Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hannah Who?

We don't have cable television or satellite TV.  Now that doesn't mean we don't watch it at all.  We do subscribe to HuluPlus and will rent DVDs.  Still, our television viewing consists mostly of cooking shows  some of which are reality and contest related.  I enjoy Biggest Loser as well and will watch an occasional episode of a sitcom or drama, as long as they don't have too much nudity or sexual content.  We do find that most shows we like usually end up getting ruined by trying to make a statement that opposes our biblically based moral values so we end up having to quit watching them anyway.

One thing we have never done is encouraged our daughter to watch the children's networks.  While we would watch some of them during her preschool years I am not been a fan of Disney or Nickelodeon shows for older kids.  I don't need my daughter to mimic a whiny teenager trying to become popular, fawn over boys and act a like a pop star who sings songs I don't want her listening to anyway! 

This makes us odd to most of the society.  The fact that we barely watch television and are not really up on the latest pop music or Hollywood celebrities are some of things they make fun of us homeschoolers for.  That is OK by me.  This week I was extremely grateful for the fact that my daughter has been "sheltered" from such things.

Miley Cyrus made the news this week and if you were forced to see the video on the news or the graphics that made it on Facebook you know that this girl did something awful.  The fact that society is shocked that she would do such a thing is more news worthy than the fact that she actually did it.  Society has warped our values and traditions changing the American dream through hard work and sacrifice to fame and fortune by any means possible.  That was made blatantly apparent this week.  People will do anything to get attention.

Yes, I am glad that my daughter was not only unaware of what Miley did, but that she is also unaware of who she is.  We never watched Hannah Montana so my daughter did not have to deal with another role model letting her down.  I feel very sad that millions of girls have to go through that.  Why, oh why, do we let them look up to people we don't know anything about, that we will never meet or will affect our life in any real or personal way?  Because they can sing, act, dance, or play sports?  Who cares!?

In the course of eternity the things that are important in life should be things that bring glory and honor to God.   I have an idea, take all the money you spend on concert tickets and feed the poor.  And that time you waste away watching movies or television, go help the needy, visit the elderly, or spend real life time with a friend.  Take off the headphones and put down your cell phone and talk to your mom and dad, your siblings, or a friend.  They may be hurting and need someone to talk to and you will never know if you care more about strangers than you do those who are really in your life.

I actually have family that knows more about what these people are doing, who they are dating and how many kids they have then they do their own children and grandchildren.   Make sure you don't fall into that trap.  What are you kids up to?  Do you know their friends?  Are they fans of people like Miley?  While you are outraged are they trying to mimic her behavior?  Do you know who and what they are texting to friends, to boys, to men?  It's frightening what goes on around us that we are unaware of because we are more worried about the "news" of the day then we are the implications of what our lack of involvement might be.

This last week my mother was in the hospital and there was a television in our room.  Since we were there for a long time I gave Gess the option of watching television and you know what, she chose not to!  She played, colored, read books, and entertained herself just fine.  When she finally did turn the television on it was to watch the weather.  My little meteorologist has to watch the weather!  Some may say that is odd, but if being odd means you can read books, entertain yourself and behave appropriately in a time of crisis I have no problem being odd!  In fact, it's my goal!

2 Cor 6:17 Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fostering Independence: MP3 Player Holder

My daughter loves listening to music and has a pretty large selection of Christian CDs.  A few years ago we got her an mp3 player so she could listen to her music on long car rides which is pretty often since we live about 2 hours from any major city.  It has been a huge blessing for her to be able to listen to her own music, especially since she hates listening to what I like to listen to, which is talk radio!

As she has gotten older she has started to want to use her mp3 player outside as well as in the car. This has been awkward for her since she hates wearing jeans and doesn't have any pants with pockets to put the player in or hook it to while she is playing.  Her solution was to run around with it in her hand which has caused her to go through a few sets of headphones as she tugs the wires out while running and playing with it.

So my husband came up with a solution.  He made a holder for the mp3 player that attaches to her wrist.  Now she can run and play and keep her hands free while she sings at the top of her lungs.  It's great!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Free Friday: Kids Answers

Last month I shared a temporary free resource from Answers in Genesis.  They were offering their video Dinosaurs, Genesis and The Gospel for KIDS video for free to Use the Recent Atheist Attacks to Teach More Kids the Truth about creation and dinosaurs.  I then posted about our experience with those videos and how much my daughter loved them as well as the quiz that Gess took at the end of them.  After sending in our quiz to Answers in Genesis we got a letter from Ken Ham and a couple of cards with dinosaur facts and a few quotes from the video. Gess was really excited to receive them.

