Finished With Fractions!


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Fractions, they are all around us yet they are so difficult for kids to understand. I think that fractions are about the most difficult part of elementary math. They involve so much thinking and often there are many steps to solve a problem. We have been working on fractions for a while now. (It seems like forever) AJ started her first fraction book about two months before the end of school last year and has been working on them for the first three months this year. Last week she took her final fraction test and got 96%. We were both amazed.

Math Fractions

She worked through the Key To Fraction books, and I really can’t say enough about them. They provide step by step instructions, adequate practice but not so much that it is overwhelming, an answer key with everything worked out, and they are very inexpensive. Finding the Key To Math website a few years ago was really a blessing because these workbooks really work for AJ.

She has an amazing understanding of fractions now. With each book, even as the material was getting harder, she was having an easier time understanding it. After finishing the four books she can; add, subtract, multiply, divide, and simplify fractions. She can work with different denominators, mixed numbers, cross simplify, rename fractions, and so much more.  I am certain that she has a good understanding of all fraction operations.

While working on the Key To Fraction books we did a few extra things to work on fractions.

First she played this fraction game a lot. I found it on sale during back to school time for $2 and it was well worth it.

Fun math Fractions
The game really helped her to visualize what it meant when she had to add 3/8 and 1/2. It is a quick game so we were able to fit it in when we had a few extra minutes for math.
Fraction Fun
She did a lot of cooking and measuring. There is no better way to learn about fractions than to double cookie recipes.
I made her a few different worksheets as well. The first one I shared in October, and the second I will be sharing soon.
This week we started with percents. The first few weeks will be simple and then it will become a little bit more complex. We both feel a great sense of accomplishment that she has finished with fractions and really knows her stuff!
What are you working on in math? How is your school year going?

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Missionary – Review

For as long as I can remember AJ has wanted to have a million different jobs. She is 11, and just last week she asked how much longer she had to wait to get a job and make her own money. Over the years she has wanted to do many things. Her job choices have ranged from working at Disneyland as Princess Bell, to becoming a marine biologist. I don’t know what she will end up being when she grows up, she has plenty of time to figure it out. She is very interested in learning about different careers, so when I was asked by the Schoolhouse Review Crew  to review the e-book, WannaBe – When I Grow Up I Want to be a Missionary I thought it would be a great fit.

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Missionary is part of the WannaBe series from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It is currently available for $8.95 and is geared for kids ages 4 to 10. As with most unit studies, the age range is just a guide. In this book there are plenty options for the older kids.

How did we use the product?

After downloading the 93 page e-book I soon realized that it was so much more than just a book. It is a full unit study all about missionaries. There are so many suggested activities available that AJ and I were not able to complete everything. We read the book on the computer and printed off some worksheets and the vocabulary.

We started our missionary unit study by reading all about different types of missionaries. AJ’s first question was, “What is a missionary?” As we started to read she learned so much. She learned about both foreign and domestic missionaries. She even learned about missionaries in closed countries. After reading all about missionaries, there were different suggested activities to do.

First up for us was math. There were a few different story problems that she had to solve. She practiced a variety of topics including; converting currency, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and elapsed time. The best part was figuring out a missionary’s budget. She practiced so many math skills and had a ball doing it.

The next activity AJ completed was translating a few the Bible verses into different languages. She picked Spanish and German. She thought it was the coolest thing ever to translate the Bible.

AJ completed the worksheets that I printed off earlier.  She did a fill in the blank story to practice vocabulary, a word search, a crossword puzzle, and copy work. The copy work is provided in both cursive and print.

To wrap up our missionary study we attempted to make resurrection rolls.  They didn’t turn out exactly right, but AJ understood the message and had a blast making the rolls.

There were so many other activities that we just didn’t have time to complete including; reading a biography about a missionary, a science study and project, an art project, a useful craft, and even directions for making a fish shaped cake. There are also ideas for practicing vocabulary, and games that focus on a missionary theme.

What did we think?

AJ loved this unit study! In fact, she was upset when I told her we were going back to our normal school work tomorrow. We both enjoyed reading and learning about the different missionaries. I liked that this was a true unit study, and that it incorporated so many different subjects. It included numerous options so I was able to pick and choose things that I felt would work well with AJ’s learning style.The unit study was very well written and I feel that you could easily spend a few weeks or longer on just one book. After reviewing this book I am really considering getting the When I Grow Up I Want to be a Veterinarian e-book.

