Cahsee & Algebra


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  TOS September 2012


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September 5, 2012

Middle School Math - Help Them to Love it!



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


We have kids who hate math and kids who love math and every other child in between. We'd like to see most of them heading towards the "loving math" side since math will likely be a part of their everyday life for many years.


This is what I have at different times over the years to freshen up or just incorporate math into our homeschool:



  • Set a timer and let them only do 35 minutes of math that day (obviously making sure they were using that time for math and not being goofy.)
  • In text books, I've had them do the practice problems of the new concept, and then just the odd numbers for the rest of the lesson.
  • I have involved them in the costs of items at the grocery store and had them find the cheapest unit price by ounce.
  • I have helped them make money (extra chores around the house) and save money for many items (researching the best prices) and let them pay the cashier and know how much change they should get back.
  • Exchanged math time for a game of Monopoly or Allowance or other math games occasionally.
  • Demonstrated fractions with sandwiches, pizza, apple slices, etc. and also had them divide portions per number of people in the family with chocolate bars, bags of pretzels, candies, etc.
  • Held competitions with times table memorization and Wrap-ups.


Whatever you do, ease up on being the homeschool math dictator, and add in a little fun or variety in math. And especially if your children are in tears over math, pray and ask God to show you a different way to teach the subject.


How can we help them like math time? I am sure you have some great ideas! If you do, please let me know! I'd like to share them in our Teachers' Lounge column in our free monthly magazine, too! Just email me at



TOS Senior Editor


PS. There are so many approaches to math from games to manipulatives to workbooks and texts. We have tons of resources that have been reviewed by homeschool moms like you that just might also have kids your own kids' ages. Check them out here:



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Schoolhouse Teachers


Is your school year in full swing? How is it going? Did you spend hours and hours planning your curriculum only to find that you are already feeling frustrated?


That's exactly where I found myself, only one day into the school year! Having the freedom to re-evaluate my school year is just one of the many blessings of homeschooling. It may not feel like a blessing when I am in the midst of changing the plans I worked hours to create, but it's important to take time to find the blessing hidden among the stress. Perhaps it's time to change my whine of "I have to re-evaluate" to the reality of "I GET to re-evaluate!"


My youngest son learns best with nontraditional teaching methods. He thrives when there are hands-on, active, engaging, audio/visual, creative tasks to do. When I take the time to invest in him and his style of learning, we have a very successful school day. On the contrary, when I find myself catering to the needs of my busy schedule; handing him worksheets and expecting him to rise to the task, we are bound to have a difficult day. The same thing happens when we try to cram a lot of curriculum inside of one day, just for the sake of checking it off our list.


I find that I have to be intentional when it comes to giving credence to quality rather than fully relying on quantity. What we do, we need to do well. Re-evaluating and making necessary changes can be a good thing. If my son were attending a public school, that opportunity wouldn't be an option. His frustration, disappointment, and struggles would be a constant companion in his backpack. If you find yourself feeling defeated during the first days of school, give yourself permission to re-evaluate your plan.


Helping your child be successful in all subjects can be a reality. No matter which level you are teaching or what subject you are planning, Schoolhouse Teachers can help! English can be exciting; Math can be meaningful, Science can be successful, History can be hilarious!


It's not necessary to feel alone and defeated when you face difficult school days. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at Whether you're working "normal school hours," getting up early, or staying up late, is always open! Let help along the way so you can smile at the end of a successful school day!

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Not a member? Join today! For a limited time when you order and pay for an entire year of, you'll get a free Homeschooling with Heart tote. Click here for more details.


Lori Scheele



    Schoolhouse Teachers  

Christian Filmmaking Exposed In Half-day Webinar,
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Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is writing prompts for your middle school student. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


The Familyman
Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


OK, I'm just coming off a long, Labor Day weekend and my whole brain may not be firing correctly, but let me give this "Middle School Math - Help Them to Love it!" topic a shot. I'd say not every middle schooler is going to love math . . . you can't make every middle schooler love math . . . and it may be YOUR middle schooler that doesn't love math. In fact, they may grow up to be adults who don't like math. I'm one of those.


