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The Homeschool Seeker , Issue #001 -- Math Basics
January 31, 2009
Welcome to the Premier Issue of The Homeschool Seeker

Homeschool Seeker

Volume #001
January 2009

In this issue

  • Introduction
  • Sponsor February special
  • Website updates
  • Math Basics Mini Lapbook
  • Tip of the month
  • Sponsor ad
  • Homeschool Picture of the month
  • Homeschool Question/Answer
  • Wishlist
  • Closing Comments


Welcome to the premier issue of The Homeschool Seeker. I hope you enjoy the newsletter as well as the mini lapbook. This month's feature topic is basic math.

Special SiteSell Promotion

Website Updates

I only have one major update on the website that is coming this month to report. I will be taking down the used books for sale section as I feel it really isn't helping anyone. Instead I will be replacing that with reviews of websites that sell either new or used products that will be helpful for homeschoolers. There will be a form to make suggestions for either products or websites that you might want reviewed.

Feature Mini Lapbook

This month's feature mini lapbook is on Basic Math. Here's how I created this mini lapbook.

1. Gather supplies

Supplies you will need for this mini lapbook:
  • 3 brown paper lunch bag
  • hole punch
  • yarn or string or other material to finish construction of lapbook
  • markers, coloring crayons, pencils, pens

Optional Supplies:

  • Stencils
  • Art supplies
  • stickers
  • glitter
  • glue
  • scissors
  • Math book or SparkCharts. I have the SparkCharts and they are a handy reference and highlight the important facts. Of course, a basic math book at your child's level will also work but it will take a little longer perhaps to gather the information.
If you are interested in the SparkCharts you can get them at bookstores or here is a link to

2. Once you have all your supplies, fold the 3 paper bags in 1/2 and hole punch the edges.
For more pictures on how this will look and basic assembly you can visit Mini Lapbooks

3. Begin by decorating cover. I would recommend at least labeling it with "Math Basics"

4. Choose concepts (The concepts I chose are highlighted in yellow)

From the SparkCharts
  • Natural Numbers
  • Whole Numbers
  • Integers
  • Rational Numbers
  • Real Numbers
  • Imaginary Numbers
  • Complex Numbers
  • Digits vs. Numbers
  • Place Value
  • Rounding
  • Addition/Subtraction
  • Multiplication/Division
  • Order of Operations
  • Inequalities and Signs
  • Properties of Addition and Multiplication
  • Multiplication by nines
  • Factoring
  • Factor Trees
  • Divisibility Rules
  • Greatest Common Factor
  • Least Common Multiple
  • Multiplication Table
  • Fractions
  • Proper and Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers
  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Comparing Fractions
  • Adding Fractions
  • Subtracting Fractions
  • Multiplying Fractions
  • Reciprocals
  • Dividing Fractions
  • Mixed Numbers
  • Interpreting Decimals
  • Comparing Decimals
  • Adding and subtracting Decimals
  • Multiplying Decimals
  • Dividing Decimals
  • Geometric shapes
  • Graphs
  • Powers and Roots
  • Measurement
  • Percent
  • Converting Between Decimals and Fractions
  • Positive and Negative Numbers
  • Scientific Notation
  • Time
  • Metric System
  • Symmetry
  • Math Symbols

5. Delegate pages for each concept

With the concepts I chose:
  1. Cover Page
  2. Addition, Subtraction
  3. Multiplication, Division
  4. Factor Tree
  5. Symmetry
  6. Symbols (Wanted to make a testing flap up so needed to make sure this was on a page with a flap.)
  7. Symbols
  8. Order of Operations
  9. Rules of Divisibility
  10. Fractions
  11. Fractions
  12. Geometric Shapes

6. Label pages

7. Add information
  • Addition, Subtraction
Depending on your child's age and ability determine if they need to practice just one set of facts or perhaps on 2 digit or 3 digit subtraction/addition. Add a couple of examples of each. If you do a set of facts consider using a flap up page to make a testing flap up.

On the top of the flap write the practice equation. Underneath the flap write in the answer.
  • Multiplication, Division
Same as above. Another option would be to make the whole mini lapbook a fact book. The idea would be to devote 1 page to 1 equation such as 1 X 8 or 2 X 8

  • Factor Tree
My suggestion here would be to do a couple of examples on a practice sheet and then give your child a 3 digit number and have them factor it out. If correct they get to put it in the book as an example and decorate the page.
  • Symmetry
One idea to demonstrate symmetry would be to have your child find symmetrical images in magazines and cut and paste them into the lapbook or they could also draw some funny but symmetrical images. Let them be creative.

