Making Your Own Foamy Math Dice

April 26, 2010

Teaching Addition to our youngest young man has presented all sorts of challenges that has left me with small bald patches all over my head is giving me wonderful opportunities to learn new things.  One of the things I am learning about is Auditory Processing issues.  The more I learn, the more the pieces are starting to fall into place.  Dianne Craft’s page has been a Godsend – thank you, thank you, Julianne!

I asked my homeschooling friends for ideas on how to teach this.  One particular friend (hi, Vero!) suggested using dice as a manipulative – great idea! – and it worked well.  Then, remembering our awesome success with the Memorare and Pictographs, combined with Dianne’s advice for right-brained/visual learners, I thought that it might be worthwhile to see if I could mix dice with concept of using color, while minimizing sound distraction as much as possible.  Inspiration!  What I came up with is something we call “Foamy Math Dice” and the tutorial is below if you’d like to make your own.  Oh!  There is a pdf in the right side bar for the dice tiles.  Please help yourself.  : )



Materials you'll need to make your Foamy Math Dice


– Laminated card stock PDF (in sidebar)
– Scissors or paper cutter
– 2 Foam blocks  (one to try at Amazon)
– Glue that bonds to foam
– Wet erase pens (even though dry erase is shown – it’s all I had on hand O: )


Step 1:  Following the template, cut out tiles from your laminated card stock.  The blocks I am using are just a smidge larger than 1 1/4″ on each side, so the tiles are 1 1/8″ square.  I left a margin of foam around the tiles so that they stay nice and quiet.

Step 2:  Glue the tiles onto the cubes.  I’ll bet you were surprised by this step.  😉  I did alternate which cube I was gluing, to make sure that each tile had enough time to dry in between.

Step 3:  Draw the dots onto your new Foamy Math Dice.


As far as teaching Addition, why am I excited about this tool?  It allows me to control the numbers that Pip is learning to add.  I can have a die made up of blank sides or a single dot for Zero or 1, and then add dots from there as he learns.  Yes, I definitely love the Foamy Math Dice.  I hope you do, too!


Teaching the Memorare with Pictographs

January 6, 2010

UPDATEDER: It’s now almost a year later, and we all still know the Memorare.  Yay, Pictographs!

UPDATE: It’s now one week later and we all pretty much have it memorized.  I still have the board up and Pip (6), most of all, loves to sit at the table and say the prayer; it’s become his favorite.  This has definitely worked for us – thanks be to God.

We have been needing to learn the Memorare for a long time. As a Catholic homeschooler, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t yet know it by heart. My soul had about had it with that situation, and I woke up this morning with the resolve that Today Was The Day!

The Holy Spirit, being perfect in all things, gave me just what I needed to teach this: the idea of using pictographs to illustrate the main sections of this short (but powerful!) prayer.  On the white board, I wrote out the first half of the prayer, leaving plenty of drawing space in between the lines (it worked out to be three lines per half). Then we worked together to decide what symbols went with each particular section and I drew that symbol right underneath the section. I also redrew the symbols on the lower half of the board to keep the visual cues for them.

I didn’t get a picture of the first half of the prayer, but here is a picture of the second half:

PS – I’m using straight pins as tiny nails to keep the white board on the wall.  They’re small but mighty!


Here are all of the pictographs for the sections of the prayer:

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,

Remember = thought bubble

O Most Gracious = yellow halo w/orange circle

blue “VM” = Virgin Mary


that never was it known

that never = “no” symbol

was it known = book (for things that are known)


that anyone who fled to thy protection,

that anyone = a + a picture of a knee + 1

who fled = we went with the aurally similar “flood” (house under water)

to thy protection = yellow padlock with heart-shaped keyhole (holy, loving protection)


implored thy help,

implored = beggar’s tin cup

thy help = a red cross


or sought thine intercession

or sought = magnifying glass

thine intercession = prayer hands (crossed thumbs with straight fingers)


was left unaided.

was left = L

unaided = a red cross inside a black “no” symbol


Inspired by this Confidence, I fly unto thee,

Inspired by this Confidence = a yellow light bulb with a capital “C” as the filament

I fly unto thee = an eye with stick birds for eyelashes


O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother;

O = same halo with orange “O”

Virgin of virgins, = blue “V” for Virgin and small white “v” inside halo

my Mother; = “M” made out of pink hearts


to thee do I come,

to thee = number “2”

do = a dew drop

I come = a stoplight with only green filled in (“arriving” or “traveling”)


before thee I stand,

before thee = a bee with a number “4”

I stand = stick figure standing

sinful and sorrowful.

sinful = black heart <bleah!>

and sorrowful = sad and crying green face


O Mother of the Word Incarnate,

O Mother = purple “O” around the pink heart “M”

of the Word = dotted “W” in a solid line box

(If I had it to do over again, I’d make this a Chi Rho on the cover of a book)

Incarnate = n + followed by a car with an “n” + the number “8”


despise not my petitions,

despise = mad, red face

not = red “no” symbol

my petitions = a stack of petitions with a green check box


but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

but in thy mercy = borrowed the mercy symbol from Divine Mercy (no, we know that Mary isn’t Divine : )

hear and answer me. = a question mark inside an ear



Amen. = “a +” and a little crowd of men


I hope this helps explain this lesson.  Please share your ideas and improvements if you try this with your own children!


Jennifer +

Editable Workbox Planners are Up

August 17, 2009

I’ve finally gotten a bit of time to re-create the planners in an editable format.   They are Microsoft Publisher files and are very simple tables that will allow you to easily customize them to fit your needs.  (These planners are now letter-sized to better fit into files, crates, and binders.)

Look over there in the green “Clippings” box in the sidebar on the right.  The files are “WorkboxPlanner_Days1-5” and “WorkboxPlanner_MonFri”.  Feel free to edit to your heart’s content.

I hope that these files help in a small way to plan a smoother, better, more peaceful year for you and your family.

Have a wonderfully blessed school year, everyone!

All About Spelling: New Release & SALE!

July 11, 2009

All About Spelling has just released Level 5 and it’s 25% off until July 18th.  Double wonderful!

If you’re new to AAS, it’s a multi-sensory approach to spelling (sight, sound, touch) based on phonics.  It’s been a great help for our 7th grader to patch a few small potholes in the spelling road; for our 4th grader to go from a horrible speller to quite decent; and our preschooler has shot up to the moon with his spelling and reading, just by watching his brothers and playing with the magnet tiles on his own.  Not just for homeschoolers, AAS is an effective tool for classroom teachers and parents who want to help their students to achieve greater success as confident spellers.

I could write a book on why I love this curriculum, but I’ll spare us both.  ;^ )  It’s been a good one for us.



In Progress: A Younger Book of Days for Preschoolers!

July 10, 2009

I’ve been struggling to teach Pip (5 ½) the concept of days, weeks, months and years. The only idea I’ve had success with so far is the idea of “how many sleeps” it is until a particular day or event (“Nana will be here in ten more sleeps”).  He understands that very concretely, now it’s just translating and expanding that idea into the broader understanding of the passage of time.

I recently ordered The Catholic Woman’s Planner from Michele at Family-Centered Press (love her planner!); I also saw her Student Planner and ordered two for both Firstie and Middlin.  I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to order one for Pip and decided against it; he’s not there yet.

Thinking about that gave me some wonderful inspiration.  I’m in the planning phase of A Younger Book of Days,  a calendar book designed just for preschoolers, so stay tuned!

~ Blessings