I was actually thinking about this very topic this very weekend as we relaxed at my in-laws' lake cottage. Mostly it rained, which kept everyone inside, so all 16 cousins and their moms and dads played games. To make a long story short, I don't like games. I never really have.  It's kind of a family joke that Todd doesn't like to play games (like Herbie, the dentist elf).


This weekend I made an extra effort to play . . . but for some reason my brain just doesn't work like some of theirs do. Their brains are fast and mine . . . is slow. They tried not to show it . . . but they snickered at my slowness and even rolled an eye or two because I didn't see the right move or use the right words.


Later, the reason I don't find enjoyment in some of their games dawned on me (I did enjoy Euchre). It's because my brain isn't wired like all of theirs. They like fast things . . . competition . . . and I don't. That's not an excuse to pull out of all the fun, just because "it's not my thing," but it did kind of make me feel better for not liking certain things. Now don't read into it too much . . . maybe I would have liked it more had I grown up playing games.


But the truth is still the same . . . I think. Yes, your children of all ages need to know certain math, but they may never love it, and that's OK. Just plug away, and when they complain, don't get frustrated, say mean things, or give up. Just slow down a little and keep plugging. And by the way, you're a good mom.


Be Real,







Need help finding your keys (to happiness)? Click here for help from Denise Mira. 


Looking for help with MATH?
  Eagle Christian Online School provides accredited math courses for grades 6-12; with Christian teachers, up-to-date curriculum, and daily personal online help using Skype and interactive whiteboard.  If you are looking for quality online math instruction, visit or contact (406)544-3738

Relational Homeschooling  

Diana Waring
Diana Waring


Dear Friends,


For this week's column, I want to share with you the musings of my oldest son, from a paper he wrote in a college class years ago:  


 Education stretches beyond the intellect to caress the soul, inspire the will, impassion the heart, quicken the body and enrich the spirit. Informational instruction is not always education . . . At its heart, education is relational, it is a process, and it is uniquely human.


For instance,  fractions and chicken. On my way back from New Zealand several years ago, I stopped to visit my friend, Eden, in Honolulu. At dinner with her family in the small white kitchen, the guests spilling into the living room, I engaged her young sister in conversation about mathematics. Not sure why, sometimes things like this just happen.  As the breeze blew scents of surf and sunshine-bathed flowers through the bamboo curtains, she confided in me that she was horrible at fractions.  Instantly I seized my utensils and crossed them in an X on my plate, dividing the pineapple-baked chicken breast from the green beans and separating both from the pile of roasted potatoes, which was now bisected by the handle of my fork.


"How many plates of food do I have?" I inquired good-  naturedly.


She was a clever girl.  She shot me a grin and a look that said I know exactly what you're up to.  But she played along.  "One."


"How many parts is the plate divided into?"  Obvious question, but she wasn't insulted.




"Because there are four parts, we can call those parts 'fourths.' How many fourths does my chicken take up?"

She knew this was going somewhere.  Cautiously she     responded, "One."


"How about my potatoes?"


No hesitation. "Two."


I lifted my fork. "Now what do you see?"


The two-fourths of the plate filled with potatoes magically became one half.  Her eyes bugged out, the mental lightbulb blazed to life, and for the rest of the meal we subdivided all the food we could find.


That is exactly the kind of creative thinking, the hands-on adventure, the bring-it-home-to-where-they-live experience that can make math--or any other subject--come to life for our kids.


So, what's on your plate?


Remember, stay relational!




PS. We are heading to Virginia and Washington D.C. this weekend to speak to homeschoolers in Colonial Heights, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Manassas, Staunton, and Boling AFB.  If you or your friends are in the area, we would love to meet you!  Mention THM and we will give you an extra 10% discount off our Back to School Encouragement Special!


