Touchmath

Last year, we used timberdoodle preschool curriculum. I chose it because it looked engaging and was mostly hands on and interactive without a lot of seat work. The farmland math component was given very high ratings by parents who had used it and said their kids loved it and thrived. The companion to farmland math was a mathematical reasoning work book that the parent and child work through together. I knew that wasn’t going to be a hit but I got it anyway because I wanted to make sure we touched on all the major concepts, even if it meant using the book as our guide. 

One month in, I knew farmland math was not going to work for us. Snowflake does not think like other kids; I’m not able to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes his thinking unique but having taught preschool and kindergarten in classroom settings, I can tell you he thinks and learns differently. He loves to pretend and act things out, so I thought the manipulative based story problems would be a great fit. However, I neglected to realize 2 things. First, he has to be in charge of pretend play. He was not willing to play along if I was in charge. We tried several different approaches but nothing worked and it was a constant power struggle. Second, the story problem format was too complex for him. I now know this is because he has a language delay (he struggles to understand concepts he should be able to because his understanding of the language is delayed). He is now in speech therapy which also works on the language issues and we are already noticing some improvements in this area. I scrapped farmland math around Christmas time and worked with him on numbers, counting, position words and other math concepts in other ways. We slowly worked our way through the work book, but again the language barrier held him back, so we improvised. 

When I started looking at curriculum for pre-k, I knew I needed something concrete, flexible, and active. I looked at several curriculums before deciding on touchmath. The downfall of touchmath is its expensive. However, I’m creative and not afraid to DIY, so doing that saved us a couple hundred dollars. I made the touch numerals, number cards, and number poster. I purchased the student/teacher books ($199.00 for preprinted; $159.00 for the digital copies which you have to then print) and touch shapes ($16.99). We skipped the computer portion of the program because I didn’t feel it necessary at the pre-k/kindergarten level. 


While technically in pre-k, and though behind in his understanding of some concepts; overall, Snowflake is ready for the kindergarten level in math. I will go slow and review areas that are a struggle for him but I didn’t feel the need, nor did I feel it was appropriate, to hold him back in the areas in which he is excelling. Each day will consist of hands-on activities using the touch point numerals, touch shapes, or number cards and 2-4 short and easy worksheets to demonstrate understanding of the concepts. Average time spent per day will be 20-30 minutes (mostly depending on his attention and focus). 
The unique thing about touchmath is that there are dots on each number that correspond to the value of that number. It encourages counting and is a simple way to introduce addition and subtraction concepts. We’ve already played with the numerals and he really seems to enjoy them. I’m hoping this will be a better fit for him and his unique learning style. 

Butterflies

In April and May, we had some visitors in our homeschool room. We grew caterpillars and watched them turn into painted lady butterflies. It was such a fun experience for all of us. Even my husband and I asked “how” at several points during the process. How do they know to hang upside down? How do they form the chrysalis? How do they grow wings? How…. Some questions only God can answer. 

Snowflake was very invested through the whole process. We thought he would be upset when it was time to let them go but he said he was happy for them. 

Day 1: April 22

Day 3: April 24

Day 6: April 27

Day 8: April 29

Day 9: April 30

Day 10: May 1

Day 12: May 3

Day 19: May 10

Day 21: May 12

Day 24: May 15

Day 25: May 16


It was a great experience and we are looking forward to growing other insects. Also available are praying mantis, lady bugs, and ant farms. For those interested, we got our kit here

Spring Time Update 

We are chipping away at the materials for preschool. Some days I don’t think he’s learning anything (today was one of those days), then all of a sudden he amazes me with what he knows (this happened yesterday). We will be continuing our 2+ morning a week school schedule through the summer. He lost a lot during our 2 week vacation and it took him almost a month to catch back up. He doesn’t know any different and it adds structure to our week, while still being flexible, so we will continue on. 

I’ve decided on the curriculum for the fall and I’m excited to dig in and start planning. I’m taking on a bit more of that planning role this coming year vs the mostly pre-planned curriculum we used this year. Soon I’ll give a tour of our new stuff but for now, here’s a look at some of the things we are currently doing. 

As I said above, yesterday he surprised me. After doing a letter identification activity, I decided to try a phonics activity. I put 5 letters in front of him and asked him to point to the one that made the “p-p-p sound as in pig”. He got it correct! I took the p out and replaced it with another letter. We did this for 10 letters (p, c, a, b, j, l, m, t, s, & x). He got 9/10 right!! (The only one he got wrong was x, which is a hard one. He pointed to s…so in a way he got that one right, too.) I’m now even more confident the reading curriculum I chose for next year is going to be the right fit. 

Here are some other things we are working on: 

Easter Egg upper/lower case letter match.

Day & Night Thinking puzzle (our first outside school time in 2017)

Wedgits Thinking puzzle (I following ‘structions!)

Learn and draw animals using finger tip crayons

Lowercase Alphabet search with do a dot markers

Do a dot letters

Kumon cutting skills (for as hard as it is for him to write, his cutting skills are not lacking!)


We also have a new addition to our homeschool room for the next 3ish weeks. Stay tuned for our butterfly adventures! 