While Answers in Genesis is no longer offering the download of these videos for free I did find a resource where you can watch them online for FREE.  The Kids Answers website has several videos that kids can watch absolutely free. While the videos don't go to full screen they are still entertaining, educational and enjoyable.  Gess spends lots of time there.  She really likes Buddy and some of his songs.

Besides videos the Kids Answers website has online magazines to read, information about animals, activities and of course shares the gospel. You can learn about the bible, science, and lots of other interesting facts.  It's a fun site that you will want to book mark for your kids!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Little Time Can Be a Lot of Fun

Our schedules are extremely busy, between work, school, family, support groups and church we have several responsibilities to meet each week.  By the end of the day we are beat.  It seems like we never really have the time to do some of the things we enjoy as a family.  My husband and I like to unwind by sitting down and watching a movie together and Gess likes playing games.  Lately it seems that I never have time for any of those things, so we came up with a solution.

For awhile my husband and I were watching television shows instead of movies, because they don't require as much time.  However, we find it difficult to find quality programming that we both enjoy.  So instead we decided that we would watch as much of the movie as we could before shutting it off and falling asleep.  The next evening we would watch some more.  We ended up watching the entire Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit) that way.  It works really well.  Besides, what law says a movie can't be interrupted?

We have also done the same for game night.  Some games just can't be played in half an hour and while there are games that can, sometimes that is not the kind of game you want to play.  Gess is really loving Monopoly but that takes a lot of time so what we do is play in 1 hour segments every weekend.  One night a week we break out the board and play.  When the time is up we get ziploc bags and place our pieces in them and we put the dice in the person's bag who goes next.  We write down where each player is on the board and take a picture to remember where our all our houses and hotels were placed.  It's been really nice to carry the game on this way.

It's refreshing to have a new perspective on things.  I refrain from so many things for lack of time.  Now if I only have 20 minutes I exercise anyway.  That is certainly better than not doing it at all because I don't have the 30 to 40 that I usually prefer.  Sometimes it takes me forever to finish a book but at least I am reading rather than thinking that I don't have enough time to enjoy it. 

Of course there are things that require time and we prepare for that.  I try to find one day a week where we spend time with the grand kids, I want that time to be rich in both quality and quantity.  I get up early to have enough time for prayer and of course our school schedule is rather strict.  I rarely miss any meetings and actually schedule a time each week to prepare for lessons that I have to teach.  However, because of all of these obligations it's nice to remember that I don't have to miss out on everything else, I just might have to enjoy it in increments.  That's OK though because it is still enjoyable no matter how much time you have!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Schoolhouse Expo is ON

The Schoolhouse Expo started yesterday but it's not too late to get in on it.  There are still 4 days (counting today) of great speakers and if you are registered you will receive access to the recorded sessions that you missed anyway!  I had to miss yesterday due to a busy schedule so I am looking forward to that myself!

Tonight I am anxiously waiting to hear Dean Butler and Ray Comfort and have my scheduled all filled out with what sessions I want to catch the rest of the week!  Be sure to register soon and catch up.  Sessions start at 1:00pm EST.

You know one thing that is really great about doing a conference this way?  You don't have to choose between sessions!  Every conference I go to I have to skip one person in order to hear another and then I have to pay extra to order the audio if I miss it!  Well not with the Schoolhouse Expo, you get to catch them all.  They are not going at the same time and if you miss them for other reasons you just wait for the audio link to be delivered when it's ready. 

Oh and the ticket price has been reduced from $24 to $17 for the midway ticket!  I am not sure if that includes audio of what was missed but it's still a great price.

Disclaimer:  This is a promotional post for which I received one free admission to the Expo as my reimbursement.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Free Friday: Food For Thought Homeschooling Cookbook

I found this really cool cookbook on Amazon today and guess what?  Currently its FREE so here is a good time to snatch it up.  It's called Food For Thought and offers very easy, affordable recipes that come with a quote from the Bible or a person of a faith to stir up some discussion while cooking.  It's a cookbook that every family will enjoy.  There is even a section for young cooks that I am anxious to try out with Gess!   If you want it free act quickly, otherwise it is $14.95.

