Learning how to teach what I never was taught (…well)

Posts tagged ‘homeschool’

Shape Making with Simple Geometric Patterns! So simple! So Imaginative!

Geometric Tiles


Inspired by the Shape Maker blocks, I created my own simple, geometric tiles! We are having so much with these!20161214_162004

20161213_221845This link contains the instructions on how I make my Craft Foam tiles.


Here is a link to the PDF! Enjoy your free shape making tiles printable!


Free Printables for Qwirkle, Math Infinity Tiles, Banagrams or Apple Letters, and Mobi / Equate Math Tiles

DIY homemade games, easy!

DIY homemade games, easy!

This linkhow-to-make-tiles, will provide basic instructions to all 4 games listed below.


DIY Homemade Math Infinity Tiles



DIY Homemade AppleLetters, Banagrams, or Scrabble Letter Tiles




Homemade DIY Equate, Mobi, Math Tiles and Symbols Game



DIY Homemade Qwirkle or Patterning Tiles


Coin Value and Equivalent Block Poster

Coin Value Chart Poster with Centimeter Snap Cubes ReferenceBlocks and Coin value

For my child, the concept of 5 pennies in a nickel didn’t make any sense. Where did they go? I soon realized she was right. There are not 5 pennies in a nickel and she was right. There are however, 5 cents, the abstract meaning of the coin, within the nickel just as the penny equals 1 cent. Well, explaining cents to a young child isn’t going to happen, yet. So, why not make the abstract concept concrete with blocks. I found these awesome centimeter linking blocks, a 1000 for less than $20, which are working perfectly for learning money.

My child earns money for her schoolwork and chores. She gets paid in blocks, assembles them into 10s, 5s, and the remaining ones. Then, she converts those blocks to dollars and coins. For handwriting practice, she must write the amount on her tally when she places her money into the jar. This method of doing math turns a Long Vowel E phonics lesson into a detailed math lesson.

I hope this coin equivalency poster will help your little one out as well!

Coin Value Poster for preschool, kindergarten, young children with physical block representation of coin value and currency. Front and back of the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar bill images, pictures, are included.

Coin Value Poster for preschool, kindergarten, young children with physical block representation of coin value and currency. Front and back of the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar bill images, pictures, are included.

Learning to play the Piano – Color coded Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Grand Staff and Notes

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star color coded piano sheet music

My little one has the desire to play Let It Go from the movie Frozen. As with anything, you must walk before you run which she is learning. While she will sit for hours with youtube videos teaching how to play Let It Go, she clearly is struggling and getting frustrated. It is her choice, not mine. To help her out and prevent frustration to the point of giving up, I am encouraging her to play some songs for her sister. I have added Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the mix. It is really fascinating to see how, within a month, she is playing with both hands and even figuring out chords without any formal lessons. In a year, if she is still showing interest and progress, we will hire a professional piano instructor. For now, I am enjoying learning how to play music and reading sheet music too!

Color Coded Piano Grand Staff Color Coded Grand Staff Piano Keys Notes

Learning the Piano with Lego Duplos and Color Coded Keys

Lego Duplo Music Sheets – Legal Sized Paper – Free Printable Download Template

Color Coded Piano Keyboard Keys

Color Coded Clear Contact PaperColor Coding the Piano Keys to match her Lego Duplos was easy! Using Duck Brand clear contact paper and sharpie markers, I marked up the paper in stripes. Then, I applied another piece of clear contact paper to the top. This prevents direct contact to the permanent ink thus no rubbing or fading. I cut them 3cm long and applied to the keys. I wrote the notes using a dry erase marker.

Lego Duplos Color coded to Piano KeysTo learn that the keyboard goes low to high, left to right, she built a Lego Duplo tower to match the printable. She wrote the notes onto the Lego Duplos using a dry erase marker.

Since she was still showing interest, she color coded a Piano keyboard diagram and circled the notes in matching colors. Lastly, she color coded blank sheet music and wrote their note letters accordingly. The white space was colored using a squiggly line signifying that it should not really have a line there.Keyboard to Sheet Music Association

Lastly, well actually it was the first thing I did, was gave her the color coded sheet music of Happy Birthday. I think it is C-Scale.

This pretty much wraps up my knowledge of playing a piano and sheet music! Luckily, my DH knows how. For now, my little one is happy with her color coded sheet music. She practices each song with one hand then the other. She already wants the “real” sheets, i.e. the music sheets for playing with both hands.


Color Coded Phonics ToolBox – Free Printable

DIY Color Coded Phonics ToolBox – Free Printable (Digraphs, Trigraphs, Diphthongs Hands On Manipulative)


My little one began reading at a very basic level at 4 years old. We kept the reading simple using level AA and Level A readers from ReadingA-Z.com as well as leveled readers from ThinkCentral / StoryTown.  The decodables from both of these websites are quite awesome too!  With a little time, you can acquire these materials for free. I shall let you figure that out on your own.

My biggest complaint with all the phonics maniulatives available is that the individual sounds that vowels make could not be explained from one word to  the next.

At first glance, it may seem complicated. Let me assure you, I have never been happier with a phonics manipulative.  My 5 year old went from being frustrated to reading flashlight, heart and ruler with ease. I am no longer explaining why the letter “A” said this or said nothing. It is predetermined by the color of the vowel.


We pick 2 or 3 words a day as they related to the Highlights Magazines puzzles we are working on. I prepare the word using the color coded toolbox. She reads it. Then, I ask her to check the spelling against the magazine. She is learning to read, sound out words, use phonics and spell all at the same time. The best part, it’s easy and fun.

For us, this toolbox has been an amazing tool. All my old manipulatives are completely useless next to this. Here is the Link to download the Color Coded Phonics ToolBox PDF.  I cannot find the craft case I used online to link for you.

Equivalent Bar Fractions – Free Printable

 Equivalent Bar Fractions Craft Foam Manipulative Free Printable Template


Equivalent Bar FractionsWe are just now really beginning to understand our fractions. This is a manipulative, along with our cake fractions papercraft, that is being used on a routine basis. Simply print the document on legal size paper. Laminate using Duck Brand clear contact paper. Then, using carpet tape, stick to a piece of craft foam. Proceed to cutting out the individual pieces. A quality pair of scissors are needed for this job.