What’s in the box Wednesday – Homemade Homeschool

So, various homeschool blogs I’ve seen have a weekly roundup of what they have in their workboxes that week/day to share what they are working on.  I think this is a fabulous idea, and I hope to get there of showing a weekly playback of sorts so y’all can see what fun (and not so fun) things Inara’s been up to in her homeschool room.  Until then though (or as well as that?) I also want to share some of the fun things we use in our school/have on our supply shelves.  Many of you have asked (on facebook, in person, emails etc) to see some of the goodies stashed away in the storage tubs on our supply shelf, and I’m more than happy to oblige – and more often than not (I hope/think) give you a quick how-to on how I made it, or at least where I got the instructions for it. 🙂

I’m going to start this week with an idea I can take absolutly ZERO credit for, other than my own designs, but got the how-to, instructions, ideas, and everything from a friend, Christi.  Actually, I have a feeling that a lot of what I will say in these posts to come may have to come with that official warning of sorts.  Christi spoke to our MOPS group at our first meeting this year.  Her topic was “Learning Starts at Home” and it was GREAT creative ways to incorporate learning activites in everyday activites basically from the newborn to kinder level and possibly beyond with a bit of tweeking.  I have to say I was SUPER impressed with her talk, and the three pages of handouts/notes I came home with FULL of ideas.  However, that’s not where this idea started, although it was mentioned durring Christi’s presentation, and it was also our Creative Activity for the month.  You see, Christi was like the world’s greatest MOPS speaker.  Not only did she approch us and offer to speak on a great topic highly relivent to our MOPS moms, she organized (and also donated some of) our doorprizes, she gave us the idea for, and was willing to spend a morning playdate with kids explaining to me, our CA, and lots more.  So, let me tell you about her fabulous Work Mats.

From Christi’s own hand outs:

  • “Make a work mat and choose counters according to your child’s interest.
  • This is not a game – no one wins.  It is a way to practice identifying a number.”
Essentially work mats are a super simple (or as complex as you want to make them) open ended activity  that can be played between one adult and one child, or an older and younger sibling.  Each player needs one work mat, and 6 or 12 counters depending on age and ability.  If your child is ready for simple addition you can use two dice total and 12 counters per person, if your child isn’t ready for that, one use one die total and six counters per player.
I know that without a visual demonstration instructions for this are about as clear as mud, so let me show you what I’m talking about.
This is my collection of work mats.  Here you can see my four sets (clockwise from top left: birts, ladybugs, monsters/aliens, fall trees) along with their respective counting manipulatives (feathers, black buttons, jumbo wiggly eyes, and fall leaves respectivly), as well as my two dice, and my (less then awesome looking) number line.
So you can see that each set has two workmats, and a total of 24 counters.  If you have one set or you have 100 sets of workmats as long as you only play one set at a time (IE only one parent and one child, not both parents and two children playing simultaniously) you will only ever need two dice and one numberline.
How to play (taken directly from Christi’s instructions)
Set-Up Directions:
Only one child and one adult play. Each one needs a work mat and counters.  The number of counters depends on the age/ability of child.  If you use one die- use 6 counters per person. If your child is ready to add, use 2 dice and 12 counters per person.  You may also use a number line when needed.
To Play- (with one die)
One of you rolls the die.  Have child count the dots on the die. Point to the written numeral on the number line. Both of you put that many counters on the work mat- adult showering by example counting one at a time. Clear your mat. Next peron rolls. Countinue for about 5-10 min. Quit before your child is ready!
When your child is ready to move on…
-Go to the next roll without taking off your counters. (Put clothespin on the current number of counters, show where you have to go for the next roll and determine together how many are taken off/put on.) Ex: Roll #1 = 2 (put on 2 counters.) Kee counters on and roll again. Roll #2 = 5 (clothespin is on the 2- put your fingeron the five and start counting from the 2 to determine you need to add 3 counters.)
-Play the same way with 2 dice. Have your child give you the sum of the two dice by memorization or counting the dots on the dice. Play the same way as with one die.
**You can also use these work mats for story problems when the child is older!
I hope all of this makes sense – I was hoping to make a quick video of Inara and I using them to share and it just didn’t happen.  I have tutorials upcoming on how to make the fall tree mats and the alien/monster mats.  I really hope some of you out there think these are as cool as I do!  As always, I’d love to see if you made anything using one of my posts, so please share if you do!
Have a great day!
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