Almost Unschooling Weekly Wrap-Up | January 6, 2017


Do you find motion sensitive lights a bit unnerving? I sure do! I mean, you don’t have to do anything to turn the light on. You just walk into a dark room and trust that the switch is going to do it’s thing on its own. The key to it is to just keep moving, the exact opposite of what your natural reaction is to darkness.

Faith is like that. When God tells you to move into a dark and unfamiliar area, you have to trust that He will dispel the darkness. The key is to just keep moving. If you stop and wait for the light, it won’t happen. Homeschooling is like that! When you first go into it, it is dark and unfamiliar. Just plow in and do it! Trust that God will light your way as you go!




If you are new to this blog, each week I try to categorize all the posts I do on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you can easily find the ones that fit your family. Subscribe in the upper the right-hand corner to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!





At the beginning of each year, create a time-capsule with pictures of your kids’ favorite things, memorable events from the last year and prayer for the new year. Bury your time-capsule in a closet somewhere so you can dig it out and look at it next New Year’s Day.


Tuesday was National Drinking Straw Day. If you missed it, you can still celebrate by giving your kids a bunch of straws so they can build, create art or play games with them. If you need ideas, get on Pinterest and look up “drinking straw activities”. There are hundreds of ideas!


Tired of toys and books scattered all over the place? Give each child a book bag and a “library card”. Let your kids “check out toys and books”, but no more than will fit in their bag. If they want more, they will have to return some items and check out more. Require that they present their library card when they check out items and that they keep their toys and books in the book bag when they aren’t being used. An older child could be the librarian. Keeping track of who has what could be a great record keeping activity!




Game of the Week: Testament Wheels










Even reluctant writers can list a few goals for 2017. Encourage your kids to think about what they’d like to learn or do in 2017 and incorporate those goals into your school plans!


Middle School – High School



Read or watch “Dr. Dolittle”. Then have your kids write a story about how their life would be different if they could talk to the animals.






Explore different ways to keep warm. Give your kids large and small plastic bags, and several different materials such as cotton balls, oatmeal, newspapers, different types of fabric, aluminum foil, packing peanuts, etc. Have them line the bigger bag with a material and then put the smaller bag inside that lining.

Then place cups of hot water in each. Be sure to put the same amount of water in each bag and have the cups the same size. Take and record their temperatures. After 15 and 30 minutes take and record their temperatures again. Which materials did the best job?

Have them experiment with leaving the fabric, newspapers and foil flat and then crumpling them up. What works best?  You can also vary this experiment by checking out how different amounts of water do with the same lining or using different shapes of cups with the same amount of water. What other ways can they think of to explore this concept?



Let your kids pick several things from your pantry to see which ones will dissolve. First look up the meaning of dissolve and read it. Make hypothesizes about which substances will dissolve and which will not. Then put a spoonful of each substance in water and stir. Does it meet the definition? Were you right?

You can also measure the volume of a substance before you put it in the water. Then after stirring, pour it through a strainer and measure anything that won’t go through. Some things will partially dissolve, while others will pick up volume because they have absorbed water.

If your older kids interest is perked, have them go on the internet and see if they can find out why.








What kid doesn’t like a grab bag? Cut up some index cards and write the numbers 1-10 on them. Have your child pull one out of a paper bag and count out that number of pennies. When they are good at that, add more numbers. Later, you can do this activity adding nickels, dimes and quarters to the mix.


Do you have a kitchen scale? Let your kids weigh a variety of small objects. Or if you are really brave, get out some flour and challenge them to measure out exactly 3 ounces! 😉





Skip Counting | It’s More Than Just 2, 5 , and 10!


Middle School and Up



Encourage your kids to play chess and count it as math. Among other things, Chess improves problem-solving and spatial reasoning skills used in math. Students who play chess increase their math scores by an average of 17%!






Google “wonders of the world”. Challenge your kids to pick one that really interests them and write a paper on it.



How would you live if you didn’t have electricity? How would you keep warm? Keep food from going bad? Get water? Explore how people lived before electricity. The things you learn could come in handy in case of a disaster.






Put a hula-hoop on the floor and have your kids jump in and out of it to the beat of music. When they are good at that, challenge them to hop in and out on the second, third or fourth beat. PE and music all in one!

Need a hoop? Please consider buying through this link to help support this page. Thanks!








Do you have any number cookie cutters? Make some 2017 pancakes today!

If you don’t have any, please consider buying some from this link. There are a million things you can do with them and you’ll help support this page.





Hubby and I both were both bed wetters and we had one that wet the bed until he was 13. This sounds really interesting!

Primitive Reflexes: Bedwetting – Why Your Child Wets the Bed or Wears Pull-ups after Age 5




Ohhh, manners! Are there any of these you disagree with? Any you think should be added?

20 Basic Manners All Boys Should Know










 I hope you never get a visit from the authorities, but if you do, it’s important to know how to handle it. WCCHE has an excellent post about what to do!


Do you have a special needs child? NATHHAN has all kinds of support materials, resources and connections for you! Please check them out. If you don’t please consider donating. It’s an awesome organization!


