Making Math Fun – Sunya Publishing

Despite the many years I have spent homeschooling, researching and discovering new resources has never become boring. When Sunya Publishing had a new math resource available for review, how could I say no? Sunya – The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Adding & Subtracting, a simple card game, would hopefully provide a fun way to review basic math facts with my eight year old daughter.

The Adding & Subtracting Cards (60 cards) are the size of a standard deck of playing cards and very durable. They will no doubt stand up to many rounds of play and being handled by little hands. The face of the cards simply show the number (0 – 9) along with corresponding dots. Two Wild Cards are provided as well as a plus, minus, and equal sign cards. Along with the Adding & Subtracting Cards, Riddle Cards (30 cards), some including math and science facts, are included. Who doesn’t enjoy a good riddle now and then?

Sunya Publishing included a very detailed, illustrated set of directions for play for the adding and subtracting cards. The concept of the use of the cards seemed straight-forward to me but after reading the directions, I was thoroughly confused. In an effort for clarity, I think the directions err on the side of being too detailed. Also the directions were in black and white. With illustrations included, I think color printing of the directions would be more helpful.

After the initial confusion, I glanced over the directions instead of reading them and the game was truly a very basic card game. Since we play a lot of games in our family, Sarah and I jumped right in to game play. The directions do encourage non-competitive play where you can help other players form number sentences. We are a thoroughly game competitive family so I will confess that Sarah did not expect or ask for help. You could definitely make this a “team game” and work together. Either way math facts are reviewed and flash cards are not needed to make it happen.

Here is how we played: After shuffling the cards, we formed a starting number sentence. From the remaining deck, I dealt out cards to Sarah and myself. Then a Draw Pile was set to the side. Taking turns, we each used part of the number sentence to form a new one. If we were able, we would use our cards to create a completely new number sentence. When on your turn you are unable to make a play, you take a card from the Draw Pile. The goal is to use all of your cards in hand. The first person to do this is the winner. Now don’t automatically assume that the older, more experienced player will win. Ahem. Sarah savored each of her victories. (*There were some special rules regarding the use of “0” and “1”. We chose to ignore those rules and play them like any of the other numbered cards.)

The Adding and Subtracting Cards can be used in other ways as well. My younger ones have used them to practice putting the numerals 0 -9 in the proper order, find the missing number, and creating number sentences on their own. Martha, 4, loves sorting the cards by number. She plays it over and over.

We enjoy puzzles, logic games, and riddles so we had a bit of fun with the Riddle Cards. Over lunch I would ask a question or two. I did have to warn my older ones to give the younger ones time to think before yelling the answer. While the Riddle Cards were fun, now that we have answered the Riddles, I’m not sure of the purpose of the cards. Now I have 30 well made Riddle Cards to store away?

Final Thoughts

The Adding and Subtracting Cards from Sunya Publishing are well-made, durable. They are going to hold up to many children using them as basic flash cards and for playing math games. As a mom with a large family, I appreciate a well-made product that is going to take a bit of wear and tear.

Other Crew Members reviewed the Adding & Subtracting Cards as well as Multiplying and Dividing Cards. Take a moment to see what others are saying.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
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Organizationally Challenged and My Reads

In my mind, there is this beautiful image of an experienced mother who manages with grace and patience her humble abode and those precious offspring she has been blessed with. Then in the quiet of the evening, taking a moment of deep reflection, I think, “What in the world happened?!?!”

Reality of the Organizationally Challenged. This is what happened, my friends. There is no denying it. No sugar coating it. No turning a blind eye to the truth that is glaring in my face. I am in a continual process of mastering the art of organization and time management. After twenty years of marriage and seventeen years of motherhood, one would think that I would have the flow of our days down to a science. Nope. I have read the books. Planned the schedules. Implemented the routines. Just when I think we have found our groove, something or someone throws a kink in my plans. It is most likely me sabotaging my own efforts believing I have found a better way to manage my time, family, and home. Will I ever learn? Maybe. Maybe not.

Being organizationally challenged has trickled down to this lovely blog. I am so behind on sharing great reads! Oh, how I love to share a good book with others. But time management? Yep. At the end of the day, as I lie in bed, I think, “Oh, I forgot to blog about this book or that book!” Shameful!

Now I am at the point that I feel so far behind, I’m not sure how to move forward. (Trust me, this happens in all areas of life for me, lol.) Here is my plan. I’m going to update my menu area to show books I have read thus far this year. Hopefully I’ll start getting a few reviews up. They are likely to be short and sweet but still a helpful reference. That is my desire at least. It can be difficult to find books for your children and yourself. It makes me smile to think I am sharing some literary love here in my little space.

And now I’m going to go curl up with a good book and pretend my home is running like a well-oiled machine. I’ll face reality tomorrow.

Poetry Memorization

From Fix It Grammar to Writing Intensives, we have enjoyed using resources from the Institute for Excellence in Writing in our home. For the past several weeks,we have been reviewing Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization (including a printed copy of the Student Book) from IEW. It has become a regular (and fun) time during our mornings together. We all appreciate when learning can be beneficial and enjoyable across the ages.