  • Symbols
I devoted 2 pages to symbols for my daughter because I wanted her to really understand that certain terms correlate with certain mathematical operations. So I had her make a flap test of the symbols.
Example: (Of) in a word equation means to multiply
  • Symbols
The second symbol page I had her devote to the symbols of inequality... greater than, less than, etc.

  • Order of Operations
For this page I had her copy the order and decorate the page. My main focus here is that she learn the order. By reviewing this lapbook often and applying it in her lessons I am confident this will not be a problem.
  • Rules of Divisibility
Again these rules are extremely useful when your child gets into higher levels of introduce the rules, have them write and illustrate the rules to begin with and then review often.

  • Fractions
As you can see from the list a whole mini lapbook could be devoted to fractions. In my example picture I drew a fish as an example of how someone with younger children can start to introduce fractions. I tried to make it like a little game. How many yellow stripes does the fish have? How many total stripes? Part of the whole concept.
  • Fractions
On the second example page, I wanted to show how one could start applying math concepts to other subjects. In this case, the study of art and composition.

  • Geometric Shapes
The final page I devoted to preschoolers. I made a collage of pictures composed of simple shapes using stencils. With a young child I would then sit down and ask them to count the different types of shapes.

8. Review information

The idea is to adapt the information to the level of your child. A Math Basic book for a preschooler would be much more basic than a book for an eight year old child.

Again, I suggest using your child's regular math book to get an idea of some topics. Pick topics that were or are difficult for your child or that you feel are important for them to review. This would be a great end of the semester/book/year project. During the break, if they just reviewed the main concepts once a day, the material from the previous book would be more likely retained.

9. Add finishing details and final assembly

Decorate the mini lapbook with art crafts and supplies. Assemble by sewing or attaching the bags together.

Tip of the Month

Math Tip of the Month: Use a timer. Make it fun. Play math games. For basic math practice one game is to pick a favorite 1 digit number, for example 8. Then anytime you see a bigger number have your child try to figure out a way to come up with 8.

Pick #:8
Pick another #: 17
Ask how can they use the digits in 17 to get to 8. 1+7 =8

Sponsor ad
I Love SBI!

Homeschool Picture of the Month

This picture is a tribute to our snow school day. We transformed a field with images. This is mine...I love snow and I love snow days.

If you would like to send a picture to be considered for use in The Homeschool Seeker there are several places on the website where you can submit the image.

The best places to submit images for the newsletter would be at
Kid's Create

Just please add title HOMESCHOOL SEEKER PICTURE so that I know it is not a Kid's creation submission. Thanks.

Homeschool Question/Answer

Question: How do I keep my children focused on their math problems. They get easily distracted and if I walk away for even a few seconds I come back to find them staring out the window.

Answer:Actually there are several things you can try to help your child focus.

Use a Timer

I like to use a timer. Set the timer for just a little bit less than how fast you want them to finish 5 problems.

For example I want my son to finish 5 problems in 6 minutes. So I set the timer for 5 minutes.

Now, make a game or challenge your child to beat the timer.

Do they understand how to do the problems?

Also, make sure they understand the problem or how to do the problem.
It may be that your child is stuck and rather than ask for help...daydreams or fiddles.

If you discover this is the problem, take a deep breath and explain the steps again on how to solve the problem. Have them then work through similar types of problems until you are confident they know how to do the steps. Then go back to the original problem and watch only as they work out the problem.

It is important they learn to do the questions without prompting. If you find yourself prompting them...stop. (I say that in the most loving of ways)

Let them figure it out. If you find that you are prompting them -start over with explaining the steps by using an alternative method. Try doing the problem in a more hands-on or visual manner.

Is the material too easy?

Another thing to watch out for is that the work is not challenging them. If this is the case, you have several options. Go on with the next lesson, get a different curriculum, move up a level (caution: remember textbooks have many review lessons in the beginning and if this is happening here -don't move up a level...just reinforce weak areas and go to a more challenging material section.)


Careful observation of your child as he/she does Math can help determine how you should try to get them to focus.

One of my children I discovered has severe allergies. This can also be an attributing factor but this problem can be treated.

Another one of my children is easily distracted by well...just about everything. The timer method works best for her but it works better if she is racing me. I usually have to knit a row or something in the same amount of time she is working on her problems.

Homeschool Wishlist

I really want to make this a newsletter you enjoy reading. So if you have ideas, comments or suggestions please visit Homeschool Wishlist
and let me know.

Or fill in the form at Homeschool Seeker for ideas/suggestions

Closing Comments

I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Homeschool Seeker. Until next time, happy homeschooling!


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