Topics of Study:December

Last week I had snow activities for a topic to study. This week I thought I would mention baking. Yes, you can count baking as part of your schooling. So many subjects are included in this fun activity. Math (measuring), following directions, reading (directions), Social Studies (origin of the treat), and the character trait patience! Baking can be done with all of your children (except babies?). It does require patience and perhaps some early set-up on your part, but it is a fun family idea to get everyone involved. you can be as simple or elaborate as you want. How about trying the following?

  • Chocolate covered pretzels (white, chocolate, add sprinkles, peppermint pieces, etc.)
  • 3 Minute Fudge (4.5 stars from thousands of reviews)
  • Sugar Cookie cutouts
  • Brownies (iced with peppermint sprinkles)
  • Buckeyes (Totally worth the time and the kids love rolling the balls)
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms (5 stars from thousands of reviews)
  • Italian Wedding Cookies (In honor of my mom who used to make these.)
  • Caramels (In honor of my aunt) You can make the candy and your child(ren) can roll them up into wax paper.

Can you tell I am feeling nostalgic? Do you have a favorite recipe that you make with your family? Please share.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

The Summer Slump

Screen Shot 2020-05-18 at 6.28.31 AMWhen I meet with parents for homeschool assessments I recommend their child read some each day throughout the summer and if they are younger, math facts are reviewed too. As much as I hated math packets myself as a youngster, I can look back and see the value for having to review.

Did you know that there really is such a thing as “the summer slump”? According the an article I read in Psychology Today it states, “A systematic review of 39 studies published in 1996 found summer loss equaled about one month of classroom learning, and students tended to regress more in math skills compared to reading skills.” You can read the full article here: Psychology Today

Wow! And you thought that your son was just pulling your leg  about not remembering or your daughter just didn’t want to start school again in August. The article goes on to say that if we “encourage kids to stay engaged in learning throughout the summer, students may not only maintain, but improve their knowledge. ”

You can make learning more enjoyable than just drill, drill, drilling those math facts. Math card games are fun and an easy one to play is War. You can do this for addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. Take out the face cards and divide the cards evenly among the players. Each person turns over one card and the person with the highest number must (in this case) add the numbers together. If they answer correctly, then they get to keep your card and theirs and the game continues. There is war if two players turn over the same number (a two, for instance). Each player must lay down three more cards and turn the fourth card face-up. The person with the higher number then has to correctly add those cards together. If they do, they get all of the cards played in that round. One thing I tell my kids is that I may give the incorrect answer from time to time and if they catch me and can answer correctly, they get the cards I normally would have if I had answered correctly. The same thing goes for them. I usually give a lot of wrong answers because it keeps the child engaged, but I would only do this for a child who is reviewing and not one who is just learning their facts. The player who loses all their cards has lost the war.

You can also play Concentration. Write a math problem on one index card and the answer on another index card. For instance: 3 x 4 on one card and 12 on another card. Do this with as many problems as you like. Lay the cards upside down in rows in random order. Each person takes a turn by turning the card right side up. If they are able to match the problem with the answer, they get to go again until they do not find a match. If there is no match, then they must turn the cards face down and the next player gets their turn. The person with the most pairs is the winner. I would also have your daughter or son say the problem when they turn it over out loud and the answer (for instance, 2×6 equals 12) before turning over the second card to find the answer.

You can do a reward program (a treat or a movie night, etc.) for reading so many books or so many minutes per day. Be sure to ask your child about the book they are reading to see if they are comprehending what they have read.

Do you have any fun things you do for review with your children? Please share!

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

Free Math Apps for Kids


While I do not advocate plopping your daughter/ son in front of a computer or giving them a portable electronic device that has a math app on it and calling that teaching math, I do think technology can reach students. Sometimes you have taught multiplication facts with multi-sensory activities, games, and explained it in as many ways as you can possibly imagine and it still isn’t sticking. A math app can provide reinforcement and added practice to help a child with concepts. I have chosen a couple of websites that you can go to to read about various FREE apps for your student.

10 Free Math Apps for Students Here are ten apps that are recommended by teachers.

iGameMom gives her list and descriptions of her ten favorite math apps.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~



Fun Math Activities and Games

Math, Kids, Thinker

Mathematical concepts can be difficult at times. You may be at the point where you are wondering how you can teach the concept one-more-time. Hands-on activities are helpful for helping children make the transition from concrete to abstract thinking. Here are some ideas that you can use.

