Category Archives: math

Week 13

Memory Verse: Finally, Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Five in a Row: The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl (studying the medieval period)

Pre-K Literature: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (studying weather and storms)

Read Aloud: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Photos from the Last Week:

He begs to be the one to do our daily reading and has no trouble navigating his way through the Bible. I’m so proud of him and his growing interest in it!


We’re working on a list of Bible verses pertaining to taking care of the needy. There’s a lot in there about it!

She practiced writing her cousins names.


After learning all about the electoral college and how a candidate wins the election, they came along to observe the voting (early voting).





We finally got to get out my “Place Value Village” that goes along with her math lessons. I found the perfect boxes at The Container Store that are just the right size, very sturdy, can be stored inside one another when put away, and have magnetic closures, which Caroline is obsessed with!

Counting Ones (pinto beans)


A new group of ten moves to the Tens House.


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Something else I’ve added to my repertoire this year is reproducible worksheets for extra practice. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of worksheet after worksheet when it comes to schooling and I wholeheartedly believe hands-on activities are much more effective, but as my oldest advances in age, I think it benefits him to get extra practice in the areas that I see are lacking in our curriculum. With math in particular, I am finding this very necessary. I love Math-U-See, but because it’s a mastery program and focuses mainly on one skill at a time, I am wanting to supplement it with practice on the things that are not the current focus right now. Elliot absolutely loves learning new math skills and so it excites him to get a variety of concepts to practice. He is also very much a workbook/worksheet kind of kid. The the more I add, the more thrilled he is. He feels accomplished completing this kind of stuff. For kids who are intimidated by too much of this thing or find it to be a drag, this probably wouldn’t enhance their experience.
I’ve found several great resources, both online and in stores. I find them to be much easier than hunting down several printable worksheets online. With one of these books I can get around 40 activities quickly and simply. I make copies of the pages, so that I can reuse all of these over again with Caroline (or again with Elliot if he wants to do them again), and store them away in an expandable file folder. On days when our workload looks light, I can grab one on the subject I think he could use practice on and add it to one of his drawers of work for the day. He’s has really enjoyed having some new things to work on.



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Week 5

Memory Verse: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (8/27-9/14)

Hymn: The Solid Rock (8/27-8/28)

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh (7/30-9/28)

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (7/30-9/28)

Five in a Row: The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco (studying beekeeping) (8/27-9/14) (

Pre-K Literature: Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson (studying pioneers and apples) (8/27-9/14)

Read Aloud: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Few Photos From Last Week

Caroline has really been enjoying Math Lessons for a Living Education.





We came across the word “heir” in our Bible reading and decided to make it our word of the week.


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What’s New For Next Year

I’ve been super busy planning for next year these last few weeks. We’re keeping a lot of our favorites from this year (such as Math-U-See, Explode the Code, A Reason for Handwriting, Growing with Grammar, Pathway Readers, Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers, and Five in a Row) but we’re also going to be trying out a few new things as well. Here’s what’s new for next year.

We’re adding art because the kids have shown a real interest in doing more art work. This is a new curriculum written by How Great Thou Art. There are around sixty Bible stories in it with discussion questions and an art lesson for each one. I love that it’s so much more than just art!


In addition to the book, you get all of the pages for the art lessons that you can copy as needed to use with however many students you have.

I’m starting Caroline on a math curriculum next year. I wanted something gentle, fun and effective and I came across this. It’s a Charlotte Mason style curriculum, so it’s written in story-form (which is extremely unique for a math curriculum). It’s the story of a set of twins who go visit their grandparent’s farm for the summer and all of their adventures.

All the extras you need are included in the back of the book and need only to be laminated for durability.

How cute is this?!


We’ll also be adding a Worldview curriculum for the three of us to do together. This is a new series written by Apologia (well-known for their excellent science curriculum). There are four books in the entire series and we’ll be covering one per year. We’ll also be keeping a notebook together where we’ll jot down memory verses, key terms, and answers to discussion questions. I think the kids will really grow in their understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. I’m super excited!


And last, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I am doing for literature next year. Elliot and I will be continuing our beloved Five in A Row. I am going to be using titles from both volume three and four with him because I think he will be ready to move on to a more challenging literature program in third grade (I’m looking at a Total Language Plus or Progeny Press). We’ll be doing a total of eighteen FIAR books next year! For Caroline, I’ve come up with something on my own. We’re doing a family theme throughout the whole year and we’ll be reading a variety of books written about different family relationships. We’ll cover mother, father, siblings, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I’ll also be using those books as a starting point for unit studies on a variety of topics like seasons, weather, money, etc.

Here are some of the books her and I will be reading together next year. She will also have eighteen total books for the year.


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Handwriting….and Workbags

Handwriting and workbags have nothing to do with one another, but I’m combining the two topics for this blog entry to update how we’re liking some of the things we’ve been using this year.

