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



Almost Unschooling Grama Weekly Wrap-Up | December 2, 2016


Hope you all have had a terrific week! The grandkids got home from Pennsylvania so I got to play with them for a few days. So much fun! I’ll be doing some blog posts about the things we did soon. Now I’m off to Iowa to help my folks out for a couple of months. My mom is having surgery next week, so please pray for a speedy recovery!

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!


Every year when my kids were growing up, I declared the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas “ART MONTH”! We cut our formal lessons to the bare minimum and concentrated on making presents. A major activity was making cookies and treats for everyone we knew. I would buy tins at garage sales throughout the year and during “ART MONTH” we would fill them with mouth-watering treats. Are you celebrating “ART MONTH”?



This is geared towards groups, but my kids would have loved doing this right at home. What about your kids? You could use this for review with any book or lesson!



Do you know all of your neighbors? Have a baking day with your kids and then take goodies to them!






King Josiah lesson




Get some party noisemakers and reenact the story of Jericho! If you don’t have any, you can use this link to order some and you can help me out at the same time! I get a small commission.








Your child may exhibit these signs when he/she is preschool age, but if he/she doesn’t, don’t worry! The average age for a child to be physically and mentally ready to read is 4 -12. Don’t push it!

Ready to Read – Reading Readiness Signs and Checklist




Have your kids write a paragraph about how they would want to be decorated if they were a Christmas tree.




Make paper ornaments with vocab words written on the backs. Put them on the tree. Then have your kids pick one or two each day and look up what it means.




Ask your kids what they would do if Santa were stuck in a chimney.  Have them draw pictures and write a story.




Name your elves. Then talk about what kinds of characteristics they have. Are they shy? athletic? What kinds of things are they interested in? Woodworking? electronics? Then write a story about a day in their lives.

If you don’t have any elves, you can buy some through this link and it will help support this page!




Middle School – High School


Make a crossword puzzle from words in a Christmas song and let your kids guess which song the puzzle is about. Then challenge them to make one for you!














Make a Christmas tree from construction paper or felt. Then make several cards with numbers on them on different colored construction paper. Place these in a bowl. Have your little one draw out one and decorate the tree by putting that number of sequins, beads or pom-poms of that color on the tree. Older kids can pull two and add them together.






How to Play Dice War (Subtraction) Good Math Games


Middleschool and Up

Can’t say enough good about this game! It was a favorite at my house for years! If you don’t have it in your house, please consider buying it through this link and help support this page!







Is there a National Guard or a military base near you? Call to see if you can get a tour! Great field trip! Find out about how it came to being and where those stationed at that base have served.






Free music therory course!



Have your child pick his/her favorite piece of art you have in your home. It can be a painting, a craft, a figurine, quilt, or whatever they love. Then have him/her describe the piece. What is the medium? What do you like about the lines, colors, textures, etc.? Where is it in your home? What makes that place a good place to display it? And anything else they can think of to describe it. This could make a great dinner time discussion or a blog post for older kids!




Something fun to do with all those broken crayons!





Sensory Crawl Infant and Toddler Activity {Huggies Little Movers}




Ask Jeanne: Do Homeschoolers Get a Diploma?





More parents taking kids’ learning into their own hands



God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Chicken Math | Real Life Math


De-boning chicken today! A while back I ran across a deal! $0.34/lb for chicken leg quarters! Can’t beat that. Anyway, I’m needing room in the freezer, so I’m putting 20 lbs of frozen chicken in the roaster at night at 200 degrees. In the morning, I turn it up for a little while just to get them good and done. Then I de-bone them and put them in the freezer again along with their broth.

There’s a real life math problem here for you! Which is the better buy boneless chicken breasts or chicken leg quarters if you look solely at meat yield?

I looked it up and found that leg quarters have an approximately 62% meat yield as compared to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. To figure out what the price of the actual meat is, divide the price by 0.62.  

$0.34/0.62=$0.548/lb. Chicken breasts were on sale that day for $1.99/lb. The breasts usually cost $2.99/lb. Yep, I got a great deal!

What is the last bargian you came across?

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


Back in the Saddle

Over the summer, I’ve only been unschooling myself because my son moved to Keokuk and I haven’t had any kids. This week his wife went back to school and Grama gets to babysit and teach!

So what does an almost unschooling day look like for The Brown One and me? He’s only 3 1/2, so it looks pretty much like any stay at home preschooler’s day. We have a check off list so I keep on track that includes sorting, letter and number ID, shapes, phonics, counting and writing, but these things can look different from day to day and even from hour to hour.

For instance, this morning we read a book about trains. We counted the number of cars and animals and we looked for the numeral we had counted on that page. We looked for the letter t. We talked about how the letter t sounds like “t” in train and tried to think of other words that started with the letter t.

Then The Brown One asked if we could play domino math. Domino math is a game I made up that can be quite complicated for older kids, but our objective right now is counting and matching. We put the dominoes down face down and take turns drawing them out. After we draw, we count each side and then look to see if we can match them to a domino that is already on the table. The dots on the dominoes I have are colored. That makes it easier to match, but tricky too since 4s and 11s are both brown, just different shades 😉 There is no “winner” at this age. We just play until he gets bored with it and then of course we have to set as many as we can up on their edges until they all fall down!


We took break from “doing school”, had a snack, did dishes and watched “Team Umizoomi” Then The Brown One wanted to “do school” again so I helped him with some dot-to-dots I had printed off the internet. Then he wanted to paint so I set him up with that while I cooked lunch.

After lunch we went for a long walk outside for PE. He would run with the dog, while I pushed his little sister in the stroller. Then he’d sit on the stroller for all of 30 seconds to “rest” and then off to run with the dog again. When we got back we worked outside until quiet time. I think I wore the little guy out! If he wakes up, there’s some other activities we might get too, but if we don’t it’s OK. There’s always tomorrow!



Reading Readiness and More


This is one of  The Brown One’s favorite books. It’s called WORDS: My First Words Book by Playmore Inc. I picked it up at a thrift store for a buck sometime back.

The Brown One is still a little too busy most of the time to sit still and listen to a whole book being read to him, but with this book it doesn’t matter. We flip from page to page as he pleases and “read” the words. I put my finger on the word he want’s to read and sound it out slowly before putting the whole word together. I talk about the different letters and the sounds they make and if there is a letter combination in the word that makes a different sound like “ch” or “er” I point that out too.  At first, he paid no attention to me, but now he is starting to repeat what I say.

We  identify colors; discuss living and non living things, where food comes from; explore celebrations; consider dressing for the weather; and count things in this book! Just from this one little toddler board book we’re covering language arts, art, science, social studies, health and math! You can do this too. Take any activity that your child enjoys and find creative ways to cover 2 or more subjects.


True Confessions | I Let My Kids Play With Money

Yes, it’s true. I let my kids play with money.


This is one of the more expensive activities I do with my kids. I throw a bunch of change in a cardboard flat and let them play. We count, we identify coins, we sort them, we build castles and towers for fine motor development, we make up games and pretend the money monsters are going to eat us 😉 Pretty much anything goes.

The only rules we have are: The coins can’t go near your mouth, and no throwing … well, that one gets broken now and then when we do a coin toss. That involves 4 bowls on the floor (one for each type of coin). We try to get the nickles in the nickle bowl, the dimes in the dime bowl, etc. Another variation is to mark the bowls with price and try to get the right combination of coins into the bowl to come up with that price.

No need for boring worksheets! Make learning fun!