Category Archives: Learning Activities

Alphabet Monster

Alphabet Monster GraphicYou may not know this, but my home is over run by monsters.

I don’t know why so many games I make up seems to have monsters in them, but the kids love them, so why quit? (See Garbage Monster for an example.)

Alphabet Monster is one of our favorite monster games. It’s been around since Pepper (11) was just two years old, and I started playing around with teaching her to read. That means that Alphabet Monster is older than my decision to homeschool–wow! Now I’m playing it with my youngest, Bok Choy (5), and it’s still as fun as ever . . . although it has gone through a few variations through the years.

It’s a great game when you’re just teaching the sounds that go with each letter. I’ve played it with just one kid or with all four kids at the same time. And it’s fabulous for the kid who just can’t seem to sit still.

Here’s how you play: Continue reading



Filed under Games, Learning Activities

Going Fishing

We’ve been catching a lot of fish at my house over the last few days . . . and they taste a lot like chocolate!

Bok Choy (5) has been asking to play our fishing math game every day for the last week. It’s easy to pull together, quick to play, and easy to clean up–so it’s also one of MY favorite games to play.

Here’s how you can fish in your house: Continue reading

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Filed under Games, Learning Activities

How to Teach Handwriting in 8 Easy Steps

Despite what you might think, teaching handwriting to your seven year old isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Just follow these eight easy steps . . .

Step 1: Decide that your seven year old needs to learn how to correctly form her letters, despite her hesitancy to try anything new and hard. Determine that her resistance to handwriting is actually a product of fear–and not because she is incapable or unready. Determine that this is something you feel ready to require her to do.

Step 2: Spend an afternoon looking through your boxes and shelves of curriculum for the handwriting workbooks you were given years ago. After a fruitless search, determine that you must have given away that curriculum at some point because you decided you didn’t believe in workbooks any more. Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories, Learning Activities, Resources and Reviews

Math Magic

Time for another great little gem that my family found the other day.

Math and Donald Duck. Who knew that such a combination could be so entertaining? On a day when I could do little more than slap some food on the counter for lunch, this served for a great educational diversion.

And my kids, who are enamored of Pythagoras because we’ve read “What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras,” and “Pythagoras and the Ratios” by Julie Ellis recently, spent the next few days pointing out golden rectangles wherever they could find them.


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Filed under Experiences, Resources and Reviews, Stories

Tickets, Please!

So many times, what you CALL an activity determines how FUN the activity is. (Remember Garbage Monster?)

So it is with “ticket math,” another little gem of a game that we pull out from time to time to review facts (mostly math).

Here’s how you play: Continue reading

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Garbage Monster

What do you get when you combine overflowing garbages, a large empty white garbage sack, a black sharpie, and two boys who aren’t thrilled about working with the family in the morning?

Garbage Monster! Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories, Games

It Happened!

Is it possible to have complete faith in something and still have fear lurk in the corners?

I figure it must be . . . because that’s how I often feel about the methods I use to homeschool. Even though I believe with all my heart that inspiring the desire to learn will be more effective in the long run than requiring my children to slave away at worksheets and spelling lists, I still worry when our “school work” looks nothing like what I think a “normal” schooling should look like.

On days when one child chooses to do nothing but embroider letters on to a piece of cloth, the fear creeps up and sometimes I have to go have a little talk with myself in my room.

“Deep breath, it will be okay,” I tell myself. “Owning their own learning is more important than doing math problems. They’ll get there. When the time is right, they’ll motivate themselves to do the kind of learning that they’ll need to be successful in life . . . to get into college . . . to get a job. Trust the process. Trust them. Truuuuuuuust them!”

Then my kids start asking through the bedroom door why they can hear weird chanting. It’s not a good thing. . . .

However, the other day, a breakthrough of momentous proportions occurred. I wanted to leap for joy. I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I wanted to proclaim, “It happened!”

Here’s how it went down: Continue reading


Filed under Examples and Stories, Purpose