Encouraging memorization with my children has always been important to me. Until a few years ago, it was a regular part of our learning. It seems that I had lost consistency with my younger children when it comes to working on memorization. There are so many benefits to memory work that I wanted to re-introduce this habit. Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization came at the perfect time to help me reset our focus and have my younger ones get excited about memory work!

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is brilliant in its simplicity. As a mom of nine, I heartily embrace the beauty of simplicity! Memory work does not have to be boring, stressful, or overwhelming.

IEW’s Poetry Memorization Components:

Teacher’s Manual – This contains 96 poems and speeches divided into Five Levels. Level One will have you memorizing a short poem about the untimely demise of a mighty worm and in Level Five St. Crispin’s Day Speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V will be in the line up.

If you are new to utilizing memorization with your children, an introduction explains the importance of memorization and how poetry is an excellent choice for memory work. No matter the age of the student, it is recommended that everyone begin at Level One. It might seem simplistic but older students will progress quickly.  Who doesn’t enjoy hearing their seventeen year old recite Ooey Gooey?

Biographies, history tidbits, literary devices, poetic elements and more are included in an appendix to help expand the learning experience and understanding. Memory charts are included to help you track reviewing mastered selections while working on newer ones.  Once you advanced a level or two, you don’t want to forget those earlier works!

A set of CDs accompany the Teacher’s Manual and is a helpful addition to this resource. Each of the poems and speeches are read on the CDs. This allows the students to hear proper pronunciation and elocution. During our lunch has been a great time to play the poems we have mastered and are working on. Quiet time or traveling in the car are other great opportunities for quick reviews via the CDs. My younger ones recognized “that Pudewa guy” and he has been most helpful in pronunciation of author names such as Hilaire Belloc. The CD set also includes the Nurturing Competent Communicators conference talk by Andrew Pudewa on DVD. Such an encouraging talk on how to help your children to become effective communicators through the written word. I have enjoyed listening to this a few times; always focusing on something a bit different with each listen.

IEW also includes a few mp3s that you are able to download:

  • Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
  • Ten Thousand Time and Then Begins Understanding
  • On Listening
  • On Speaking
  • On Reading
  • On Writing

These are great to download and listen to in the evenings or when doing a bit of school planning. I find that they help me refresh and refocus my mind on the goals I have in educating my children.  It has been years since I attended a homeschool conference so mp3s such as these allow me to create my own “mini-conference at home”. A lovely bonus!

As the mom on a tight budget, I have always appreciated IEW’s generosity in their including the Student Book as a free e-book download. The Student Book has each poem on a page and some include illustrations. My younger ones love to color these simple pictures and create their own personal poetry book. For my older ones, it allows for easy review and practice to have their own copies. And just in case a page gets torn or lost, replacing is simple and quick. **Please note: The Poetry Memorization set includes a free e-book download of the student book.  If you prefer, a printed spiral-bound hard copy can be purchased separately.

How We Used Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization

As soon as Poetry Memorization arrived, my younger children were constantly flipping through the teacher’s manual. My son, Sam (6), had me read every single poem in Level One. It took about five minutes and Ooey Gooey was memorized. Clearly, we were off to a great start.

My focus during the past several weeks has mainly been with my children 4 – 12. I do have three older children (17, 16, 14) who didn’t officially participate in our poetry memory time. There was a bit of a scheduling challenge so for the sake of consistency for the review period, I let my older ones slide. (They will be joining us soon!)

In the morning we would gather together to work on the poetry. We reviewed poems that had been mastered and then tackled the next poem in line. My twelve and ten year old daughters moved at a faster pace than my younger ones but that was not a problem. Listening to the older ones recite newer poems is just extra exposure for the younger ones.

To help with retention in the beginning,  I printed pages for them so the younger ones could color the simple illustrations. But it was evident soon enough that they just enjoyed reciting the poems. I don’t think I could have skipped our memory work if I wanted to!  The poems selected for Level One are fun and engaging. My children are a bit competitive so there might be a race to see who completes Level One first. I am not against a little friendly competition.

One of the benefits of this program for me was the ability to work with my children on proper pronunciation. I have one child who often drops or slurs the ending of words. Another child likes to talk as fast as possible. When reciting the poems, it is the perfect time to really pay attention to these small details which can become major issues. Since the atmosphere and mood is lighthearted and fun, it isn’t discouraging at all for them.

I love how easy Poetry Memorization was to implement. It is simple and straightforward. And we are once again doing memory work that is so very important!  I love seeing how much my children are enjoying mastering these poems. My biggest surprise was by far my son, Sam, who is so eager to tackle memory work. Best of all? We are having a blast. There are not many mornings where our time with Poetry Memorization doesn’t include laughter.

If you are new to memorization or need a bit of help staying focused, Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is a great resource.Don’t take my word for it! Check out what other Crew Members are saying!


Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review


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