To be truthful, I rarely spent more than 5 hours a week teaching and my kids spent no more than 2 hours a day doing formal school work until they were in high school.


Check out my Face Book page for the latest activities and plenty of encouragement. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about homeschooling!


God Bless You All!


~Grama Sue

Skip Counting | It’s More Than Just 2, 5 , and 10!

Most of you can count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, but how many of you can count by 3s, 7s, or 11s?

Even though I flunked out of math in high school, my kids were great in math. Why? Because I threw out the math books and insisted they learn each basic skill well before they moved on. No addition until they could count to 100, no subtraction until they could add a column of three four-digit numbers. We worked on subtraction until they could subtract three-digit numbers from four-digit numbers. Then before we worked on multiplication, we learned to skip count. I insisted they learn to skip count 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s before I introduced 2 x 2 = 4 and then continued all the way up to 15s before we were through. Skip counting is fun and gives a child a firm foundation to figure out multiplication problems they haven’t memorized.

Here are three hands-on ways to have fun learning skip counting!

Create necklaces that have sets of beads separated by a different color and shaped bead.

Have your child start skip counting by holding and counting the beads that are the same, but just moving the different beads. Then have her whisper “1” and shout “2”, whisper “3” and shout “4”, and so on. Once she has that down, have her just say “2”, “4” … while fingering the beads. When she can do that quickly, have her go backward.

My kids, both boys and girls, love these necklaces and wear them constantly while they are learning. We make them for all the smaller skip counting numbers. They get a little big when you get up into the 11s and 12s though 🙂


Play Flip It!

To make this game, create a board with 15-20 squares. Then make cards just a little smaller than your squares for the count-bys your child is learning. Mix up the cards and place them on the table. Start out by flipping the cards over and placing them in the correct square. Show your child how to place his finger on each square and count by the number to find the correct square. When he is really good at it, you can make 2 sets of cards (each a different color) and play a Tic-tac-toe like game. Each person takes turns flipping one card and placing it on the board. If one person fills a row, up or down with his color cards, he is the winner. If you play until the board is full without anyone getting a row filled up, the game is tied.


Another thing my kids absolutely loved was jumping on the mini-tramp to skip counting rap. You can find lots of these songs on Youtube. Just search for “skip counting rap”. Here’s a link to a 7s rap!


Have fun and don’t push it! It may seem slow at first, but five to ten minutes a day is all you need to get your child ready to multiply. Once they get the first few skips down, they will pick up the rest pretty quick.

Hope this helps!

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue



Number Pin-Up | Preschool Math and Fine Motor Control




Is it just me? Or do games that your children have a hand in creating give your kids a little more interest? This is a game that the red head and I worked on a few weeks ago. To create this game, we cut cardstock into fourths and then placed stickers corresponding to each numeral I had written on the clothes pins. The redhead chose all princess stickers of course. I had to help her with placement and counting, but that is all part of the learning process.



The object of this game is to place the right clothespin on the card. Sounds easy enough huh? Not when you are just learning to count! I mixed up the cards and had her pick one from my hand just for fun. You could lay them face down or even face up. It really doesn’t matter. The objectives of this game are the counting, identifying the numbers, and manipulating the clothes pins. Just don’t let the dog eat them!



Once she picked a card, I helped her count by placing her finger on each princess (see video). One of the things that really surprised me when I first started teaching my kids was that they didn’t automatically go from right to left and from top to bottom. Learning this order is important in math and in most languages. Once you’ve done it with them several times, they will catch on. Be persistent, but not insistent about this if your child doesn’t want to cooperate. If your little one gets frustrated and starts crying, just put it up and come back to it later, but guide her hand until she gets it.




Once you’ve determined the number of stickers on the card, the next step is to choose the corresponding clothespin. I put them all in order and counted until I got to 3. Then I removed that clothespin and left the space empty. With subsequent cards, I counted the clothespins again and talked about how we had already found the “3” as I touched the empty space. Later on, she will be able to pick out the number with the clothespins randomly placed on the table, but for now, we are working on associating the written number with the numeral.

The redhead found putting the pins on the cards difficult at first so I helped a little. She was a pro by the time she got all the cards done! At the end, we placed all the cards in order and counted them again.

Do you make up games for your kids?

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue



Domino Math


This is a game the whole family can enjoy instead of boring drills.


Spread dominoes out face down.





Pick up one domino. Count the dots on each side. Then count all the dots. Say 2 + 4 = 6



Pick up a domino. Repeat the steps for the counter level and then write the answer on a piece of paper. On the next turn, add your second answer to your first. The person who gets to 50 first wins. When this is easy, add 2 dominoes together and race to 100 or 500.



Pull 2 dominoes. Subtract the smaller from the larger. When this is easy. Put 100 on a sheet of paper. Pick 1 domino and subtract it from 100. On the next turn subtract your pull from the number you got on the previous turn. The first one to get to 0 wins. This can be made more challenging by starting with 500 or 1000, picking 2 dominoes, adding them together and subtracting the result.



Pull 2 dominoes. multiply them together. Add your answers on a sheet of paper. First one who gets to 1000 wins. Or start with 1000 on the sheet and subtract answers.