Schoolhouse Review: In the Hands of a Child

As much I love hands-on learning you would think I would have tried a lap book by now.  However, they seemed rather complicated so not knowing how to even do it I have shied away from them. Recently I was able to review the lap book project pack Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus from In the Hands of a Child so I thought this might be a good time to try one.

Lap booking is really a lot of work and that is one of the reasons In the Hands of a Child has published over 450 lap books.  Since they prepare the lap book project pack for you, it allows you to spend less time making the book so you can use your time actually working with it.  I certainly would not have tried my hand at lap booking otherwise, I can assure you that.  As it was it still took me a couple of hours to print, cut and prepare all the components for the book.

Because lap books are something you can hang on to for quite some time it becomes a handy tool for review.  With that in mind I chose the project pack Words, Words, Words which teaches a child how to use a dictionary and thesaurus because that is a skill we will definitely want to keep working on.

The project pack comes with everything you need to make a lap book, even for a beginner like me.  It has explanations about what the project pack is and exactly how to use it.  There were detailed instructions about how to assemble the lab book, as well as each individual activity in it. It comes with a planning guide and lesson plans to go along with each project as well as reproducible graphics for you to use making them.  The word portions came fully printed or traceable so you can choose how much writing your child does.  You can also use your own paper and have the child write the entire thing. Since Gess has special needs we went with the fully printed options.

Being a hands on learner Gess really enjoyed all aspects of the program.  She loved gluing the components together as well as the activities themselves.

Each lesson had activities to do that required some assebly.  Sometimes it was a matching cards that were kept in a pocket or just basic information that you glued on to something like the one above.  She learned what a each book was for and how to properly use them.  The activities were great for learning and since it was portable we took it with us to the library to practice.  Here is Gess identifying the 10 parts of a word entry.

The lessons were very clear and easy both for me to teach and for Gess to understand.  After learning all the parts of a dictionary and thesaurus, a little bit of their history and detailed information about how they work the child is ready to use them.  They make a handy little folder to glue on their lap book and keep a list of all the words they look up.  Here is Gess finding the definition of the word storm along with its appropriate synonyms and antonyms.

Each time we completed a section Gess would place that item in the lap book where ever she wanted.  Here is our final product, our complete Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus lap book project.

We did one lesson each day which took 5 days to complete and by the time we had finished all the projects Gess really had an understanding of how to use both a dictionary and thesaurus, though we focused more on the dictionary work.  The hands-on activities were fun and certainly aided in her retention of the facts.  There were a couple of activities that I omitted but most of them were great.  I really think the lessons as well as the activities were very well done. It was nice to have it all planned out for me.

While I loved the hands-on aspect I still felt it was a lot of work and too much printing for me.  While I love adding in the hands-on aspect I don't know that I would actually assemble the lap book itself very often.  I live in a pretty small house so I don't have lots of room to keep things like that laying around.  I would still consider getting the packs for subjects like this one that I think might be beneficial for long term use.  As I said, they have made over 450 of them so there are plenty to choose from.  If you love lap booking you will definitely want to check out In the Hands of a Child.

Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus is geared towards children in grades 2-5 and can be purchased for $10.00. However, it is currently on sale for 50% off so if you order before the end of this month you will get it for only $5.00!   To learn more about this or the other lap book and project packs they offer visit their website or you can see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about this and some of their many other titles by clicking on the banner below.  There were several titles reviewed in many different subjects with age ranges all the way from grades K-12.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Family Hope Center

Because Gess has Down syndrome I am always searching for ways to improve her cognitive skills and learning capability so when I had the chance to review the Understanding Child Brain Development DVD from The Family Hope Center I was all over it!

The Family Hope Center is run by  Matt and Carol Newell who appear very knowledgeable in child brain development and hold certifications in development and teaching methods as well as Craniosacral and Myofascial Release therapy.  While their knowledge is impressive I do not believe that they are physicians themselves but they do have some on their staff.  I noted that they all seemed to prefer a homeopathic approach and one is even specialized in hypnosis.  Their mission is to help families who have a child with developmental delays and special needs by coming up with a specialized treatment plan to help your family's specific needs.