If you are looking for a well done unit study that has numerous activities, the Wanna Be series might be exactly what you are looking for.

Free Pumpkin Fraction Worksheet

This year it is my goal to make math a little bit more exciting for AJ. One day a week we try to either do a fun worksheet that I make up to review previous skills she has learned, play a game, or do a hands on activity. Since this week is Halloween, I decided to make a pumpkin themed worksheet for her.

AJ has just started learning about mixed numbers and the worksheet should be quite simple. It is meant to be a quick review of fractions that are less than, equal to, or greater than one.

Click on the picture to download a copy of the worksheet for FREE. Be sure to print it in landscape for best results.

First Day of 6th Grade

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I can’t believe that AJ is in 6th grade this year. She has grown so much over the last few years and I am excited to start the new year. My favorite year of school was 6th grade, I had an amazing teacher and learned so much. If she was going to public school, AJ would be in middle school this year. The school she would go to is the same one I went to for the first part of 7th grade,(I was lucky enough to be accepted to a prep school after the first quarter) and it was a rough place way back then. I am so glad she will not have to go to that school!

AJ started the morning off with a shower and then got to work on her chores. She has to make her bed, get dressed, put dishes away, bring up the trash cans, feed the dog, and help make sure everything of hers is put away .

For her first day of school I got up early and made a good breakfast. We had homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, a banana, and orange juice. It was a good start to the day.

Breakfast was just the two of us, and then I woke up Grandma and got her dressed while AJ started on her Language Arts book.
We had a few minutes before we had to leave so I reviewed fraction operations with AJ and made sure she understood how to do all of her grammar.
Then we took Grandma to her doctor appointment. Usually her appointments are quick, but today it took forever. AJ was suppose to finish her grammar and math work while she was in the waiting room, but she didn’t. She watched the tv in the waiting room instead. She wasn’t too happy when she found out that she would have to work on her math and grammar during her free time, but hopefully she will do her work next time.
When we finally got back home we had a quick lunch and then she started on literature.  I created a literature study for the book she is reading, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. She started by looking up vocabulary and then she read the first 2 chapters. So far she is enjoying the book.
After literature she should have had free time while I went to the dentist, but she had to do her grammar and math. The dentist should have been a quick trip, just two simple fillings, but it took almost 2 hours.
On the way home from the dentist I stopped by my favorite store, Fresh and Easy. I love this store! The prices are great, and the food is fresh. The best part is that I am able to find so many things that are corn free.
I went back home expecting to find AJ, but she was mistakenly taken to gymnastics. During the summer she went to gymnastics everyday, but now that summer is over she goes back to her normal days. Having her gone for those 2 hours really messed up my schedule because we were going to work on science.
When she got home we worked on her Bible curriculum and then had dinner. After our busy day I decided to skip science and work on it another time.
Our day was long and we didn’t accomplish everything, but we will make it up later in the week. I think overall it was a good first day.
How did your day go?

A Day in Our Homeschool

D is for Decimals

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With so many different types of homeschool math available, finding the best option for your family can be difficult. Last year I looked at review after review of different programs. I viewed sample pages and considered my limited budget. Then I came across what I thought was the perfect math curriculum. Well it isn’t even a full curriculum, but a set of work books. The math program I picked was affordable, not common core aligned, and not grade level aligned. It was a mastery approach to math instead of spiral. So what was it? It was Key To Math.


*This is not a compensated review, I purchased the materials on my own and was not asked to write this review* The website says the books are not a complete curriculum, and I agree to an extent. Using these books AJ will not be learning exactly what her peers are, but by the end of 8th grade she will learn all of the same concepts just in a different order. We used the decimal books for more than half the year and are now working on fractions. I have added in a few worksheets here and there but really feel this program is quite complete.

I purchased Key to Fractions, Key to Decimals, and Key to Percent. The original plan was to start with fractions, but AJ was not solid on her multiplication tables at the time so I switched it up and we started with decimals.


The first book is Decimal Concepts. In this book AJ reviewed a lot of material that she had previously learned and also learned a few new concepts. The first book is very basic and includes simple topics such as; decimal place value, adding decimals, using 0 as a place holder, decimals as money, and expanded notation.

The second book is Adding, Subtracting, and Multiplying Decimals. This book was very informative and had AJ adding and subtracting many different combinations of decimal numbers. She learned about decimal placement and reviewed many rules of addition and subtraction in the first few pages of the book. The majority of the book focused on multiplication including some word problems. This helped us greatly. Not only did AJ end up with a solid grasp on the how and why of multiplying decimals, but she also finally ended up memorizing her multiplication tables.