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Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young


Hal & Melanie Young are authors of Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys, the 2011 Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year and the parents of six real sons and two real daughters, who've been homeschooled from the beginning. When they aren't traveling the country speaking about raising boys, Biblical family life, and homeschooling, they live in noisy familial bliss in North Carolina. Follow them at and




Middle school tends to be one tough time when it comes to boys and school! Math seems to be one of those things that we battle over, too. In fact, one of the advertisements for our Boot Camp 9-12 webinars says, "Is math taking three hours?" If it's so common, it's a meme, how in the world do we get through it?


Competition is a fast and easy way to motivate boys. Our guys found out on their own that it takes about the same amount of time to do a 4th grade Saxon math lesson as to do a 6th grade one or a 7th grade one, for that matter. To make the time pass more quickly, they began racing to see who could finish first. At first, Melanie was concerned they'd do shoddy work or not learn it as well, but she found that they really did just as well doing it quickly as they did dragging it out. So, why drag it out? We've found out they even like to compete against themselves. It's a long-standing rule in our house that if you beat a personal best time that year on a math lesson or factsheet, you can have a prize. They will work awfully hard to win a . . .  gummy bear! Yes, a gummy bear. It's not the prize, you see, it's the winning of it!


Boys are also really motivated by knowing why they are doing a task. Boys hate "just because," and quickly lose interest in something that seems pointless. Boys need purpose. They need to know their work matters. Want to see a boy put his heart into his math? Find out what he wants to do with his life (no matter how silly) and show him how math will help him do it.


"Son, what do you want to be when you grow up?"


"I want to design airplanes and missles!"


Ah, an easy one! "Well, son to do that, you're going to have to get a degree in engineering. Let's look at what kind of math you have to learn to do that." So, you head off to your state university's website and discover he's going to need math alright, a lot of it, and first, he'll need to get fractions down pat.


It's different when he knows math matters. And it'll get better as he gets older, too. Boys really come into their own in high school. If you live that long. :)


Hal & Melanie Young

For more on this topic, check out our workshop, Ballistic Homeschooling





Struggling with getting food on the table?


Do your budget and lack of time affect your families' meals?


Could you use some practical homemaking tips?


Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on Thursday, September 27th, at 7 p.m. EDT!

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT)  


Home Economics and Bulk Food Preparation

with Malia Russell and Molly Green


Plus a vendor workshop presented by Janome America. Join their online communities for more information about their premium sewing machines, sewing tips, projects, and lessons at and

Check out all the details at   


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Creation Revolution    


A newly discovered rat species lacks the front incisors common to all other rats. Read the article "New Rat Species Can't Chew or Gnaw-Proof of Evolution?" to discover why this discovery points to the fall of man--not evolution.

Contest Corner 

For the month of September 2012  


Rainbow Sentences App from Mobile Education Store


Mobile Education Store designs apps to assist elementary-aged children build language skills. In the beginning, the company created apps to assist children with high functioning autism, but it became apparent that these apps could be used with any child building the foundations of language. 


We were given Rainbow Sentences for iPad for review. Rainbow Sentences is useful for helping your student understand the Ws of writing--who, what, when, where, and why. Using color-coded visual cues, this app is useful for beginning readers and writing right up through mid-elementary-aged students. (. . .)


Three levels of play are offered, each one adding more parts of speech to the next. The way the app works is by presenting a picture, with a sentence describing what's happening in the picture. The scrambled words of the sentence are below the picture, with blanks to form the sentence above the picture. With a simple slide of the finger, your student moves the words in the word bank below up to the appropriate place in the sentence above. (. . .)


Read the rest of the review at this wonderful Schoolhouse Review Crew blog, Ben and Me.


You can win this App!



Email Deb ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Rainbow Sentences" for a chance to win* the App for your homeschool!



Schoolhouse Planners


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