Homeschooling a Possible Future Chef

I’ve found an edition to our homeschool resources that I never expected to add! I’ve shared before that my son is a high school homeschool student. ManBoy loves to cook and has expressed an interest in possibly becoming a chef. I am a believer in homeschooling to your children’s interests, especially if those interests could eventually blossom into a career.

That’s why I now consider “Take Home Chef” to be one of our new homeschool resources. ManBoy has been watching this show and learning all kinds of things that he is then trying out in the kitchen. He has taken over the menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking in our house. This is also wonderful training for ManBoy.

I would love to have him work with an actual chef as part of his training. I feel this would allow him to get a chance to find out what being a chef is really all about so that he can decide if this is really what he wants to do with his life.

It would also be great for him to be able to watch other cooking shows to get a wider range of cooking styles. Even if he eventually chooses to take a different path, cooking is something that will always be a useful skill.

I was recently asked to review a new math game that was written by math teacher, Justin Holladay,  for i-pad and i-phone technology. Since I don’t own either an i-Phone or an i-pad, (collective gasp!!!) I asked a friend to review the game for me. What follows is her review of this new math game which you can find  at :


Five Dice is an iPhone/iPad app to practice order of operations. I downloaded Five Dice to my iPad2 and my iPhone4S. It ran perfectly on both devices.

When I opened the game, I was greeted with the typical “dice rolling” sound. I was then given the option to either create a new player, or select an existing player. There are seven lines visible for players’ names, but it’s unclear whether or not seven is the maximum number of players allowed. To add a player, you click the plus sign and type in their name. You can also type in their email address, but I declined, and the app simply asked if I was sure I didn’t want to provide this information. There was no indication of what advantage including an email would provide.

After selecting a player, I clicked the “Play” button, and the game automatically rolled five dice for me. I was also given a target number. The object of the game is to use the numbers on the dice, along with the math symbols provided (plus, minus, multiplication, division, parentheses, and exponents) to create an equation with the target number as its answer.

Numbers on the dice can be used as digits in a larger number. For example, if a six and a five were rolled, one could use them to create the numbers 65 or 56.

Dice and symbols are dragged to their proper places on the grid provided. When I was sure I had an appropriate equation (which was more challenging than I thought it would be), I clicked on an arrow that was pointing to the bullseye, with “Shoot” printed on it. The game then indicated whether or not my answer was correct. If incorrect, I was given the option to change it.

Players can click on a whiteboard to access a scratch pad for working out the answer. The whiteboard can be written on with a finger or a stylus. This is a very basic scratch pad, with options for pencil, eraser, and erase.

The graphics are simple, but effective. The font and outlines for the entire game look a little like pencil drawing, which should appeal to upper level students. The target number appears in a bullseye graphic.

There are ten levels of difficulty. Instructions for playing the game are easily accessible from the Home page. The Home page is also easily accessible from any other area of the game, which I found convenient and helpful.

A printable version of the game is offered on the Home page. I accepted the offer and received an attractive, four-page pdf file. Instructions for the game were on the first page. The next page had pre-populated target numbers (printed on a bullseye), along with squares to indicate which numbers were rolled using the dice. The rest of the file had bullseye graphics, for writing in your own target numbers, and the same squares for dice numbers.

I’m not sure this is a game my students would choose to play “for fun”, but it is certainly a more enjoyable way to practice math skills than many other options. Games for upper level math aren’t easy to find. Any student who enjoys the Apple devices should be able to benefit from the app itself. The printable version, with the rolling of “real” dice, would be great for tactile learners.

Kelly Stone has homeschooled her six children for the past sixteen years. Three have graduated from homeschool high school, with a 7, 11, and 14-year-old still being educated at home.

My Thankful Heart

If you spend any time on Facebook at this time of year then you have probably seen the posts. From the first day of November to Thanksgiving day, people share what they are thankful for. What a wonderful use of technology! We need to be encouraging each other to be thankful. After all, when we have a thankful heart then we are more able to be content with our circumstances. We also have less tendency to be crabby with the people around us.

This is also a great way to teach our kids an attitude of gratitude. For most homeschool parents, it’s about much more than academics. It’s about teaching our children positive character traits. With that in mind, how about extending this season of thankfulness to every day of the year? I think I will give myself that challenge!

I love this graphic. It give an awesome illustration of how consistently being thankful adds snippets of gratitude to save in our hearts. Eventually this should become second nature. That’s what I want for my kids!

By the way, this was my thankful post for today:

Teach Preschoolers Their Colors and More

If you have a preschooler in your house then you might be tempted to think that there isn’t any tech out there for them to learn with. Happily, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are tons of apps targeted to teaching preschoolers, that is if you are willing to hand your expensive and delicate smart phone to a toddler!

It has been years since I’ve had a toddler in my house, but I know of a couple of great sites for teaching them. One is called Learning Games For They have a page dedicated just to preschool learning games. Little ones can listen to the Color Mixing Song, play Match Three Colors, go to the Counting Carnival or have a preschool story read to them. That’s just a small sampling of the fun games included here.

The next site is This is an entire site dedicated to teaching little ones. They provide activities for both online and offline learning. The focus is on preschool math and reading readiness. I personally can’t think of a more fun way for little people to get ready for school!