning disability are called.  I know all about gifted kids.  Dearie is a gifted kid.  It has been a challenge to raise and educate her, but she reminds me a lot of me and that makes it easier.  I am beginning to think that Honey is 2E.  She is very smart, but sometimes she just doesn’t ‘get’ stuff.  Today we were playing a math game.  We were playing with 3 dice that have numbers up to 6 on them, and she had to add up the three numbers to find out how far to move.  Several times she rolled numbers that worked out to 3+4.  After about 3 or 4 of these rolls, she started answering them with out figuring out the answer.  I thought to myself that she was getting this fact down.  Cool!  Then her sisters came over and wanted to play.  That sounded like fun to everyone, so they joined us.  3+4 came up again  and she was clueless.  I suspect it was the chaos that comes from having 3 kids playing a crazy board game.  She seems to need a lot of review to get these things down.

One of the things that I have just read about is how visual kids (Honey will tell you that she thinks in pictures) miss out on language practice because they think in pictures not words.  Kiddo thinks in words.  She often thinks outloud.  It can drive a person crazy!  But Honey doesn’t do this, so maybe she is not getting as much practice at language as a kid who thinks in words.  I do think that it helps that she has sisters to play and talk with.  It is not like she is a quiet child.

Another thing that was an Ahh Ha moment for me has to do with 2E kids.  Gifted kids often learn that everything academic is easy.  So much so that they really don’t learn how to learn.  This is why Dearie is in advanced classes.  I want her to have to work to learn (it isn’t really working though, learning is so easy for her).  2E kids on the other hand learn that if it doesn’t come easily, then they can just forget it. It will be too hard.  Everything is either too easy or too hard.  This describes Honey perfectly.  She has learned that if it doesn’t come easy that it is better to just give up.  Looking back I can see this in several areas.  In fact, I have encouraged it in some ways.  Learning is supposed to be easy.  It is for Dearie and Kiddo.  If it is not easy, then I would just wait awhile hoping that later it would come easily.  But some things, such as reading and memorizing math facts, have never been easy for Honey.  They probably never will be.  She will have to work hard in order to learn them.  She can do this, I am sure, but it won’t be easy.  On the other hand, I think that learning how to work hard to learn things is a life lesson worth learning.  I am trying hard to teach it to Dearie and Kiddo.  Honey will just learn it just from being who she is.

I am so glad that we homeschool.  We started homeschooling because I wanted Dearie to be challenged, not just skate through school.  And once we started, it was clear that homeschooling was a good fit for our family.  Homeschooling has turned out to be very good for Honey.  If she were in school, I but that she would be flying under the wire.  She is so good at making you think that she knows stuff that she doesn’t.  She can read books by looking at the pictures and guessing from the context.  It is really amazing how well she can do.  And yet, if you ask her to read a nonsense word, she has no clue.  If you ask her to read words out of context, forget it, she just can’t.   If she did not have one on one instruction, I’m not sure that her problems would have been caught so early.

More Math Games

January 9, 2009

Honey really likes to play Chutes and Ladders.   Its a good thing, because we have been playing it a lot.  Today we worked on adding numbers to make 10.  This is important in mental math, because if you know that 6+4=10 then you can add 16+4 in your head.  You can also add 16 + 5 by thinking 16+4+1.    So the game we played today worked on putting numbers together to make 10.  So this is the way that we played it today: 

Add the rule that you can only move 10 at a time.

Roll all of the crazy dice that we have (10 sided dice, 4 sided dice, 20 sided dice, 6 sided dice with different combination of numbers on them, and every other die that I could find that had numbers printed on it.  I didn’t use any dice with dots on them.) 

Put the dice together in combinations that make 10.  If you can find three combinations that make 10, then you can move 30 spaces.    (I even let her use the 20 sided die and another die to add up to 20 and then move 20 spaces.)



We played this one a couple of times.  She enjoyed it.  It really seemed to help her work on those math facts that add up to 10.  She didn’t know them when we started, but by the end of the second game she did seem to know some.  I think that we will play this one again.

A website for making math worksheets.

