Preschool – Introducing Addition and Subtraction

Since we started home schooling I have made and objective list of what I would like to teach my daughter this ‘year’ to keep me focused. I have never really written down my education philosophies, but I enjoy Charlotte Mason and Classical styles of teaching and learning. I think children need the disciple to sit and study at some point (like 7- 8…?) but that learning should be enjoyable. I understand the idea of precept upon precept, but like to begin educational topics with the understanding of the whole and then putting the pieces together to make it work.

Not all of my children will learn the way I do, but I am super blessed that I have a daughter who not only learns quickly, but she learns best the way I teach. Regardless of her ability to just memorize facts, I thought I would make the introduction to addition and subtraction fun and simple.

I began by having her gather rocks:


Next I drew a number line, first without the numbers, and had her put a rock on each tally.


I then had her start at the left, and count the rocks, one at a time, taking a step with each number. While she was walking through the number line, I wrote each number down as she counted.


This is the finished number line. After counting the 10 rocks, I had her take one away and count how many were left. We repeated this until she got down to 5. (10-1, 9-1, 8-1, etc.).

When we were down to 5, I taught her to add rocks, 1 and 2 at a time.

We played a bit with adding and subtracting and she was the one who moved the rocks and did the counting, I just picked how many we added or took away.

The last problem of the day was when I had her take 4 away from 10. She got the answer, 6, all by herself!

She does not have her tables memorized, but has learned HOW to get the answers to addition and subtraction. She learned that when we add, we count up, going right and when we subtract we take away from the larger number and count down to the left. (when we did 10-6 she took away the rock on 10, then 9, then 8… until she was left with 6.)

My only goal for the day was to introduce her to the concept of the number line for sequencing, and teaching the vocab of “plus” and “take away.” I did not expect her to understand as much as she did in so little time. I quit well before she began to lose attention to avoid any feelings of pressure.

We did the rest of our school for the day outside and she practiced writing her vowels while we sounded them and drawing shapes and just having fun with chalk. School has benefited my almost two year old as well! I don’t sit him down, but he picks things up anyway as I show him randomly. He knows a few shapes, numbers, colors and letters. Not a ton in any one category, but he seems to learn best just a little at at time. He has not been quite as much as an eager learner as his older sister, but seeing her WANT to sit and learn and listen, and ENJOY such has helped him begin to think learning isn’t so bad after all ;)

We Started Pre-K!

My daughter turned 3 three months ago but I have to admit that I have not spent a whole lot of time sitting down and teaching her for almost 6 months. I can blame it on us traveling for a living, and that is a large part of why I usually do not have the supplies and/or time for it. However, I mostly just did not know where to go next! She knew her letters by 18 months, wrote them by 2.5, did well with counting and number recognition and had great fine and gross motor skills, so what was next???

She kept wanting to do school together, so I started teaching her the importance of following directions on worksheets and letting her do some pages of workbooks here and there. But what she really wanted was for me to sit with her and teach her. After a bit of research on the content, etc of Pre-K I decided she was ready to begin.

We started on Tuesday with some A Beka curriculum, and honestly I’m not sure what about it is supposed to take an entire year, so I am taking it slow and adding more interesting ways of learning as I can and have the energy to do so (I am almost 34 weeks pregnant after all ;).

Here are my minimum objectives for K-4:

  • Number recognition 1-20
  • Basic addition and subtraction
  • 100 sight words
  • Write alphabet in uniform size
  • Begin to understand alphabet order
  • Capable of dot to dot pictures (number order)
  • Improve coloring skills
  • Understand city, state and country (she already is beginning to understand from all the traveling!)
  • Learn the more complex shapes
  • Learn to better draw her basic shapes
  • One new Bible verse a month
  • Enjoy story telling
  • Better cutting, and gluing paper and stringing beads
  • Very basic reading comprehension
  • Understanding seasons
  • Sorting
  • Vowel recitation (without reminding)
  • Understanding seasons
  • Sounding out ch, sh, th, and st
  • Sounding out c-v-t words

None of these are new concepts to her except addition and subtraction, but we started that today and it was a hit! Here is the post to how I introduced addition and subtraction. It was fun and she got it quickly, so we will use this method for a while to keep it simple and understandable.

Have you home-schooled your little ones? Did you started with Pre-K, Kindergarten, or First Grade? I don’t intend on spending more than an hour a day on it, with an additional craft time in the afternoons a few times a week, and of course reading books and talking about how things work as part of our lifestyle teaching.

What would be on your Pre-K objective list that I have not listed? Anything else she learns is extra, she is already on her way to naming coins and values, but I am not pushing for things like that yet, she has plenty of time for that! If she does not get it all this year I would be surprised, but that would be okay too, since we could do K-4 again next year, when she turns 4.