The third book in the series is Dividing Decimals. When we started this book I was a little worried. Division was not AJ’s strongest subject. She could do it, but often in the past had made silly little errors that would end up with her needing to redo the problems. I was expecting to spend a while on the dreaded subject of division, so we started out slowly. The first few pages of the book were review and she seemed to do fine. Then the actual division started. The directions were so step by step, that she understood it. She learned so many different ways to divide decimals. We took a long time in the third book, but I think that working through it slowly and steady she really understood how to do the work. The best part is that a lot of the pages had grid paper for her to do the division in so she didn’t make as many mistakes. The book was very hard for her, but I would recommend it in a heart beat.

The final book in the series is Using Decimals. This book was by far our favorite. It brought together all of the skills she had learned in the first three books and showed her why she needed to learn the material. In this book the skills she worked on varied. She used the addition and subtraction skills to balance a checkbook and write out checks. She found out the best bargain at the grocery store by finding the unit price of different items. She learned about averages and even learned about the Dewey Decimal System. Near the end of the book she even learned all about Scientific Notation and when to use it. This final book really brings it all together and makes sure the student really understands decimals.

We loved the Key To Decimals books. AJ now has a solid grasp on all things decimals. She has grown stronger in both multiplication and division and I feel that the Key To books are the reason. Here are some of my favorite things about the series.

  • The books are very affordable. Depending on where you purchase them, the 4 books and answer key can cost as low as $18.
  • The books have step by step directions and examples.
  • The answer key has all of the problems worked out. This is great because when AJ made a mistake in her division I could easily see where she made the mistake without doing the problem myself.
  • It is a mastery approach to math.
  • There are enough practice problems to really master the topic.
The only thing I didn’t care for in the series was the way the lessons were broken up. Some lessons would be only one page long, while others were five. So we just worked a few pages a day doing more when she understood the concept and less when she was struggling.
Not every math program is for everyone, but for us we found the perfect fit.

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I am linking up with Ben and Me.

Valentine’s Day Math Printable

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I have seen a lot of great worksheets and activities geared for the younger elementary set, but not too many for the older group. I created two math activities for AJ and wanted to share them with you. They are geared for upper elementary students. Click on the picture to download your copy!

The first is a coordinate grid picture. I have a list of points that will form a simple picture once the directions on the page are followed.

The second activity is Candy Heart Math. Using a box of conversation hearts, a ruler, colored pencils, and a paper bag, a few different math topics are practiced. The topics include graphing, probability, measuring, perimeter, area, volume, mean, medium, mode, range, decimals, fractions, and percent. There is no answer key since everyone will have different results.

I hope your kids have a lot of fun working on math with these worksheets.

Math Mammoth Review

When I started looking for our math curriculum this year I had a very hard time choosing one. In the end I had narrowed it down to two choices, the one that I ended up purchasing, and Math Mammoth. So when I was given the opportunity to review Math Mammoth I was very excited.

 There are a lot of different products available from Math Mammoth:

 “ Math Mammoth Light Blue Series This is a complete curriculum for elementary grades. It includes two student worktexts (A and B), which contain all the instruction and exercises all in the same book, answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, and a worksheet maker.
 Math Mammoth Blue Series Blue Series books are worktexts that each concentrate on a few interconnected topics, such as addition, clock, measuring, money, division, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratios & proportions, geometry, and more. They are not tied to grade levels, and are great for review, reinforcement, filling in gaps, or initial teaching. 
 Math Mammoth Golden Series Best suited for teachers and tutors or parents who can explain math, Golden Series books are worksheet collections for grades 3-8. They work best as review or supplemental material. 
 Math Mammoth Green Series Best suited for teachers and tutors or parents who can explain math, Green Series books are worksheet collections by topics. They work best as review or supplemental material. 
 Make It Real Learning These activity workbooks concentrate on answering the question, “Where is math used in real life?” The exercises or activities in these books are taken from real life, and use real data. The series includes various workbooks for grades 3-12. “
We decided to review the light blue series which covers a full year of math. We were given a copy of Math Mammoth 5a, 5b, answer keys, tests, reviews, and a worksheet maker. The Math Mammoth products are very affordable starting as low as $34 for a downloaded version. It is a mastery based program that is common core aligned.
Honestly, despite all of the great reviews I have read, this math curriculum was just not a good fit for our family. I personally do not like when the same math is taught in many different ways. I know that is great for some kids but not for AJ. This course teaches multiplication in parts using partial products and then goes on the teach the algorithm. For division it teaches the algorithm and then teaches division as repeated subtraction. While I agree that understanding the “why” behind math is important, having the same math done in so many different ways was not only frustrating but confusing to my child. It got to the point where she started to dislike math and that is one of her favorite subjects.