January 5, 2009

I have found a great website for making math worksheets.  Of course, I could make them myself, it’s not hard, it just takes time.  This website saves me time.  You can pick what numbers you want to focus on, and they have a couple of different formats to choose from.  Mostly it is a random number generator that prints out math problems. 

Honey is currently working on problems from the first grade arithmetic section.  She is doing problems that are under 10 (the answer is 9 or under),  and doubles and near doubles.  These worksheets provide her a little challenge without being overwhelming.  They are ‘Just Right.’   When her needs change, I can change the worksheets to meet her where she is.  A couple of weeks ago she was doing problems from the Kindergarten section, but she mastered them so quickly that I moved her up.  Homeschooling this child is a challenge (good thing I like a challenge), but it is so nice to be able to give her just what she needs.

Chutes and Ladders.

December 31, 2008

We are not doing a lot of school this week, but we are doing some, mostly to give everyone something to do.  For math, Honey is still playing math games.  Today, I had her do a math worksheet.  She did great.  It is getting easier for her.  I think that I will introduce double digit addition again soon.  For the rest of math time we played Chutes and Ladders.  I like using it for math because the game is long enough even if we use dice that give us big numbers.   Here are several ways to play it.

Use a 10 sided die.  (0 to 9) Double the number shown on the die and move that many spaces.

Use a 4 sided die and a 6 sided die that only goes from 2 to 5 (from some game we have, it has 2 threes, 2 fours, a two and a five )

Use 8 sided die and 4 sided die

Use flash cards.  Pick a card, answer it, and move that many spaces.

More counting practice.

December 15, 2008

Honey is still getting lots of counting practice.  Last night on the way home she counted all of the houses with Christmas decorations.  She got all the way up to 80.  Today while she was waiting for me to get the tree out, Dh told her to count to 100.  She is still getting stuck occasionally.  I’m not sure how to help her other than to have her count and count and count and count.  But, she doesn’t really like to count.  It takes a lot of creativity with this kid.  The other day I had her count out 100 broken toys to throw away.  I guess that we will get very familiar with 100 around here before this is over.

The best way to practice counting by fives.

December 5, 2008

The best way to practice counting by fives is to count nickles.  It is even better if you are counting money that you had forgotten that you had.  It is even better if the amounts add up to over five dollars.  Yep!  That has to be the best way to practice counting by fives.

Honey found some coins yesterday when she was cleaning out her desk.  When she and I added them up it came to $6.40.  Mostly in nickles.  She got a lot of practice counting today.

School or Life?

December 5, 2008

Yesterday was one of those days were we skipped school, or did we?  We played the estimating game at breakfast, so Honey got to practice counting.  Dearie did a lot of practicing Bible Bowl.  Everyone worked on their kids sale projects.  Everyone helped to clean house.  Dearie and Honey and even Kiddo practiced the piano.  (No, Kiddo is not taking lessons yet, but she does know a few songs out of the first book and loves to ‘practice’ them.)  Everyone watched the first part of a NOVA video about building a bridge over the Mississippi.  (We’ll watch the rest today.) 

So lets see, we did:



Home Ec (Cleaning)

Art (Sewing, or is that part of home Ec?)



Maybe it wasn’t such a bad day afterall.  At least I got the house clean.

What the kids do in their free time.

December 4, 2008

The girls have been working on their things for the Christmas Kids sale.  Every year our homeschool group hosts a sale where the kids make things and sell them.  The girls are very excited and have been working very hard.  They are making rice bags (for the microwave or freezer) and pillows.  They are turning out better than I thought that they would.  Kiddo made the pillows in the middle of the picture. 




Dearie made this pattern.



Honey made this one.




And this is Kiddo’s own creation.  We had some beans around for a math game and she turned them into patterns.



The triangle was done by Honey and the Octagon by Dearie.




And one more by Kiddo.  (That’s a 4-sided die in the middle.)



I always take pictures of their creations, because it is cheaper than storing what they made forever!

How to help an older child practice counting.

December 4, 2008

Now that I have backed Honey up in math, I am finding that there are a lot of things that I thought that she knew that she doesn’t.  For one, she can’t count to a hundred.  She mixes up thirty and forty (and sometimes leaves out one) and she sometimes gets mixed up in the seventies and eighties.  This is the kind of thing that she has been “faking.”  Kiddo can do it, so Honey would let her. 