Her first A Beka worksheet


All I did was write her name and read the directions to her!


This was a few days before beginning her formal schooling, but here she is teaching her little brother his letters for fun.


This was a few months ago when I was trying to stave off her hunger for ‘real school.’ Again, absolutely NO help from me other than reading the directions. She LOVES to learn :)


Learning to follow directions, and improving observation skills. No help, again :)

Doula Training

The baby of the first birth I attended.

The baby of the first birth I attended.

I do hope everyone has had a WONDERFUL weekend! I have been a bit absent from the blogging world for a few reasons, but I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, I think I will be altering my schedule :) I am excited to share that I am now a DONA trained labor doula!!

A doula is a non-medical birth attendant who is knowledgeable in the stages and progression of normal labor and are skilled to help a laboring mom achieve her birth plan. I absolutely love every study about labor, delivery, breastfeeding and newborn care.

The DONA workshops in breastfeeding, l&d, and newborn care have made me a bit more qualified to attend to “normal” needs in those categories. I have been doing my own research since having my first child (a little over three years ago), but was amazed at how much more there was to learn!

I am expanding my research beyond the realm of the internet, and am reading many books on the topics and plan to attend any birth I can be a blessing in. If at all possible (and affordable) I’d also love to take more childbirth educator classes and seminars and breastfeeding consultant courses.

I am a wife, mommy, and missionary, but this is also something I have found a passion in and although I never plan on pursuing a career, I believe that God can use my desires to be a blessing to pregnant, laboring, nursing and new mommies anywhere in the world God puts me.

I have a TON to blog about, and despite my best intentions, I usually post as I go along, but I think I will be better about post-publishing posts to be a bit more faithful and have more time to stay connected with your posts as well! I am pretty sure its been about a month since I have been able to post or read blogs, if I missed anything important to you, post a link in the comments, I want to know what’s been going on ;)


When my daughter was about 15 months old, my husband was holding her while we attended a church meeting. Jeff was about to go up the platform for a quick word so, naturally, he was just going to take her with him, and moved up two pews to stand in the very front while he was being introduced. I was very pregnant, and Jeff was only going to speak for a second so he thought it was polite to just carry the baby himself.

This is not how Adelle felt about the situation! As she noticed I stayed behind and was two rows back, her eyes grew wide with fear. She looked terrified and confused, “why would her mommy stay behind? Why would daddy leave her mommy?” She reached her arms out while the pastor spoke and her voice shook the first time she cried, “mommy.” Subsequent cries were louder and with more force. “Mommy! Mooooommmmmmyyyyy!”

Had she been angry, or a spoiled one year old playing favorites, my response may have differed, but she looked scared and very, very worried, and so it broke my heart.

My one year old couldn’t handle a separation between her parents of only two rows at church. Oh, how heartbroken would she be if ever one of her parents would move out of the house!

I thought about all the children of all ages that I’ve ever known to go through a parent’s divorce. I never understood their pain, I never really considered the depth of it. But just then, my heart understood a tiny bit of their pain and it broke for them.

How confusing it must be for them, how unexpected and painful of a transition. Parents belong together; children never consider otherwise.

This is not to condemn those who have been or are going through a divorce, I didn’t think about parents while contemplating the effects on children. I understand that they happen, but my thoughts here are only on the children. And I do understand that sometimes that is what is best for the children, but what a heartbreak for them regardless.

I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and I believe it should be preserved if at all possible. Divorcing my husband has never crossed my mind, especially not after only three years of marriage, but at at moment when I saw a terrified little girl, I knew it was never an option for me.

As a mother, I never wanted to see that pain in her again and if I wanted to preserve the relationship between her mommy and daddy, the journey starts now. I have to have a marriage worth keeping right now. The seeds of separation start much earlier than the final decision, and suddenly my marriage was even more important to me than before.

Waffle-ly Goodness


Waffles (Photo credit: jonathan mcintosh)


 Everybody loves waffles! They are great with fruit, jam, butter, peanut butter, Nutella, syrup (according to some anyway :) and my personal favorite, powdered sugar. I make them several batches at a time, and just pull out as many as I need at a time. This recipe itself is not an unhealthy breakfast, but what you add on top is up to you.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup cooking oil or 1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat your waffle maker
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Mix the vanilla, eggs and melted butter in another medium bowl.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the center of your flour mixture.
  • Let sit 5 minutes while the baking powder does its magic.
  • Bake according to your waffle maker. Or just fill it up, close it, and open it when the steam slows down. If your iron has a timer, know I am jealous of your technology ;)


This is just the base recipe, you can sub out some of the flour for cocoa powder and up the sugar for extra yumminess, or add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips or bananas to the mixture for variety.


