Making Math Come Alive with Spielgaben

Making Math Come Alive with Spielgaben

{We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.}

We have had our Spielgaben set for years now and have grown with it. This year for 2nd grade, we are using Spielgaben as an extension of our math curriculum. Spielgaben is releasing a full math program soon and we were sent a preview file of PDFs for the 2nd grade curriculum. These are the worksheets you see in this post. They are not available yet but will be soon, follow along with us and I will let you know when you can get your hands on this new math program!

She has been deep into multiplication lately with her core math curriculum so I went through the Spielgaben math files and pulled out several multiplication sheets so we could work on the same concepts in a different way! It was neat to see what she did and didn’t understand. Adding in hands-on pieces really helps a lot and is one of the main reasons I continue to supplement her math.

Spielgaben (5 of 2)

Spielgaben (6 of 2)


She chose whether she wanted to use objects or just do the problem in her head. For most she chose objects, some she did on her own.

Spielgaben (3 of 3)


This was another day and she chose to do this one entirely without using any objects.

Spielgaben (1 of 1)


What usually happens when we pull out Spielgaben supplies for math? Her creative juices begin to flow and she often wants to play after our lesson. I am a BIG fan of this and encourage her to play! This particular day was awesome. She spontaneously set up a store for us. She made lollipops, flowers, fans and birds. Then we played store.

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Little did she know it was a sneaky way to get in a good review of counting money.

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Spontaneous, playful, fun learning. And that’s why I love Spielgaben.

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See more math fun we have had with Spielgaben!

Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3[1] Exploring-Symmetry-with-Spielgaben22 Math-Play-with-Spielgaben---ideas-fo[1] Math-with-Spielgaben122 Soma-Cube-with-Spielgaben22 

Playful-Learning-with-Spielgaben-Sep Hands-on-Math-with-Spielgaben3_thumb Hands on 1st Grade Math with Spielgaben Multiplication-with-Spielgaben246222 Create-a-Clock-with-Spielgaben101221 

Exploring-fractions-with-Spielgaben8[1] Exploring-Measurement-with-Spielgabe[2] Exploring-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3322[1] Exploring-Angles-with-Spielgaben_thu[1] 

Exploring-Addition-with-Spielgaben_t Exploring-Parallel-Lines-with-Spielg[1] Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3 Graphing with Spielgaben


See version 4.0 here!


Mid Year Review of Teaching Textbooks Math 3

Teaching Textbooks Math 3 Review


{disclaimer ~ TT is a sponsor and affiliate links are in this post. We used TT long before they ever became a sponsor, we are grateful for our new partnership!}

I am simply in love with Teaching Textbooks. Using level 3 with my daughter this year has only solidified that love. My boys have been using TT for 3 years now, but this is her first year and my first year seeing it from the beginning. Now that Ladybug is over half way through I wanted to do a review and answer some questions I have gotten this year!

First, I want to take a minute and explain a bit about what makes TT different from other homeschool math programs.

Teaching Textbooks were designed specifically for independent learners. Each Teaching Textbook has approximately 700 pages of text and 120 – 160 hours of teacher instruction on CD-ROM, and is both a teacher and a textbook combined into one. There are audiovisual step-by-step explanations for every single one of the almost 3,500 problems in the book. Using a Teaching Textbook is like having a tutor available at the push of a button, which means I do NOT have to know it all!

I made a video to explain and show a few things and want to share that first. I expand on some of it in the post below, but in this video you can see a peek at the program on the computer, some ways I help her} my sticky note method}, inside of the book itself, and some of my rambling thoughts about this awesome program.

Table of Contents

You can download a PDF of the table of contents here to see it in full. Look for this graphic, you’ll also see the link for the TT 3 placement test there too!

TT3 TOC and Placement

Our Lesson Checklist

In the video I show our personal checklist and you can download a copy here if you’d like to use it.

TT3 Plan

Does she work independently?

She works by herself most of the time but I am always nearby. Sometimes she uses her headphones and just pauses if she needs me. Other times she leaves the sound so I can hear and I follow along and help as needed. Honestly after about a month she was mostly independent.

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How is the review?

I am a BIG fan of cyclical review in math, kids can’t be forgetting things! Teaching Textbooks does a great job of this in my opinion. The review is scattered in but not overwhelming.


How are the multiplication lessons presented?

Multiplication is introduced in level 3 and you can see the order of the lessons in the screenshot below. I talk about this a bit more in the video if you haven’t watched it yet.

TT3 TOC Multiplication Lessons


Do we supplement at all?

Yes! I am still a big fan of hands-on learning especially in the early math years. Adding in some fun is important to me. We mainly use Spielgaben for this, you can see our monthly posts here. We also play math games, like our printable multiplication games here. If I see her struggling to understand at all, I will pull together a hands-on lesson to reinforce and teach differently. Below you can see a photo I shared on Instagram here, showing us playing the Winter Multiplication Games and using the Skip Counting Charts from Homeschool Creations.