Kiddo and Dearie both learn by hearing, so we did a lot of counting in the car.  Now, I can see that this is why Honey never really “got it.”  If she was an auditory learner, she would have gotten it just by listening to her sisters, (thats how Kiddo got it) but that wasn’t enough for Honey.  She needed to do it herself.  (I still haven’t figured out how to make this one visual.  Maybe I need to get out the hundreds chart.)  Of course, if your little sister can do something, why would you want to show everyone that you can’t do it?  Once Kiddo learned to count, Honey wouldn’t even try any more.

So now that I know that Honey needs more practice, I have started playing the estimating game with the girls.  I fill a jar with small objects and put it on the table.  Everyone guesses how many objects are in the jar.  Then Honey counts out the objects and we see who won.  With her visual bent, Honey is pretty good at

The point of the game.

November 28, 2008

We have been playing a guessing (estimating) game every day at breakfast or lunch.  Honey is pretty good at estimating and often wins the game, but estimating is not the point of the game. 

Everyday, I put a cup full of small items on the table.  Everyone guesses how many things are in the cup.  (If you can get within ten of the actual number you win a prize. )  Then Honey counts the items in the cup and we see if anyone won.  The point of the game is to get Honey to count.  When we started last week she could not count to 100 without help, now she can!  That is the point of the game.  If all of the girls learn some estimating skills in the process, who am I to complain?

More Math Talk

November 24, 2008

I have been looking around at different math programs again.  I don’t think that we are going to change right now, but it doesn’t hurt to know what is out there.  I found an interesting teaching tool in some of the programs that I looked at.  Right Start Math teaches children to call the numbers by names that they (the math program) made up.  Math-U-See does the same thing.  The numbers that they rename are the teen numbers.  Think about it, 31 and 13 both start with thir…  41 and 14 both start with four.  No wonder some kids mix them up.  They teach kids to call them one-ten three, or onety-three (depending on the program).  The funniest thing about this, two of my kids figured this out for themselves.  Kiddo likes to count the numbers ‘her’ way. (Dearie did the same thing a few years ago.)  Counting by tens she would call them onety, twoty, threety, fourty, fivety, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, and a hundred.  She always smiles real big when she gets to forty because whoever named the numbers got that one right.  The same for sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety. 

 I think that I may see if I can get Honey to use these ‘nicknames.’  She does mix up the teens with their opposites (13 and 31), maybe this would help.

Drilling doubles

November 20, 2008

To help Honey learn her doubles (8+8, 9+9, 7+7) we played a fun game today.  I took an old egg carton and wrote the numbers 1-9 (used the upper numbers more than once) in the bottom of each spot.  Then we were ready.  First I rolled two dice and added them together and counted out that number of beans.  Then we put the beans in the egg carton and shut the lid and shook it up good.  Then we opened the lid and for every number that had a bean on it, I had to add it to itself.  Honey decided that I had to make some mistakes or it wouldn’t be fair.  I said OK, but if I make a mistake, you have to catch it or I get to keep the beans.  If I got the answer right, I kept the bean, if it was wrong we through it out.  I added up my beans at the end and that was my score for my turn.  Then Honey took her turn. 

She had a blast with this one.  There was enough chance in it to keep it fun (the dice deciding the number of beans) but there was also a lot of math in it (adding up dice, doubling numbers).   We will play this one again.

Teaching Math to a Visual Kid.

November 19, 2008

Honey is a very visual kid.  She sees things that others don’t see.  I’m not sure, but I think that she thinks in pictures.  Memorizing math facts has been very difficult for her.  We came up with a way to help her memorize a few of her math facts.  I wrote 8 + 8 = 16 on a piece of construction paper and then she changed the numbers into pictures.  The story that she made up is that Mr. and Mrs. 8 are bakers and they baked 16 cupcakes


The pictures really seem to have helped. 

For 7+7 = 14 she made crocodiles that ate 14 fish.

And for 9 + 9 = 18 she drew pretty girls and a queen.


Sometimes math can be fun.