Math Fun-Schooling Easy Hands On

I’m not a fan of flash cards for learning math facts, most likely because I had NO success with them as a child my self. I am however a fan of hands on work to memorize those facts. Fun repetition for me had always been key. That being said it’s nice to have options for that repetition so things don’t become stale and the spark of learning doesn’t go out and put up walls instead. My easy go to is apps, but like I said, it’s nice to have options.

I also like to choose activities that all the kids can do or if its something just for the oldest the youngers will grow into. If it’s a game or activity that is geared to my younger two Pastries, Pumpkin is really good about playing with them or even teaching them while playing. This is especially great because it frees my hands to work on mama projects and builds his confidence at the same time.

As always, affiliate links are only to things we enjoy.

Besides what we are using for our core mathematics curriculum. (It’s amazing and you can check that out here in Math Fun-Schooling part 1 & part 2.) I like to take advantage of other tools to mix up the repetition with with kids. Plus most of the time they don’t even realize that they are learning and I just get “fun mommy” hugs. Lets be clear, that is an awesome bonus.


  • Mobi
  • Dominos The only thing I remember doing with these when I was little was setting them up to knock them down, but when I was older my Grandma taught me to play Mexican Train. Now my kids play the same way I did AND they are learning real domino games too.
  • Uno Its nice to play classics.
  • Smart Cookies Counting Game
  • Math Magic Puzzles and Games
  • Dino Math Tracks Macaroon is all about Dinosaurs right now and his big sister and brother are quick to support that love. This game meets each of them right where they are in playing.

Living Books

  • Sir Cumference Books All these books are on Epic for books for kids but are worth owning or checking out from the library and making a fun week long lesson out of.
  • 10 Seeds The illustrations in this book are so lovely that it often ends up in our nature study basket too.
  • 10 Hungry Monsters I have owned this book since before I had my own Pastries. All of mine enjoy it as much as the other children I’ve read it too. A classic for every shelf.
  • Life of Fred Okay, so this one is a curriculum but my Pumpkin loves the story so much that it’s a just for pleasure and as fun math here too.
  • Bedtime Math Or just read what is the math of the day on the website.


Hands On





School on Travel Days

We travel…a lot! And if we skipped school every travel day we wouldn’t be able to take off other days. That just doesn’t work for us. Therefore, we have “lessons” for travel days. (By the way, these lessons work great for when mama needs to call in sick too.)

For the most part my instructions are, “Play a number game and a letter/reading game.” And, “listen to such and such audio book”. (Check out our collection for Listing Time.) Golly, too easy right? But these apps are amazing and since it’s not our full curriculum, it’s just the right balance of review and sometimes even new.

For the most part I don’t need to tell the kids to play any of these games, they choose them all on their own. Or they are asking me if they can play.

As always, all affiliate links are to the things we enjoy.

We have one iPad, it’s mama’s but loaded with apps for the kids and in a nifty kid friendly case. Each Pasterie also has their own kindle fire that they revived for Christmas right before we hit the road safe in there Otter Box.

Kindle Apps

Apps on Ipad (I have no clue how to add links to these most apps, sorry.)

  • Zcooly Time Ranch
  • Zcooly Store
  • Hooked on Phonics Big Read Show
  • Hooked on Phonics K
  • Hooked on Phonics 1st
  • Hooked on Phonics pro
  • Epic! books for kids  I cannot say all the good things about this app! It has a selection of books that rivals our old home library but also includes read to me books, audio books and kid safe videos. I also have this app on my phone and being able to pull up a book to go along with what we happen to be seeing while we are out and about it amazing and much more child friendly then google.
  • Leaning With Homer (also for computer) Not just an app but also includes free pintables. This is a must have for my kids and includes so much fun learning! And I have to admit to love the Folk Song section just as much as the kids.


Again, we don’t do all these apps every day or every week. Most days are our normal Slow Loop days full of Symposium and Fun-Schooling and other Hands on Learning, but on days that we are “long in the saddle” or “I just can’t” these make sure we get our hours in.




Traveling the World One Story at a Time

Her eyes are wide with excitement and her giggle fills the home. “I was right” My 6 year old Cupcake exclaims and so was mama.

We have spent this last month exploring the Netherlands with Around The World Stories and it has been such a delight for the whole family. I cannot imagine a better way, short of spending a month there in person, to get such a feel for the culture. With Around The World Stories we have discovered the history, food, landscape and more. It’s been a virtual immersion program that even my 4 year old has embraced.

With Around The World Stories you get to visit 13 different countries with stories told thu the eyes of 13 different families, that is 4 stories per country. It’s like a foreign exchange program without actually moving in with the family. And the stories are so well done! My 9 year old has asked to listen to them again and I have to admit I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about them too.

Along with the stories you get a Parents Guide and suggestions for hands on activities to bring the country further into your home. My Pastries were so excited to get the recipe from The Secret Ingredient! And I enjoyed getting to sound like a bit of an expert on the country.

