Math Can Be Fun??

I’ve always loved math. I’ve loved math puzzles, math games, math trivia, math problems—-if it was challenging, I loved it! So it’s been very difficult for me to realize that inasmuch as I loved math, I couldn’t seem to teach my own 6yo son his math lessons! Of course, I blamed it on my own mistake of ordering Singapore Math workbooks WITHOUT the textbooks 😉 Admittedly, the workbooks were on sale and I thought first grade math was so simple anyway that I could just wing it!

Interestingly, though, in my desperation, I ordered two books online: the corresponding textbook and Life of Fred Apples. I’ve read lots of things about Life of Fred as a living math book, teaching math concepts through stories. And while I’ve wanted to try it for some time, I’ve seriously had my doubts on retention and stuff.

BUT… our box arrived yesterday!!! (*doing a giddy dance*) In my excitement at reading Life of Fred, my son got curious and got tricked into letting me read the first chapter to him. Then he took out his pen and paper for the “Your Time to Play” part. And then he wanted to read one more chapter!! But we had guests over, so we had to stop. Then today, I asked if he wanted to read it, and he said yes—and again went ahead with writing down his answers to the questions at the end.

I thought that was that. He laughed at some parts, but it seemed to be the humor part and not the math part. But when my hubby and I came home tonight, this is what he had been working on all evening:


Since when did he ever write down math problems just for fun? And I was amazed that he was having so much fun he didn’t even stop until I had to tell him it was bedtime!

So is Life of Fred a good math curriculum? I don’t know. Will I use it as our main math curriculum? I don’t know yet either. But as a math lover, I’m super happy at how it seemed to have helped my son enjoy math—-even after only two days! Of course I don’t know if the fact that he didn’t even realize we were doing “school” had to do with it, but isn’t learning that way, scattered all through our days? 😉

Who says learning math can’t be fun???


Copywork Bookmarks

I love how Charlotte Mason uses copywork to accomplish a lot of different goals. Not only does it practice handwriting and spelling, it’s also a great avenue for developing the habit of perfect execution—-or well, of excellence and perfect effort, at least.

My son used to complain when it was time for copywork, but now he seems to want to do it first of all. Every few weeks we skip the formal writing paper and do something fun with copywork, like making a bookmark or a greeting card. This week, he chose to make a bookmark, but in the shape of a Gingerbread Man!


So i guess it’s not just a bookmark but a toy, too!


Who says writing can’t be fun for little ones? 🙂

Our Clay Tiger

A few weeks ago we decided to splurge on an entire afternoon of sculpting and shaping… Got this great book from Booksale for only P10.00 full of ideas for clay modelling! And this is what my son, my helper, and I endeavored to make (one each!):


I was going to upload a photo of the finished product—baked, with paint and all—but we made the mistake of leaving it out on our laundry area to dry… It was already dry and ready to bake and/or paint, but wouldn’t you know it, it rained too much last night and drenched our prized creations!!! So now they’re all soggy and ruined, and waiting for a new day to make new sculptures…

So I just HAD to post a photo to remember my 6-year-old’s first “real” attempt at sculpting 🙂 Tiger-on-a-Swing, you’ll be remembered forever! 😉

Creative Math with Board and Card Games

I’ve always loved board games as a kid, and now that we’re homechooling, we just found one more use for them: a fun way to learn math!

For example, what better way to get kids to fill up an entire hundreds chart without a single complaint? Here’s my son writing all the numbers and then coloring checkerboard patterns to make his own Snakes & Ladders board game!


And we also made our own variation of Shut-the-Box using playing cards… I’ve never played this myself but a quick Google search taught me it’s a game popular in pubs hehe.. The principle in a nutshell is you can “shut” boxes that form 10 (e.g. 6 and 4, 3 and 7)… What a great way to learn number bonds!


I love math, but games make math even more fun! 🙂

*Disclaimer: math games don’t happen everyday for homeschoolers, but I sure wish it did! 😉

One more reason to love Charlotte Mason: free resources!

If there’s one more reason to love the Charlotte Mason philosophy for homeschooling, it’s the availability of plenty of free and high-quality resources! Of course, those who live in the US have the added advantage of libraries where they can just borrow books, a luxury we don’t have in the Philippines. But thanks to the Internet, we can actually find electronic copies of many living books, especially those that are now in the public domain! For example, from all my blog hunting, I came across this free ebook, Our Wonderful World, which we use as part of our science lessons this year (one lesson per week).

My son was totally captivated as I read aloud from the chapter, Busy Plowmen, about earthworms! And, to make it even more fun, the book then recommends an activity to study earthworms and how they make their burrows in the soil to make the soil soft and rich. I have to say, I myself learned a lot of interesting things about the earthworm! For example, did you know it doesn’t have eyes? 😉


Digging and putting several earthworms into a container to see them work closeup


Studying the earthworm

The Big Picture for our Homeschool

We just got back from a trip to Cebu, and suddenly decided I wanted to start “formal” homeschooling today! Of course, for a homeschooler following Charlotte Mason philosophies, formal doesn’t mean workbooks and textbooks, but instead is full of fun books to read and hands-on activities! And in our case, a good focus on the Bible and letting the stories come to life.


Our first story today was “The Story and the Song” from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I was excited to “implement” our own “curriculum,” and was personally surprised at how thrilled my son was at making the first hands-on activity of the schoolyear: a mini-book to represent the Bible. He would draw heroes on the first few pages and rules in the last pages, and later draw a large cross on each page to remind him that every story in the Bible is actually all about Jesus.

Of course, I didn’t expect him to draw Jesus on the first page, and another baby Jesus a few pages down!


And here’s our first entry in our Adoration Book—-teaching kids to pray-read, or simply to take the memory verse for the day and use it as conversation piece with Jesus. Our verse for the week celebrates creation as showing us more of Him, hence the drawing below:


Happy with our first day and looking forward to more! 🙂

Mothers’ Day prayer

Celebrating the beauty of the women we call mother
With roses and chocolates and cards all over
Isn’t it, despite the special honor, a day like any other
When mommies everywhere continue to give all they can offer?

A special day when everyone recognizes
And gives honor where it’s due:
To mothers everywhere whose love suffices
And still gives more than anyone else would do.

And on this day I celebrate the beauty
Of being called to be somebody’s mommy
Appreciating the gift of these little ones whose lives
Are directly affected by these hands of mine.

And I stand in my biggest role in this lifetime
Of lifting up these little hearts to the One who designed
And hid special mysteries for me to unfold
And declare over them these beauties untold.

So today, but not just today, I breathe a special prayer
For the Lord to move upon the lives of these two brothers
Give me eyes to see what You see when You look at them
And let me respond in the way You would, time and again.

Raise them up, Lord, as Your own special treasure
And let them grow up knowing they have Your deepest pleasure
Let the home we make for them be a reflection
Of the beauty of being in Your precence, despite the imperfection.

Raise them up as men after Your heart
As those who treasure Your Word as the most important part
Let me be faithful to what You’ve called me to do
In loving them and nurturing them, and leading them to You.

Thank You, Jesus, for these little ones 🙂