The Understanding Child Brain Development DVD is not only for parents who have a child with special needs. The knowledge that it gives in how a brain develops and functions properly is important for everyone to know.  It is also helpful to know what causes certain problems and in this video they share how and why some of these things occur which is important to know for preventative purposes as well as therapeutic ones.

The Family Hope Center looks at a child's ability, not the "disability."  They look at the problem a child has with learning as a symptom of neurological disorganization instead of a disease.  They look at what is happening in the brain that is not allowing the ability to be expressed as functionality.  Instead of trying to help a child in the state they are in, they try to go back and see where brain development is lacking and then train that area so that it can catch up.

The DVD itself is very technical. While I took lots of notes this video is over 2 hours long and I am not about to begin to try and explain the intricacies of brain development that they go into.   What they basically do is go through several areas of brain function and the developmental age at which certain skills should be developing. As you hear the milestones your child should be reaching at certain stages it can be begin to make sense why certain struggles may start to occur at those levels.  For instance they explain what may cause some kids to switch their words when reading which is what we call Dyslexia, why some children may have certain texture and/or sound issues, or why some children become aggressive.

While there is a ton of information in this DVD it is only an introduction to how to actually use the information and assist your child in a full developmental program.  To proceed further you will need to purchase the three day seminar to try to form your own program or visit the clinic for an evaluation for your child.  With that said, the last 20 minutes of the DVD does focus on specific things that you can do right away for your child "to make a significant change in their neurological picture."  There were definitely some tools I plan to use but there are some I probably won't try.  There were also some I already implement which was certainly good to know.

I will tell you that when I turned the video off I was ready to go full speed ahead.  I wanted to know how to get my child into this program and what to do next.  It is expensive, so I looked into some of the things he recommended.  In doing my research I found that there is no solid evidence that some of these therapies work. I do think the information that they presented was very valuable and will help me in teaching Gess. It has also helped me in considering how I play with my grandchildren who have no special needs because I want to make sure they benefit from proper brain development at the appropriate time so they don't develop issues later.

Gess herself has seemed to flourish so far with what we have been doing.  I think that is due in part to the fact that while we have not had this particular program we have been active in making sure she has been stimulated in many areas.  My plan is take what I have learned with this video and enact some of the advice given.  Unless we hit a road block in the future I think we are on the right track so I probably won't look into this further.  I am, however, certainly grateful for having the opportunity to view this product.  It was definitely worth watching.

To learn more you will want to visit the The Family Hope Center website.  You can purchase the Understanding Child Brain Development DVD for $19.00 by calling 610-397-1737 or purchase it online from the EIW website.  You may also want to read the other Schoolhouse Crew Reviews by clicking on the banner below.


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School Begins...AGAIN

It's really hard for me to adjust to doing school from January to December.  Right now I am so caught up in the back to school fever that everyone else is in I feel like I need to start school.  However, with all the back to school sales on supplies it is a great time to restructure so we are doing that.

My school calendar never actually stopped over the summer and by looking at my reviews you can tell we stayed somewhat busy.  The basics were covered but we certainly didn't do full school days.  So, while we are in the middle of the school year we officially re-started our full time daily schedule last week.

I am really excited about the the new curriculum we are using, Logic of English.  I will be writing my review on it at the beginning of September but I can tell you it has been excellent for Gess so far.  It's an entirely different approach that is really focusing on the sounds of the language and therefore really helping Gess with her speech intelligibility!

We are also going through our old God's Great Covenant New Testament again. We got it at the end of the school year before and when school started back up we had other curriculum to try so we never completed it.  We have since done God's Great Covenant Old Testament so I want to get back and pick up where we left off here.

I am also reviewing Time 4 Learning again so for now we are using that for our only social studies and science but I have plans to change that in September after the review.  I have something specific I want to do with science.  Since we have been focusing on counting money by playing games we are working through money in the math section of this program as well.

Gess is still not getting the whole homework assignment thing, at least she is not yet completing it without a reminder.  If she does remember on her own she gets a gem but so far she hasn't gotten any.  Hopefully by the end of the year she will do a better job at keeping up with it!

Well, here we go full swing!  I can tell you this, I am really glad to have some more order and structure back in our day.  I think Gess is too.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Looking Forward to the Schoolhouse Expo

The Old Schoolhouse Expo is just one week from today and I am really looking forward to it.  As I have said, I haven't been able to attend a homeschool convention for a few years now and I could really use that this year.  I love the encouragement you get but I also love learning new things myself.  I am especially interested in hearing a few of the speakers.

My favorite isn't really a homeschool specific speaker but he is someone whose ministry  I have followed and I am excited about his latest movie release Evolution Vs. GodRay Comfort of Living Waters has really impacted how I share the gospel.  In fact it was his ministries visual Ten Commandants that we used to teach Gess with.

There are also a few speakers who will be talking about the law and our how to protect our homeschooling freedoms. That is a real concern and passion of mine.  I feel we are losing more and more freedom every day and unfortunately too many people think we should not have the right to teach our religious values to our own children.  That is truly frightening.  Well Attorneys Christine Field & David C Gibbs III will address that and Antony Kolenc will help us make sure we don't make any of the common mistakes.

There will be speakers from the magazine itself.
Deborah Weuhler a senior editor of the TOS Magazing will sharing some of that encouragement I am looking forward to as she shares how to complete that homeschool race through Prayer, Power and Perseverance. 
Bonnie Rose Hudson will actually be speaking on how to write for publications of the TOS Magazine.
Bob Irvin and Lori Scheele will share how to get organized with the amazing tool they offer at Schoolhouse

Other great speakers who will appear are: Dean Butler, Todd Wilson, Andrew Pudewa, and Heather Laurie who will have a focus on homeschooling multiple children with special needs.

There will be 30 speakers in all and you won't want to miss it!  In fact you have a chance to attend for free because I am giving away one FREE ticket to the expo.  Just click on the link and sign up, it's real easy!

For more information or to register visit the The Old Schoolhouse Expo.

Disclaimer:  This is a promotional post for which I received one free admission to the Expo as my reimbursement.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hands-on Learning: A Whole Body Experience

Like games, exercise can be beneficial to learning even when you are not doing a lesson.  Exercise gives oxygen to the brain and stimulates brain plasticity which makes it easier to grow new neuronal connections.  In other words, physical aerobic exercise works out the brain as much as the muscles!

Whether I am teaching Gess at home or a bunch of kids at church I have noticed that if they do not seem to be engaged in the lesson taking an exercise break can help get them back on track.  It not only helps them refocus but using that energy gets the oxygen moving again and their brain just simply seems to turn back on.  So if your child is struggling with a lesson, getting frustrated, seems disengaged or even just tired, stop the lesson and take a break.  As little as 5 minutes of a physical exercise can make a big difference.

Ideas for quick breaks in class are bouncing or dribbling a ball, hula hoop, running laps, jumping rope, skipping, jumping jacks, push ups, etc. If you have several kids run a quick game that requires them to move such as a relay race or competition.  Any of these will work.

Sometimes the movement can be implemented into the learning environment making the exercise part of the hands-on experience you are trying to create.  Sitting at a desk or table for long periods is not conducive to learning.  We do simple things such as have Gess write on the board instead of in a workbook.  This way she is on her feet, not her bottom.

We physically act out words we are learning.  Here she is learning what it means to revolve and rotate.  She revolving around the chair just as the earth does around the sun.  That certainly made more sense than simply reading about it.

Finding ways to get them out from behind the desk is always a good thing.  You can go for a walk as you discuss review questions, do sit ups while you quote definitions, have games where they have to run to find the answers around the room.  One time we were learning about foundation so we simply walked outside to see the foundation on the house.  Anytime I can "show" Gess something in real life I do it, even if it means getting up and leaving the house all together.  That experience will really stick with her.

So remember that while hands-on learning is important we want to remember to get the whole body moving to optimize our learning experiences.  I have had a great time writing for this 5 Days of Hands-on Learning Blog Hop.  I hope you have found some of them helpful.  Be sure to see what other topics are covered in the Crew Blog Hop by clicking on the banner below.

Summer Blog Hop

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Teaching With Games

Games are a fun way to get our hands-on learning and there are many ways to implement them into your educational program.   One thing you can do is find games that are meant to be educational but I am not usually willing to drop my money on those as they can be rather pricey.  So what I do is either use what games we have or make up my own.  If necessary I change the rules or add my own twist to help my daughter who has special needs.

For instance Yahtzee was a good way to learn adding, especially when we were learning our doubles math facts.

Gess does great if she uses the large print Yahtzee score card from BoardGameGeek.

To help with money we made up a game called Can I Buy That?