Spending time with Jasper’s family this month was more then just a trip to the Netherlands, it was like getting to spend time with the Ingalls. You know what I mean about the Ingalls right; how they are all heartwarming and inspire moral character. It is so delightful and the narrator of the story has such a great story telling voice!

Because I’m watching my budget I had to break down the math myself to make sure the cost was worth the investment and frankly I think they are undercharging for the quality of what we receive. And my husband fully agrees!

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. First, I am not getting paid for this review but I will receive a small commission if you desire to purchase. Second, here is my breakdown of the plans.

  • For the $99 plan you get immediate access to all of the 52 the stories. That works out to about $1.90 per story or $7.63 per country. That is amazing prize for 2 hours worth of quality story telling that you can download and KEEP and parent guides. This is the plan our family has picked not only because of value but also so we can pick and choose what countries we want to “visit” first.
  • For $9.99 per month and you get access to four new story each month, this works out to about $120 for the year or $2.50 per story . This is a great option if you just want to “try it out for a month” and see how your family likes it.

As y’all know I don’t suggest things that we don’t love and I’m always on the hunt for things that will add value to our days. These Around The World Stories do that! And they have some new artist stories they just released too if that is more your thing. I know we are looking forward to checking the out soon as well.

Minimalist Learning Plan for my 9 year old: Summer/Fall 2017

In the quest of finding more peace in days (thank you Slow Loop, you have been a sanity saver) I have discovered I need to cut back more with Pumpkins individual work. I had him doing too much and while we were still Looping it was getting a bit too jumbled and drawn out. Plus he is still transitioning into more independent work, so that means daily I still have a good chunk of one on one instruction time with him. Plus I have one on one time with the other two Pastries, housekeeping, time with my husband, Family Learning time, Mother Culture Time and good old free time. Even if I wasn’t an introvert, I just didn’t have time to get it all done with peace and joy. And we were running out of time for Hands On Learning.

This post does contain affiliate links, but like always I only share things we love.

So this is Pumpkin’s lesson “plan” for Summer/Fall of 2017 and the transition to it has been the right move for us.

Fun-Schooling “Core” Journal

Normally the Spelling Time C Journal would not be considered a “core” journal, but it includes so many elements of the core journals (like his Minecraft Journal that he will get back to this Winter) that it’s just the right fit for our Summer/Fall schedule. This journal includes not only spelling and vocabulary but it also covers 26 animals, instruments and locations. It includes places to document research and for creative writing. He is using this journal 4 days a week and we are enjoying the time together.

For his research we use a combination of Epic, YouTube and books we happen to have on hand. When none of those places work, and a library isn’t handy then we check with Google. I have to admit I’m learning as much as he is while he works in this journal.


Every day I am more and more and more happy that we decided to give Math Lessons for a Living Education another go. It’s such a complete and engaging curriculum and since it’s daily lessons are so short it allows more time for my math loving Pumpkin to play more games, spend time with his favorite Thinking Tree Math Journals and engage in more S.T.E.M. activities during the week.

Language Arts

We plan on digging into The Good and The Beautiful language arts later this year. It is a beautiful language arts curriculum that holds all of my favorite elements of a variety of other curriculum I’ve looked at for a fraction of the price and packaged in such a way that it is enchanting.

However, he is right on the cusp of being too advanced for one level but not ready for the next. So instead of printing out both levels we are simply going to use what we have on hand to “catch him up” to the next level over the next couple of months. If I still think we need to review any of the previous lesson from The Good and The Beautiful, I will get a PDF writing app and do a quick review on the iPad with him.

He is also free reading to himself, to Peanut (his most loved stuffie) and his siblings, enjoying loads of audio books and Buddy Reading with me. And he is always writing poetry, stories and songs on random pieces of paper or in his Hobby Time Journal.

Bible, History, Science, Social Studies, Literature and Fine Arts

All these (above) other subject get worked in during our Slow Loop family learning time, but he still covers a lot of them on his own during his reading. However, instead of having him document what he is learning about them on paper I am letting him narrate to me instead. (Very Charlotte Mason.)

When he is done with the Spelling Time Journal, he will move on to one of his Minecraft Journals and then will do most of his independent work of these subjects there.


Buddy Reading Loop

Learning to read has been a slow and painful process for both Pumpkin and myself. Finally we are getting into a groove and while we are still slowly working on our language arts, our buddy reading and his free reading time is blossoming.

Because slow looping has been so good for all our other learning we are working it into our buddy reading as well and covering so much more!

I was really inspired to add buddy reading to our day after reading Giggle Poetry. We could have finished that book by now but taking it slow and allowing him time to really develop fluency.  It also happens to be one of his favorite books to break out at poetry tea time. I think we will have to get this Giggle Poetry book after we finish the first one.

In the mean time I want to make sure I’m providing a variety of reading styles and subjects for our buddy reading time. I like keeping that Charlotte Mason “feast of ideas” available to him throughout the day and I like being able to work in “subjects” outside of that scheduled time. So I searched our small bookshelf and found some options we happened to have on hand.

By the way, buddy reading is such a hit in our house that Macaroon suggested we do it the other day. Aw kiddo, you’re not reading yet.