Graphing– Have your daughter or son write down a list of ideas (s)he can poll others about their likes or dislikes. Afterward, have your student graph the results. For instance, ask a question such as, “Would you rather have chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream?” You can even create an online survey to send to out of town friends and family. An added bonus is your student is using other skills that are incorporated into this activity- language arts- writing questions, sharing the results; technology, and art- creating and coloring the graph. Two easy to use FREE survey generators are:

  • Survey Monkey
  • Google Forms

Not everyone wants their child to use the computer for math drills so I am going to list some games you can play with things around your home.  I will have online games for you in the near future.

Get to 101 

  • You will need one dice
  • a pencil for each player
  • a piece of paper for each player

The goal is to roll the dice and add the numbers. The first person to get to 101 wins. Each person takes a turn rolling the die, strategizing to count the number at face value or multiply it by 10. For example, if you roll a six, you can keep that number or turn it into 60. Keep a tally of each round until one person reaches 101. This can be adapted by setting the number lower should you have a young student.

One Meter Dash (Metrics) You and your pupil look around the house for four items you think add up to one meter long. Measure and record how close your estimations were. The person closest to a meter wins.

Jumping Beans Do you have a wiggly child who needs to move? Try this game. Using flashcards, show your child the card and you give an answer. If it is correct, they have to sit down. If you give them an incorrect answer, they remain standing. For example, 3 + 3 and you say 9. Since that is correct, they will have to sit down. If you show the flashcard 5 + 5 and say the answer is 11, then they will need to stand.

Tic -Tac- Toe Create several game boards to play this version of Tic-Tac-Toe.   Instead of a blank 3X3 grid, write in math problems. If your student can correctly answer the problem that is in the grid they get to mark that space. The first person to get 3 in a row wins. If no one wins that game, we say our cat (Oreo) wins. Tally the number of wins for each person or animal. 🙂  Who won?

Math Bingo I thought I came up with a fairly original idea, but not so! This website is amazing since it is a print and go for different math skills. CLICK HERE 

If you have a favorite math game that you play with your family, please share!

Have a great week of teaching and learning! ~Lisa~

 Some of the math game ideas are from

Snow Days When Homeschooling

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It’s hard to say you can’t get the kids to school due to bad weather if you homeschool. But, you can still have fun in the snow and make it educational too!

Math- Have everyone make an estimated guess as to how much snow you received. Go out and measure the snow. Give a sticker to the persona who came the closest to their estimation.

Science- A short animated video about snow and snowflakes will not only provide good information but also some great discussion. Did you know the largest snowflake ever recorded was oner 12 inches long? Dr. Binocs

Art- Make snowflakes to decorate the house. I have to tell you that I looked online for simple snowflake designs and my idea of “simple” and others is completely different. I just snip some designs out of the paper and hope for the best. I actually decided to try to make a snowflake to show you, but it only looked like a half of one, so make sure you experiment before having your daughter or son do it, otherwise you will have some mighty disappointed kiddos!

Physical Education– Of course, you and your child should go out in the snow. You can shovel the driveway, pack snowballs, make a snowman (if you get enough snow), make snow angels, or take a walk and observe how the plants look different when snow-covered.

Health- Discuss what you need to wear outside in cold weather. Talk about frostnip and frostbite and the signs so they are not caught unaware.  It’s hard to want to come in from the cold when the little ones are having fun, but it is important to do so to avoid having something serious happen to their skin. Mayo Clinic 

Make Snow Ice Cream     



  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 cups clean snow or shaved ice (more or less depending on the density of the snow)
  • optional (but strongly suggested) topping: sprinkles!


  1. In a large bowl, whisk milk, sugar, vanilla and salt together until combined. Go scoop up some fresh (clean!) snow, and immediately stir it into the milk mixture until you reach your desired consistency.  (The ice cream should be fluffy, not runny.  But it melts quickly, so dive in quickly.)
  2. Top with sprinkles or other ice cream toppings if desired, and enjoy!

Read books about winter and snow.

Have fun this winter.   ~ Lisa ~