The whole family can play this at the same time. Just set different goals for each player according to their level.

Almost Unschooling Grama Weekly Round-up | Homeschool Idea Central


Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are awesome, aren’t they! Back when I started homeschooling in 1986 there were 2 or 3 companies that catered to homeschoolers and they were expensive! Today, there’s so much out there it can be overwhelming! Your time is valuable. I post enough educational ideas each week that if you were to follow even part of them, you really wouldn’t need any other curriculum, but accessing all of them would take hours of scrolling each week. So, I am going to attempt to do a summary of all the ideas and links I have posted each week, all neatly organized according to subject category and age level. Please, be patient with me! I’m unschooling myself on how to do this! I’ll get better at this as I go along! Subscribe on the right to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!



  • It’s fall! Lots of pumpkin farms have corn mazes and other family oriented activities this time of year! They make awesome field trips!



  • Have your kids write down three questions they have in a journal each day, leaving a little space where they can write the answers that they found.


  • Put on a fashion show! You can do this with today’s fashions or do a historical or occupational show. Have your kids write the descriptions and pick out music. Talk about proper posture and how to walk. Fun activity that includes a variety of subjects! Language Arts, Music, Art, Social Studies, Biology …



  • Sukkot started on Monday and goes through this weekend. You still have some time to build yourself a tabernacle and celebrate! Counts for History too!



  • Play Stomp and Pop! Put the words for your memory verse on slips of paper, insert into balloons and blow up. Let your kids stomp on them to pop them to find the words. Then put the words in order!





  • Start an email round-robin story with your family and friends. Create a list of people to send a group email to. Start the story and then ask your family and friends to add to the story with another sentence, paragraph or illustration, then forward on to the rest of the group. This can be really fun to see what threads develop! Counts as Language Arts or Computer Lit!


  • Curl up on the couch and do some interactive reading. Before you start, decide on how to divvy up the reading. Perhaps the youngest will read a word and your 8-year-old will read the rest of the sentence and you will read the rest of the paragraph. Or maybe you will read the narration, but your kids will take turns reading the dialog. Your kids will probably come up with all kinds of combinations. Have fun with it!



  • For free alphabet train matching game click here!




  • The first alphabets (although not considered to be true alphabets) had no vowels. Write a sentence without vowels and see if someone else can figure out what you said. Counts for History too!


  • Cut a comic strip out of a newspaper. Then cut off the last panel. Let your kids draw what they think will happen in the last panel, then compare the actual last panel with theirs!


  • Ancient texts lack punctuation marks and there is no spacing between the words. Write a story without spaces and punctuation marks. Then get other people to try to read it. Counts for History too!


  • Let your kids make supper tomorrow night with a scavenger hunt. Leave clues as to what ingredients and equipment will be needed around your kitchen. The last clue should lead to a recipe or two that is hidden. Counts as Language Arts and Home Ec!


Middle School – High School



  • Love hands on activities? Try this one!

Simple Machines Science Lesson: Lift Water with An Archimedes’ Screw



  • Here’s a link for all kinds of fun educational pumpkin activities!

Pumpkin School




  • Give your child several Legos that are the same size. Then tell them to find out how many Legos long their shoe, a stuffed toy, their favorite toy vehicle, etc. is.

Elementary and Up

Composing Music with Math Activity for Kids




  • For some really great tips for teaching your kids internet safety in an online world! Click here!




  • For some insight on things you can do to help your baby’s brain grow click here!



I had never heard about this aspect of choosing a college before, have you?



  • On labels:

The 2 Reasons Homeschool Labels Don’t Matter


Wow! I learned so much doing this post! Hope it blessed you!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue


Long Division With Beads

Teeny little beads – they can do so much more than just make necklaces and bracelets! Today I want to show you how to help your kids make sense of long division with beads.


After having your child pick out which color beads represent ones and which represent tens, have your child put beads on the paper or table to represent the number inside the division sign.


Have her circle the dividend (5).

Explain that you will be seeing how many times she can get the divisor (4) out of the dividend (5).

Have her group as many 4s as she can out of the 5.

Place the number of groups (1) over the tens place of the dividend.


Take away the groups of 4.

There were 4 beads total so have her write down the 4 under the 5 and subtract it from the 5 to show how many beads are left.


Now replace the one purple bead with 10 yellow beads and pull down the 3 to put it beside the 1 on the paper.

Have her pull down the 3 from the dividend so she shows that she has 13 beads left.


Next have her see how many groups of 4 she can get out of the 13 beads.

Put that number above the ones place in the dividend (3).


Explain that 3 x 4 = 12, the number of beads in the groups she made.

Have her subtract 12 from the 13 and put the remainder after an r in the quotient.

Be sure to praise her as she completes each step. Choose another problem and go through it with her again, helping with the steps only if she cannot remember. Do 2 or 3 more that day. Then do 3 more each day for the next few weeks. Once she has it, keep doing a simple problem without the beads 3 or 4 times a week and go on to more complicated long division!

And remember! Kids have jello brains! Your child may remember all this perfectly for a week and the next day, you will have to start from scratch! Don’t get upset! Just shake your head and call her a jello brain. She will get it eventually!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue