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  1. #1

    Thumbs up What's your biggest brag? - Odd ways of teaching

    It's recently been brought to my attention that you can use Minecraft to teach geography. Yeah, thanks alexsmom for that gem of a hint!
    So, for us noobs out here...what are other not commonly thought of ways you teach your babes? A just for fun post to see what other crazy and fun ways you have got a lesson across!
    Thanks in advance!
    (so excited to read your responses!)

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  3. #2


    Errrrr not really a brag, because what works for one kid wont necessarily be such a smash hit with other kids....
    We had a huge amount of success learning multiplication facts by making a speed game of it involving dice. We also did a simplified probability unit by leading him through playing blackjack, and then how different strategies improved the results. The big win for me was him learning that the math matched the results of our “extensive” experimention.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    Lots and lots of board & dice games. DS made up a game using place value dice to help learn place value. It was very simplistic and effective. But I realized that any game can be used for learning. Reading, math & critical thinking are the most frequently mastered topics with games. But we also have covered geography, creative writing, and science with games. We have made up our own games or modified games we found at the thrift store.

  5. #4


    When my kids were little, I used to make backyard math games for them with chalk on the patio. Things where they had to add numbers to jump forward or backward, that sort of thing. Movement and math together was always good.

    I also used to make reading treasure hunts at that age - the clues would be written at their reading level - so things like "TUB" and "RUG" when they were just beginning to sound words out, all the way through little sentences later on. Having to go from clue to clue to get to a minor treat was always very motivating.
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  6. #5


    You guys have some really great ideas!! I'm so new to this, but I'm seeing a lot of fun stuff to try...I don't know yet what will work for us, but I imagine it'll be a good time trying!!

  7. #6


    Hiding books...All of the new books are hidden. My voracious 8yo reader has free access only to the books she already read,and then 'magically' a new book appears on her seat in the car, or in the bathroom by the stack of toilet paper...and when she gets in the car, or reaches for a new roll of TP....there is a treasure. Much more attractive than just taking smth from a shelf.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

  8. #7


    On the topic of books, my older children's father always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve as a kid. But his family always gave tons of presents on Christmas so opening one the night before wasn't a big deal and didn't take away from Christmas morning.

    I've always only done 3 gifts for each kid on Christmas, one from mom, one from dad and one from Santa. So opening one the night before would kinda take away from what they got to open Christmas morning. So I made a compromise with their father. We could open one gift on Christmas Eve but it would be a practical gift. Every year on Christmas Eve, they got new pajamas and a new book. Made the fight to get them to bed on Christmas Eve easier because they wanted to read their new books (usually one they have been wanting or next in a series they had recently been reading).

    Sneaky learning tactics... with little ones, we count, add and subtract everything in sight. Every situation is a potential word problem to solve. "I set 2 plates on the table for dinner, how many more do we need so everyone has a plate?" Cooking is math practice for almost any elementary age kid. Adding, subtracting. counting, fractions, decimals, weights and measures, telling time, elapsed time... Traveling we count, look for shapes, older kids can calculate time to our destination, gas mileage, tally receipts...

    If I start setting up a project or experiment without announcing what I am doing, it almost never fails to catch the interest of even my most obstinate little learners. Don't be afraid of messy projects and experiments, they are usually the most well remembered. Conversely, don't underestimate the power of conversational lessons. My kids never cease to amaze me with what they remember from a conversation we had months or even years ago. Learning doesn't only happen when you have a paper trail to prove it. If you need a paper trail for recordkeeping, keep a journal of your more educational conversations with your kids.

    Having dyscalculia myself and a son with dysgraphia, really have had to remember what the purpose of my lessons are. If the purpose is for my son to learn about history or science, does he really need to do all the writing if the writing will hold him back? If a science experiment will require calculations but my math-phobic child will start spinning wheels in the numbers instead of learning the science at hand, will it really hurt to use a calculator for the experiment? I had the luxury of having an experienced teacher-mentor through a homeschool charter during the early years of my oldest kids' schooling. That is one of the gems he gave me, don't overwhelm them with details. If learning to add or practicing reading or writing is not part of the lesson objective, don't be afraid to improvise and help them out. Your child is unlikely to learn what you are trying to teach if they are frustrated and stressed out with something they aren't quite proficient enough at to do easily. This is doubly true for a child with a learning disability. Even in public school, my son with dysgraphia was allowed to have a scribe to help him with writing and allowed to type whenever possible. This was all the way into public high school.

  9. #8
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    I order school supplies and books early, and don't let my son look at it or touch it for a while. Then when we are ready to use it, he's excited about FINALLY getting to do it. Also we try a lot of things - apps and online games, stuff like that. Novelty works for us.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at

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What's your biggest brag? - Odd ways of teaching