Bread Day

I spent the day doing all my bread prep for two weeks, and I thought I would share a bit about it. I cannot believe how fast time goes by, and how its been a week since I posted! I have been busy with traveling, meetings and then playing catch up when I got home. We missed a meeting so I could avoid any further traveling, and I will be home (or within two hours) until after my baby comes. I have had amazing first and second trimesters every pregnancy, but the last trimester has been difficult the last pregnancy and is getting more difficult this time. Still good; still healthy, but I have limits.

I don’t like limits, by the way, but I’ve learned to embrace them regardless :)

So, in my desire to eliminate as many artificial and unnamed ingredients as possible, I have been making my own breads. I have always made biscuits and cornbread from scratch, but I have upped it to making more waffles and breakfast breads (instead of having cereal), and even making sandwich bread myself.

I don’t make tortillas though. We use them a lot, but I refuse to make them without the tortilla press, and I am cheap. Very, very cheap ;) maybe I’ll find one at a yard sale one day…..

So I started the day by going to a neighbor friend’s house and picking up a dozen eggs. Honestly, I love the fresh eggs, I can’t taste a difference, but I don’t have to worry about my eggs being from sick chickens.

My next mission was to make some butter. I then proceeded to make waffles for breakfast, I made two batches with the help of my tiny army.

Here I am teaching Adelle how to cut the oil, and she thought it was hilarious.

Here I am teaching Adelle how to cut the oil, and she thought it was hilarious.

After we snacked on some waffles, I continued to bake the waffles and started on my batter breads. I made two pecan struesel, and two Strawberry Breads. I used the same recipe for the two, I just put struesel on top of one and omitted the strawberries.

Before making the struesel, I found I was out of brown sugar, so I made more brown sugar. I made a ton this time, I use it often enough.

I then made my biscuits. Biscuit recipes are all about the same, but since I cannot have vegetable oil, I used coconut oil instead. I was a bit worried since coconut oil melts at a lower temperature, but they turned out amazingly flaky and tasted great.

I also used this recipe to make three loaves of sandwich bread. I took my own suggestion and added half wheat flour. We ate some of the bread with dinner, its pretty amazing, but I still prefer it to be all white ;)

His faces are hysterical sometimes! Its hard to catch them on camera though!

His faces are hysterical sometimes! Its hard to catch them on camera though!

I used some of my awesome buttermilk, and fresh butter to make some cornbread muffins.

I spent a large part of my day with this project, but I let the kids help and took breaks to play and attend to their needs. I will have to see over the next few weeks if having these things pre-made and frozen is more convenient than trying to make them everyday.

The finished breads.

The finished breads.

Freezer ready!

Freezer ready!

I had the kitchen cleaned by dinner time, and made some yummy honey mustard/bacon/cheese covered chicken breast. My husband tried it (he doesn’t eat things with sauce, period). He even loved it! He is not a terribly picky eater, but I am happy with this step ;)

Simple but yummy dinner.

Simple but yummy dinner.

I learned some random things today:

1. I’m not good at being prepared!

2. I actually like wearing an apron. Its nice to not have to look for a place to wipe my hands, keeping my clothes clean is an added bonus.

3. Adelle gags at fried squash, even though she eats is raw all the time…

4. I have never made too many fresh green beans, I LOVE having good eaters. It wasn’t easy to get them that way, but I intend on keeping it that way.

5. My children could eat butter by itself, but no, I don’t let them :)

6. My husband loves me enough to eat something he was so sure he would hate!

7. I only partially like it when my husband folds laundry, I may not ask that favor again to save room for more helpful favors. Am I the only wife who thinks like this????

8. Better Homes and Garden magazine is mostly ads, and its not worth the subscription most of the time.

9. I CAN make bacon. I thought I couldn’t, but learned that I just didn’t do it long enough in the past. If its crispy enough, I’ll even eat it, I didn’t start liking bacon until this pregnancy.

10. I even went all day without burning myself, I may be less clumsy than I used to be, or I may now have what my husband calls “Kitchen Hands.”

11. Hearing, “I help you,” “I want to help you,” and “Yay! I did it!” from my one year old is one of the best feelings on the planet.

12. I can grow tomatoes without killing them! At least so far. I’ve barely had to water them though since it won’t stop raining in FL.

13. Moccasins may be cute and comfy with my skirts, but are a hazard in the rain. I had to change my shoes after three near collisions with the ground. Blame the rain, pregnancy or shoes…

This is not relevant, but this is what my kids look like when we arrive at a hotel at 3AM. This picture makes me laugh, and I'm not even sure why.

This is not relevant, but this is what my kids look like when we arrive at a hotel at 3AM. This picture makes me laugh, and I’m not even sure why.