Remember although this program didn’t work for us, it may be exactly what you are looking for.
There were a lot of things that we liked about the program.
  1. It is affordable.
  2. It is very visual and colorful which would be great for a visual learner.
  3. The instructions and examples are right in the book – great for independent learning.
  4. Plenty of practice problems.
  5. The worksheet maker makes it easy to give extra practice if it is needed in a particular area.
  6. There are numerous online resources included in the book, including links to games and videos to help with math facts and different concepts.
  7. There are a lot of great hints and tips sprinkled throughout the text.
  8. Graph paper style boxes are used for division and multiplication making it easy to keep work neat and organized.
I do plan to utilize some of the tips and tricks that are sprinkled throughout the book. Find out what other members of the Mosaic Review team had to say here.


FamilyMint – Review

As part of the Mosaic Review team I was given the opportunity to review the Money Management Certification Program created by FamilyMint. It is an amazing money management program designed for kids. It comes in two parts, a workbook that is designed for kids age 10 and up and an online application designed for kids ages 6 to 14 with some help from parents.

The workbook is divided into four chapters that include, Tracking Your Money, Goal Setting, Budgeting, and Interest. Our favorite chapter of the workbook was definitely Tracking Your Money. Most kids seem to think money grows on trees and my little one was no exception. She has always been great at saving her money, in fact she saved over $350 to take with her to Disney World last year, but she thinks I can just slide my card even when I say we don’t have money for something she wants. That first chapter really helped her to realize that you have to have money to spend it. I love how the workbook is written in easy to understand language and my little one enjoyed all of the fun money facts sprinkled throughout the book. The workbook if full of real world examples that help money to make sense. My little one is in fourth grade and did require a little bit of help with some of the math but other than that, she was able to learn a lot on her own.

This is a page where she learned about checks and deposit slips.

The online application is basically a simulation of online banking. You can put in the amount of money that is started with, and then you can make deposits and withdrawals as you add to or spend your money. In doing that the child should always know how much money they have. It has a place to set saving goals, and it will do all of the calculations for you to let you know how much money you need to save each week to get to your goal. We found the online application to be very easy to use. We also played around with it and learned how saving even a dollar more a week could get you to your goal faster. After using the application as it was designed to be used, we decided to use the online portion a little differently. We are using it as a family vacation fund tracker. We put in each of the things we want to do while on our next vacation ( to Disney of course) in as a goal. Then as we get extra money set aside we can see how much closer we are to our goal. It has been nice to see that those few dollars here and there really can add up.

Overall I really liked this product. I feel it is easy to do and the kids will be learning in an enjoyable manner. I agree with the age recommendation for the workbook, but honestly feel anyone could benefit from the online portion even some adults. The only down side I saw was that the computer portion was online. Even though my little one could use it by herself, I don’t allow her on the Internet by herself. I wish that there was an offline CD version available instead. That being said we still enjoyed it very much and will continue to use it. If you are looking for an easy way to teach money management to your kids or you need a refresher yourself I recommend you try this.

You can choose one of three options when purchasing the program. My recommendation would be to get the bundle offer. I think if you have kids that are ten or older they would really benefit from the workbook. Don’t miss the opportunity to get the premium application for life and the workbook for only $5 more than the price of an annual subscription.

Here are your options….

1. Special Introductory Bundle Offer!
You get the Money Management Certification Program workbook plus a LIFETIME subscription to the FamilyMint Premium application for only $29.99 2. PREMIUM online application subscription only – Annual $24.99 or Monthly $4.95

3. FREE online application only – which includes a 14-day trial of FamilyMint Premium

Even if you don’t get the premium version right now I would try the free version you really have nothing to loose.

Product at a Glance


What is it?

A money management program for kids.

Who is it for?

The workbook is for kids 10 and up the online application is for kids 6-14.

Where can I get it?

Order it at

How much will it cost?

The best value is $29.99 but other options are available.

Why this product?

It is fun and easy for kids to use and it will help them to learn about money management at a young age.