For handwriting we’re still using A Reason For Handwriting and we really like it. He has four lessons in his book each week that have him practice writing words from the verse for that week. Then at the end of the week he picks a special border sheet from the back of the book to write his verse on in his very best handwriting and he is supposed to send it to a friend or family member. (That is supposed to be done Friday, but we do it Thursday after the final lesson so that we can take a break on Friday.) Elliot has enjoyed all aspects of this…he loves picking the border sheet, writing in his best handwriting, coloring it, and running it out to the mailbox to his recipient of choice when he’s all done. I love that he’s learning more scripture and the importance of good penmanship for the purpose of glorifying God (the REASON for handwriting)!




Caroline has really been enjoying her workbags and she gets very excited when I tell her I’ve got something new for her to try. It’s been really handy for me to have something easy to grab for those moments when I’m doing something with Elliot and need to occupy her (which happens SO often). When I pulled out her clothespin counting bag today, Elliot was green with envy that she had something so fun to do. I was really happy to remember that I made him a similar game for practicing math facts so I pulled it out too and they both had a blast doing their workbags. It’s made me realize I’d like to invest some more time in making even more activities like these to have on hand.





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One of my big purchases at the Homeschool Book Fair was Math-U-See. I had spent some time researching and deciding whether we were going to continue using the math curriculum we used last year or if we would try something new, and after hearing rave reviews from so many people, I decided on switching to Math-U-See. It seems perfect for Elliot who is very visual and can easily understand things upon seeing how they work.

What’s unique about this curriculum is that the instruction is on DVD. At the beginning of each week we’ll watch Mr. Demme (author and creator) teach the new lesson and then for the remainder of the week (or however long it takes to achieve mastery of the skill) he’ll practice what he’s learned. Mr. Demme teaches each lesson using special manipulatives and then we work through problems using our own set of the manipulatives. These manipulatives are used from Kindergarten all the way up through Algebra. Assuming we like it and use it for several years, I like that the vocabulary used, the way things are taught, and the manipulatives will all be the same. There won’t be any flip-flopping around or new ways of thinking about a concept from year to year. It’s simply building upon the concepts that have already been learned, taught in the same style. I have high hopes for it! Both of my kids are already in love with the idea. They adore their “Math-U-See blocks” and Elliot keeps asking when the math lessons are going to start. Caroline is already memorizing the colors of each number of block. She’s quite excited that the three blocks (her age) are pink! I think she’ll be soaking this up as she watches Elliot this year, so I’m thinking we’ll probably start her on the Primer the following year when she’s four.

Not only is it a great product but I also enjoy knowing the people behind it are great too. I heard Steve Demme speak at the Homeschool Book fair and he is an incredible Christian father of four boys and former homeschooling Dad himself. He had some great thoughts on strengthening the homeschooling family (and surprisingly very little to say about math!) so I really like the idea of buying his products, knowing that he values exactly what we do. Even though he sells a math curriculum, he would tell you that other things (like reading the Bible together) are more important to the homeschooling family than the math curriculum. How cool is that?

We’ve been playing with the manipulatives a bit lately…..because it helps familiarize him with them and it’s just fun!

“It’s a Math-U-See sandwich.”

Here I demonstrated to Elliot how we can put the addition facts for ten on the one-hundred block. Pretty neato! He’s definitely getting a feel for “seeing the math”.

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Another One Bites the Dust

Elliot finished his math book today. He keeps saying, “I can’t believe I’m finishing all these workbooks so quickly!” Yep, they’re dropping like flies around here lately.

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Here’s Elliot working with our “base ten cards”.

Here’s Elliot working with our “base ten cards”.

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Place Value

Today for math we learned about place value. I was a little caught off guard when I recently noticed the lesson in his math curriculum was coming up and I really wanted to use base ten blocks, since Elliot is such a visual learner, but I had no such luck getting my hands on some before we got to the lesson. I ended up just making my own with card stock and it worked perfectly. He picked up on it so quickly. He really makes teaching him so easy! I think I may end up buying a set of base ten blocks anyhow, considering that my cards were already getting bent after one day and he LOVED using them and I expect for him to ask for them every day.

“Ones, tens, and one hundreds. Oh yeah, I totally get it!”

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Math Target Game

I can’t quite remember where I got the idea for this game that I made back at the beginning of school. It might have been from a library book on math activities. Now that Elliot is memorizing a lot of his math facts and lately he’s been specifically working on subtraction, I thought it would be a good time to use it for extra practice. You begin with ten counters and the goal is to be the first to get down to zero. You take turns tossing a coin to the target and then you subtract the number you get from the number of counters you have. To remove the counters, you must first say the subtraction problem and the answer. After a few games, we also decided to add in the rule that if you land on a number higher than the number of counters you have, you cannot go down to zero anyway. You have to be able to subtract exactly the right numbers to get you down to zero. Elliot kept landing on the bulls-eye (which we decided will earn you 2 extra tries) so we decided we really needed that rule to be in place if we actually wanted to play the game long enough to practice our subtraction.

They were both so anxious to try it out.

Caroline and I worked as a team. She did the tossing and I did the subtracting.

Two more left!

He quickly became quite skilled at aiming for a particular number and landing right on it.

“Two minus two is zero! I win!”

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