1.12.17 Teaching Textbooks (9)


How is this compared to other 2nd grade math programs we used?

We  used a more traditional homeschool math program for PacMan and for Krash we used Singapore. I have never really loved the traditional math programs, but I did really love Singapore. The problem for me was the amount of teacher involvement needed. I simply did not have that kind of time and began looking elsewhere when I finally realized Singapore wouldn’t be a good fit for our family long term. About that time PacMan was moving into Pre Algebra and I was getting a bit nervous. We started Teaching Textbooks then with him and since he was going to be using it, I decided to give Math 4 a try for Krash who was in 3rd grade at the time. We haven’t looked back! Krash is now using Math 6, and PacMan is using Geometry. We plan to use Teaching Textbooks all the way through high school!

What level should my child begin with?

Teaching Textbooks is often different than your child’s actual grade level. My daughter is in 2nd grade and using level 3 right now, it’s a perfect fit. You’ll notice when my boys used each level so far in the list below…

For Krash ~

For PacMan ~

If you are curious about Teaching Textbooks and thinking of making the switch, they have placement tests for you to use to make the process easier!

Teaching Textbooks Placement Tests

See another post about Teaching Textbooks here.

We Love Teaching Textbooks Math

Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits!

Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

Our love for Ivy Kids Kits continues! These continue to be the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

Ivy Kids-

  • The humorous and heartwarming book Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. 
  • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
  • Houseful of Cats: Paint the beautiful wooden house and use it along with the cat figures to retell the story
  • Story Re-telling: Use the board and cat figures to retell the story of Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats that have names from A to Z. 
  • Cat Puppet: Create your own cat puppet with a personalized name collar 
  • Cat Bingo: Learn about the different cat species while playing bingo. The person to get 3 cats in a row gets bingo.
  • Houseful of Pets – Roll and Stick: Roll the dice, find the number rolled, and cover the number with a colorful cat or dog sticker. Keep rolling the dice until you have found all the hidden numbers and your house is full of pets!
  • Find Your Way Home Board Game: Players take turns moving the cat pawns along the alphabetical path until each cat has reached the house at the end of the board
  • Kitty Bank: Use the paints to decorate your own cute and functional kitty bank.
  • Cat Fact Boards and Trivia: Learn fun and interesting facts about cats and solve the trivia questions
  • Cat Race – Roll and Stamp: Choose from 3 different racing sheets! Player counts the number rolled and then stamps the column displaying that numerical symbol. Continue rolling until the cats reach the top of at least one column. Whichever column has the most cats wins the race.
  • 100 Cats: What does 100 cats look like? Find out by stamping 100 cats onto the hundreds board.
  • Word Families: The first player to collect all the word cards that belong to his or her word family wins the game.  
  • Cat Alphabet: Color these uniquely formed letters. For silly fun, try to use your own body to make the different letter shapes.
    She was SO excited to open our box and see CATS! She loves cats!
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She immediately asked to go read the book and she loved it! Not so sure the dog loved a book all about cats!

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    Ivy Kids Kit -0269


      Activities From Our Box…

      She chose to do the story-retelling activity first and loved all of the little kitties!

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      She always loves the games that are included, I think spending more time with me and playing together is a highlight!

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      She is a craft-loving girl and this one was a favorite!

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      She loved the Cat Facts game, the pictures were awesome!

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      She is a bit too old for rhyming so we just peeked at it quickly.

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      We played BINGO a few times, which she loved!

      Ivy Kids-1753


      She loved playing “A Houseful of Cats,” and so did I! I loved that there were varying levels included, we played a few different ways.

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      Her very favorite was the kitty bank craft! She also loved the little cat house!

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      Ivy Kids-1740 Ivy Kids-1742


      We continue to just LOVE Ivy Kids and are thankful to have these boxes! You can buy this kit here!

      We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, Penguin & Pinecone kit, Gotta Go! Gotta Go! kit and Over in the Ocean!

      A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w[1] Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with[1] 

      Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie Over in the Ocean Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits[4]


      20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

      Use code: IVY20

      A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

      When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!

      DIY Spielgaben Photo Puzzles

      DIY Photo Puzzle with Spielgaben

      {We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.}

      We had some leftover Christmas cards and I remembered how much Ladybug loved the puzzles we created awhile back so I decided to make her a more difficult version using the colored shapes in our Spielgaben kit instead of just cubes!

      First, I grabbed a handful of all one color and laid out a pattern on the picture I had.

      Spielgaben -1377

      I then used my Open It! {the little utility knife part of it} to cut each shape.

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      Some clear tape and done!

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      She immediately remembered our puzzles when I showed her and loved that this one was a photo!

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      All done!

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      I think we might be making more of these, it was fun and simple! Have a younger child, use the cubes. Have an older child? Challenge your child to create their own pattern with the blocks! Use old photos that you have duplicates of!