Review: Discovering Nature Come and See

Come and See was one of the first Charlotte Mason inspired science books I can across and I really do love it! It was also one of the first homeschooling texts I purchased and…it fell flat for us! Pumpkin was 6 years old, Cupcake 3 and Macaroon still in diapers. I was overwhelmed and had way too much going on..oh how I wish I could have visited with older me back then so I could have set me straight.

Well, I managed the first 3 chapters of the book and then I shelved it for 3 years! However I didn’t give up on it and gave it precious storage space in the RV. You see, I really liked this Discovering Nature book. I think the story is delightful, I like the activities that go along and I would have loved this and all the others for my science when I was a kid.So when trying to make some Buddy Reading choices to do with Pumpkin I decided to pull this book out and give it a try.

Now all but the first 2 are designed for the child to do on their own, reading and all. But since we are still building up his reading skills buddy reading this book has turned into a complete win.

This book lives in our Nature Study Basket so Pumpkin can work on the independent activities during the week. I also like keeping it in a spot where it will be noticed often by not just him but little sister and brother in hopes that they will ask big brother to read it to them too. Or give Pumpkin time to play nature expert to them.

Little brother even likes to ease drop on our buddy reading time and then pulls out his notebook to draw like big brother. That tells me that one day I will be purchasing these texts for the other kids as well and I’m looking forward to that…actually by the time we get to that point I just might have to let big brother take point on some of the lessons as a bonding with the siblings and building in some easy review for him. But that is in the future and I don’t need to be thinking too much on that yet.


Hands On Teaching for the Introverted Mama

I am a hands on learner. My husband is a hands on learner. My kids are a hands on learner. This Hands On thing should be easy then right? NOPE! Because it turns out I’m not a Hands On teacher. I’m a book reading, big juicy conversation teacher and all the Hands On stuff tuckers me out!

I do work in little hands on things most days. Coloring pictures or drawing to go along with reading. Building with blocks something that goes along with what we are learning. There is also lots of independent play and projects. All very simple things that don’t require a whole lot of planning or preparing from the mom side of things. But I’ve had a harder time working in those more involved hands on things.

So what is this Introverted Mama to do? I know the benefit of hands on learning. I want to do the hands on learning with the kids. I even enjoy them when I’m doing them (most of the time), but oh my gosh! How does one take care of all the daily needs of her family, teach the kids and do all those hands on things? Well shoot, I just don’t…well I don’t daily.

When it comes to the big hands on activities I dole them out slow, and since starting the slow loop, in steady streams. This slow loop  thing is totally helping me be that fun hands on mama. Knowing that at least every other day we will be doing something hands on really takes the stress of my trying to plan something for every day. And removes the guilt of not doing something hands on every day. It also helps me to physically and mentally prepare for the hands on time. (That is critical for me being successful.)

What is really surprising is now that I’ve removed the pressure to do something hands on every day….I find that I am doing more hands on things with the kids. My stress level is lowered and it’s been easier to invite one of the kids to cook with me in the kitchen, to pull out a board game or take part in a game of tag. Even on non-hands on days.

I like to look for practical hands on activities. As much as I love all the amazing crafts I see on Pinterest and Instagram, I’ve become much of a minimalist in our roadschooling and those things don’t fit our lifestyle. Currently our top two favorite ways to add hands on into our days is with cooking and games.

  • Cooking. You don’t have to do something formal for this. We are with Kids Cook Real Food and even mama is learning some new skills. (By the way, summer is a great time to take this class when most of us have a lighter academic load and enrollment happens to be open right now too.) But we also get in the kitchen with our math, poetry tea time, science and helping hands.
  • Games. There is a whole community of folks who gameschool out there. With so many games for math, language arts, science, history, geography and more it easy to see why. And I’m not talking about dry boring games that the kids can tell they are doing lessons but they are actually fun!

One of these days we will add more science experiments to our week as well. One of Pumpkin’s buddy reads is a science book and includes some experiments that the little ones are sure to get in on and I have my eyes on a new Minecraft Science Fun-Schooling Journal soon to hit the shelf as well. We also have this Thinking Tree Science Journal that I will print out sooner then later that is pretty amazing for the science loving kids.

And then there is hands off – hands on learning. While traveling we have been able to take advantage of some of the craft or game time at our resorts. I love those days, they are like bonus Hands on Time! And while others may not have the resort activities like we do local libraries, communities centers and even home improvement stores often have activities for our kids from I will admit sometimes all three of them at once is a bit overwhelming and I often retreat into a cup of tea and some quiet time for mama after. Okay, even if our hands on time was smooth sailing I still plan on some quiet time for after to recharge.

For me, knowing what recharges me as a mom, especially as an introverted mom is important to having hands on fun with my kids. If you are a member over at Read Aloud Revival she has a class Find Your Personalities Superpower, this class was a game changer for me! Because of this class I have found options other than just a lot of quiet alone time to help me be the fun happy me that I am. Some of those recharging thing even let me extrovert to recharge. Everyone in my family is enjoying the befit of that, especially all my extroverts.