A Picture From Our Week: Board Games That Teach

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4 family board games that sneak in spelling and math workLast week both my boys were at church camp and my husband and I only had our daughter at home. One night she was looking very bored  so I suggested we play the board game Boggle that I had gotten at a yard sale for $2 a few weeks ago. She immediately ran for the game, which made me smile, you see my daughter struggles with spelling and she hasn’t seemed to realize yet that some of her favorite board games require her to use and polish her spelling skills.

Her second least favorite subject is math yet she would play Monopoly 24/7 if you let her and it uses math skills.

As I was giggling to myself about this I started a mental list in my head of other board games I play with her that use and improve her spelling and math skills, I came up with 4

4 Board Games That That Teach


1. Boggle

I found a barely used Boggle board game at a yard sale for $2 just a few short weeks ago and it is now the go to game for the whole family. I even caught my middle son playing it one afternoon with my daughter and that child hates spelling more than his sister yet he played for a solid hour with her.

We bend the rules and count 2 letter words. We also keep the iPad with its dictionary App handy to look up words one player is stubbornly insisting is really a word. So not only are we working on spelling skills but also dictionary skills and corrections.

2. Scrabble Slam Card Game

Our Scrabble Slam deck was a free with coupon find a few years back and it is looking very well used. It has helped the children increase their vocabulary and spelling skills and again the iPad is always near by with  its dictionary App open so it works on dictionary skills as well. What I really love about Slam though is  it is like a rapid spelling drill. You have to think on your feet if you want to win which means you are working on your children’s recall skills as well.


1. Monopoly

Our family has both a yard sale found Junior Monopoly board and a clearance found Monopoly game. We tend to play the junior version when we are pressed for time and the full Monopoly version when the evening is wide open. Monopoly works on money skills such as making change and adding and subtracting.

2. Yahtzee

Purchased on sale for a Christmas gift Yahtzee is a classic game that uses adding skills as well as number pattern recognition skills.

I know these are only 4 of many games out there that help squeeze a bit of hidden learning into your child’s day, and I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below of games that are fun and teach or work on important skills below.

how to purchase board games for less (smallerl)You might have noticed I didn’t pay full price for any of our games, here are my tips for buying board games for less.


Homeschooling Mom It Is Okay To Take The Summer Off

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Winter was horrible, and left me itching to get outdoors once warm weather finally arrived. The house is a shambles due to renovating one room (why does a one room renovation make the whole house fall apart?). My heart aches with grief of losing yet another loved one this spring. I need a break, something in my schedule has got to go for just a while so I can have the time I need to refresh and recharge and so we are taking the summer off homeschooling.

Dear Homeschooling Mom It is okay to take the summer off.

Homeschooling Mom It is Okay To Take The Summer Off

Homeschooling mom if this is how you feel too, know it is okay to take the summer off homeschooling. Your children’s brains will not turn to mush. You are not a homeschooling failure if you take a break, you are simply giving yourself the self care you need to be the best teacher you can be come fall.

Stop looking at pins for summer homeschooling plans, stop reading posts about all the benefits of summer schooling, stop beating yourself up and instead  take some time to make a list, what do YOU want to do this summer. Yes a list that is all about you. Do you want to read some novels?Perhaps work on a sewing project you have put off all year.Paint those yard sale finds so that your living room looks like you always envisioned it could. Gear up for a 5K, 10K or 1/2 marathon. Bike a 50 miler or a 100 miler.

Sure you can’t take all the summer hours for yourself, but you can sneak an hour of recharging your battery time each day if you are diligent about it. Beat the kids out of bed and lace up your shoes and run with your friends. Tell the hubby that the hour after dinner three times a week is the hour you plan to go for a long walk all by yourself. When the last child is tucked in at night, instead of doing chores, grab your book and head outside with a blanket and read on the lawn until the sunsets, and when it does put your book down and let the beauty of it sink in and renew your spirit.

Have silly fun with the children in the time normally spent doing school work together. Join them on the trampoline, have a squirt gun fight with them or take them out for a special cool treat on the hot summer days. Build a fort together, draw your bodies outlines on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk and have fun coloring them in.

The time normally spent organizing your school week, and marking their books, take that time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go well during the year of homeschooling you just finished and refocus yourself for the year of homeschooling ahead.

Recharge your batteries for the next school year, it is okay to be drained, it happens to us all, what is not okay is letting your batteries get so low that you face the next school year dragging your heals  neither you nor your children will benefit from that.

So take the summer off and be intentional about using it to recharge and refresh so you can face the new school 100% charged up and ready to go.

(please note: I have nothing against summer schooling, we have done that as a family many summers too, I just want to encourage moms who are burnt out to take the time off they need)

Looking for homeschooling tips? Follow my Homeschooling board on Pinterest.

Linked to Titus 2sdays,

All I Want For Christmas Is An Organized Home: Update

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I was suppose to deep clean both the bathrooms and the hallways this week,but life had other plans for me and I am okay with it.

3 santas 2013I knew we had the Santa Hustle on Sunday but what I did not factor into the works was how much time the race would take.  First we had to drive down to Indy Saturday to pick up our race packets which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes each way. We thought about spending the night but the hotel rooms were all $200 or more in the City and that was a lot more than the half of tank of gas the extra driving cost us.

Since we were driving that far, my husband and I made Saturday a date day. We used some point earned gift cards and had lunch out. We finished the last of the Christmas shopping and stocked up on food and other items we can find cheaper in Indy than in our town.

Sunday, we did the drive all over again; 3 hours total. Plus we had the time it took to do the race, and the celebration lunch afterwards, because my son will only run his first half marathon once.

So basically, my weekend time was spent in Indy, and what little time I had leftover was spent packing the gear we needed for the race and writing that needed to get done.

By Sunday night I realized my hope of getting both bathrooms and the hallways done was not happening so revised my goal to deep cleaning just one bathroom.

girls slieghingMonday morning just as I was about to shut off the computer for the morning and get to work on the bathroom I realized that the school district where one of my daughter’s friends goes to had decided to declare a snow day. My daughter had been asking when she was going to get to see this friend and the opportunity to snag her from her mom (who just happens to be my redhead running friend) was up for grabs and so I put my plans aside and sent a quick text to my friend to start arranging pick up and drop off times.

sugar cookieOne of the things my daughter really wanted to do with her friend was decorate and eat some of my sugar cookies. I am not holding my usual big party this year, instead I told the children they could invite friends over during Christmas break and I would bake up a small fresh batch each time for them to decorate with friends.

So that meant we needed to get sprinkles, and since I needed raw honey and GMO free popcorn too, I figured we might as well drive to the small market not too far from where her friend lives that sells those specialty items and also has a huge selection of sprinkles.

When we got home I spent my morning baking cookies and my afternoon cleaning up the mess from the race the day before. I wish I had taken a picture of the pile that was on the floor, lets just say the gear needed for 3 people to run a cold weather race and two people to watch it filled the entire back of my Trailblazer and all that stuff got dumped in the living room when we got back and stayed there overnight. It was one big wet and smelly (running clothes) mess by the time I got to it.

By the time I finished it was dinner time and I knew the bathroom was not getting deep cleaned this week, since Tuesday was packed with a few other events. I am okay with it though, because memories come out of fun Christmas events not out of organizing bathroom cupboards.

Lesson learned: Next year I am going to start my Christmas deep cleaning earlier, I am thinking perhaps first week of October so that I am done by Thanksgiving, instead of trying to squeeze it in between holiday events.

all I want for christmas is an organized home (small)