      See more fun we have had with Spielgaben!

      Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3[1] Exploring-Symmetry-with-Spielgaben22 Math-Play-with-Spielgaben---ideas-fo[1] Math-with-Spielgaben122 Soma-Cube-with-Spielgaben22 

      Playful-Learning-with-Spielgaben-Sep Hands-on-Math-with-Spielgaben3_thumb Hands on 1st Grade Math with Spielgaben Multiplication-with-Spielgaben246222 Create-a-Clock-with-Spielgaben101221 

      Exploring-fractions-with-Spielgaben8[1] Exploring-Measurement-with-Spielgabe[2] Exploring-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3322[1] Exploring-Angles-with-Spielgaben_thu[1] 

      Exploring-Addition-with-Spielgaben_t Exploring-Parallel-Lines-with-Spielg[1] Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3 Graphing-with-Spielgaben3


      See version 4.0 here!


      2nd Grade Homeschool Wrap-Up, Oct.-Dec. 2016

      2nd Grade Homeschool Wrap Up Oct 2016

      This year I am doing individual grade level wrap-up posts instead of all three kids in one. I shared 9th grade here and 5th grade here already. I had big plans of getting them all done and then I didn’t. So I am expanding this post to include highlights from 2nd grade during October, November and December!

      Here is the post about the curriculum choices we made for her.





      I seriously cannot say enough fabulous things about Teaching Textbooks 3.  This is our first time using level 3, so our first kid to begin with TT. The boys use it but they started later. She now works through her lessons on her own and comes to me if she needs help. She is consistently scoring 95-100 so it seems to be working!

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      She has recently been in the middle of the multiplication section, so I created some fun games for her to work on to aid with memorization.

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      She also uses the Math Drills app, which I have customized for her. This is to work on being quick with memorize math facts.

      Spielgaben is still a fun addition to our math. You can see the latest post by clicking  below.Graphing with Spielgaben


      She still does Life of Fred with her daddy about twice a week, I just don’t have any photos!


      We use First Language Lessons Level 2 & Growing with Grammar 2 simply because I like both of them and neither takes too long. I do not correlate the teaching topics, we just work straight through each book, which provides some review when one book covers something at a different time. This is partly why I like using both books.

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      We use our Boogie Board a lot for the First Language Lessons now, funny how a new addition like that can bring joy to lessons! Below she was describing Nerds during a lesson on adjectives.

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      All About Spelling Level 2 is a great fit, we do one lesson per week, using the board one day and then writing the words in her notebook the other day. Recently we have started using the Boogie Board for parts of the lessons, she LOVES this.

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      I love our Evan-Moor Geography book! She does too! It is the perfect fit for her. You an see our full review as well as a video peek in the book here.

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      We also practice US states and capitals using our wall map. She puts up a few states a day. We are on our 3rd or 4th time through, I can’t remember! I love this map, and the great review it provides!



      She does Apologia Swimming Creatures with her 5th grade brother and her dad.  She is VERY into this as she loves sea creatures.

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      Daddy is always finding great videos for them to go along with their lessons.

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      Listen to her tell you about her notes here in this video from Instagram!

      A video posted by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on



      She also does The Mystery of History with her brother and Dad. She takes the best notes, I love seeing her learn and work!

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      We are using our Songs for Saplings Questions with Answers Volume 1 printables which you can see here!  She absolutely LOVES these songs and is learning so much.

      We are also using Friends and Heroes!  We decided to stick with the Family Devotional that we reviewed here.  Even though this was written for families, I use it for her and she loves it. It’s a great way to go back through the movies with her.  Below you can see one of her recent activities.

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      My girl loves to read!  See our post all about what we are doing for reading this year! See her ongoing books read list here – I am trying to keep it updated! Currently we are finishing up Little House on the Prairie {3rd in series} aloud together.



      Below you can see her most recent stacks of completed books. See all of her completed books for 2nd grade here!

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      Another series she has enjoyed from the library recently is the Ask Me Why books.

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      See these books on Amazon below…





      We are using Home Art Studio 2nd grade this year. I am aiming to do one project per month. See our post about her recent project, The Blue Dog, here.

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      All the Rest

      She continues Ivy Kids Unit Studies. Our latest was Leaves and now we are into Mrs. McTats and Her House Full of Cats, which she LOVES – we will have a full review on that one coming soon!

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      Ivy Kids Kit -0268


      She continues to love her swimming lessons and tolerates her weekly gymnastics class. We leave her in it for the purpose of keeping her active and social. She does 30 minutes of swim a week and 1 hour of a homeschool gymnastics class.


      Christmas fun has filled our homeschool room the past few weeks of course! 

      Christmas Hundreds Chart -0709 Christmas Multiplication Games -0858


      2nd Grade Subjects

      Follow along with us on Instagram to get peeks at our homeschool life {and our life in general!}.

      Linking up with Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up