War is an easy but excellent way to teach greater than and less than.  Gess was really slow when she first started playing but now she is pretty quick to grab her cards when she wins!

Crazy 8 is another good game.  It took Gess awhile to figure out the three cards she needed to be able play: matching suit, matching number or an eight. To make it easier for her to hold the cards we start with 5 cards instead of 8 and if you can't play you pass instead of continue to draw until you can.  When she was younger we took out the face cards too, but now we use them all. The only thing she needs to learn now is how to hold the cards so no one else can see them!  She is doing good here, but when she leans down to play a card she will let her other cards show.

We also used cards to make up our own game to help with Counting On skills.

It's pretty easy to find games for math, but they are great for other subjects too.  Last Word is a great game to work on language and cognitive skills. We changed the rules so that Gess gets to move if she comes up with any answer before the buzzer.  We still can't move unless we actually have the last word before the buzzer goes off. 

Why is it Different? is one you can play with stuff you find laying around the house.

I found a really cool resource to help you make your own games.  Check out these Free Board Game Templates.  They have many different styles.  We haven't actually made any yet, but now that Gess is on a board game kick we probably will soon.

Here is Gess playing the real Monopoly game.  It's actually been great practice for counting money.  I am impressed with how well she is doing though she still needs some help.

You know games don't even have to be "educational" to enhance learning. A 2012 study published in Archives of Neurology reported that people who exercise their brains consistently throughout their lives, by playing games, as well as engaging in continual new learning, live healthier and cognitively smarter lives as they age.  So, just sitting around playing any old game will benefit the brain!  It also makes family time lots of fun!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Crew Blog Hop and my post will be Hands-on Learning: A Whole Body Experience because sometimes you have to use more than just your hands.  You will also want to be sure to see what other members of the Crew Blog Hop are writing about by clicking on the banner below.

Summer Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Incorporating Manipulatives in Lessons

Manipulatives are a great tool to enhance learning and retention.  There is something about putting your hands on an object that helps you remember.  As I mentioned in my first post it really turns a lesson into an experience.  There are lots of ways to incorporate maniplatives into a lesson.  Some curricula come with them but if they don't you can always make or buy your own.

Blocks are a great way to put your hands on learning.  Of course we all know about the alphabet blocks and those certainly helped Gess learn her letters.  But they can also be used to learn lots of things.  Here is Gess learning her books of the Bible. All they did here was write the books on the blocks.  Arranging them in order was a fun way to practice.

Speaking of alphabet blocks, the other day at the library we saw they had letters made out of cloth.  You can also find puzzles that have letter and number shapes.  They can be pretty cheap.  Those magnetic letters and numbers can be great as well.

You can use real or fake coins for math instead of writing on the worksheet.

I found these at a garage sale, they are great to demonstrate fractions!

Unifix Cubes are fairly inexpensive and very helpful with math too.

Other things to use for manipulatives are magnets.  We learned how to spell with these letters but of course you can buy magnet strips and use them for many other subjects as well.

 Gess learned to tell time with this little clock.

Clothespins can be used for lots of things.  They work motor skills while using them.

Cards are fun to make games or activities out of.  Here is Gess using both cards and an abacus to play a game that helped her learn how to count on from a number.

Candy is another really fun manipulative.  They have books to teach math skills using M&Ms, Twizzlers, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Bars and I am sure lots more.  We sometimes used them in therapy.  Here is a tasty pattern!

Toys can be used in many ways.  We used them for lots of speech games.  This one is "Why is it different?"

Most of the manipulatives we use are found around the house or are fairly inexpensive.  I have picked tons of stuff up at garage sales as well.  A few resources that come with manipulatives already are:

Handwriting Without Tears that I mentioned above uses blocks, clay, chalkboards, and sponges to teach writing.
Math U See has some great blocks and materials for teaching time and place value among others.
Touch Math is something we haven't used due the expense but some people really find it useful.
Super Duper Publications has some excellent tools you can use as well.

I am sure there are tons more.  I just can't seem to afford many of them that come with all the fancy helps but that is OK because I just have fun making my own.  These are just ones that came off the top of my head.  There are lots of ways to add manipulatives to learning.  Tomorrow my topic is Teaching With Games and I will share a few games that we play and encourage you to make up your own too.  Until then be sure to see what the other members of the Crew Blog Hop are talking about by clicking on the banner below.

Summer Blog Hop


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