Calendar Time

We start every school day with calendar time. It’s similar to circle time in preschools but obviously a bit different being there’s only one student. 😉 The following is our routine: 

  • State the date and write the date 
  • Months of the year song: (to the tune of 10 little Indians) January February March and April, May June July August September, October November and December, these are the months of the year. 
  • Days of the week song: (to the tune of Adams Family) There’s Sunday and there’s monday, There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday, there’s Thursday and there’s Friday, and then there’s Saturday; Days of the week (xx), days of the week (xx), days of the week days of the week days of the week (xx)
  • Yesterday/tomorrow song: (to the tune of are you sleeping) Today is Monday, today is Monday; all day long, all day long; yesterday was sunday, tomorrow will be Tuesday; oh what fun, oh what fun!
  • Count the days in this month so far
  • Weather songs: (to the tune of Msrry had a little lamb) What’s the weather like today, like today, like today; what’s the weather like today; today it’s sunny. Followed by this song: (to the tine of bingo) this morning when I looked outside I saw the weather was sunny; S-u-n-n-y (x3); I saw the weather was sunny. 
  • Find the letter of the week
  • Find the number of the week
  • Address song: (to the tune of a tisket a tasket): my name is —-, this is my address; 123 my street lane, my town and my state. 
  • Phone number song: (to the tune of twinkle twinkle) I can call my mommy’s phone, I know what her number is–234-567-8901; I can call my mommy’s phone, I know what her number is. 
  • Bible verse of the week
  • Make learning choices from choice chart 

Science and Social Studies

These subject areas are probably Snowflake’s favorite. I love how fun timberdoodle makes learning. Each day we do school (2-3 days a week; 45-90 minutes/day) Snowflake gets to choose an activity from each subject area. These are lumped together and he unfailingly tries to pick more than one activity. I have to say, I don’t blame him! 

Primary Science Kit and H2O Lala Tablets: these are by far the favorite. There are some simple science experiments included, more on Pinterest, but mostly he just plays and mixes colors. 

My Very First Castles Book (Timberdoodle), How Children Lived, and Castle Blocks: How Children Lived and Castle Blocks were things I had from when I had my daycare. They make a great addition to the timberdoodle castles book. 

Map Work (Timberdoodle), My First AtlasUS and World Maps: Snowflake loves maps. Every week we try to find new states or countries and learn a little bit about them. 

Board Games: we do these as part of our curriculum because it’s a lot of work for Snowglake to learn how to play and take turns. I lumped these in with the social studies because they fit with sharing and learning how to win/lose. Eventually we’ll pull these out of our school time and play as a family but he’s not quite there yet. 😉

Big Book of Things to Spot (Timberdoodle): I wasn’t sure where to put this either. It’s basically a big book of where’s Waldo but every page is different. It covers different seasons, climates, cultures, etc… We do 3-4 scenes a week. 

Critical Thinking 

One of the unique parts of the timberdoodle curriculum is the emphasis on critical thinking skills. Almost all of these activities are hands-on, which we love. Some of them were too hard in the beginning of the year but now he’s amazing me with his ability to master them. 

Farmland Math: (timberdoodle) in addition to teaching basic math skills, this activity is also helping little ones learn critical thinking skills. 

Day and Night: this fun “3D puzzle” includes 24 cards with pictures and silhouettes to copy. The cards increase in difficulty and are a fun way to work on critical thinking. 

Bunny Peek-a-Boo: this is our FAVORITE activity. From the timberdoodle website: “Bunny Peek-a-Boo is a delightful brain game for your two- and three-year-olds. As they arrange the large, sturdy wooden blocks and lovable bunny to match the cards, they will develop the critically necessary skill of 3-D spatial perception, important for reading and mathematical reasoning.” This is one he could not do at the beginning of the year, but he’s rockin’ it now! 

Wedgits: Another favorite. Teaches spatial perception, vertical vs horizontal positioning, order, and patterning. Each day we do this, he does 1 or 2 designs on the cards and then makes up one of his own. Such a fun way to learn and improve critical thinking skills. 

Building Thinking Skills: a colorful and fun book that helps progressively develop thinking skills. Not a favorite but necessary. 

Floor Puzzles: I include these in critical thinking because they require the same skills as the other activities in this category–planning, visual perception, etc… We have several floor puzzles. 

Language Arts

This year we used timberdoodle as the foundation for preschool. It’s been an amazing program and we’ve had fun. Next year I plan to use bits and pieces from timberdoodle; however, I’m completely changing up our language arts curriculum. That said, we’ve had fun and Snowflake has learned a ton with the timberdoodle curriculum. (I just found another curriculum that fits his leaning style a little better.) At the beginning of the year, Snoefkake knew about 6 letters, no sounds, and had little interest in reading books. Now, he knows 22/26 uppercase letters, about 10/26 lowercase letters, several sounds and loves to read and be read to. Following are the activities we do to help him learn and have fun in the process: 

Foam Alphabet Dice: we do several activities with these. Pinterest has a ton of ideas. 

Alphabet Cookies: there are several things we could do with these. So far we’ve mostly worked on identification and alphabetical order. 

Books, books and more books: I’m not ashamed to admit we have a children’s book library of over 400 books. We read a lot! 

Bananagrams: (timberdoodle) similar to the alphabet dice. We use these for uppercase identification and building familiar words. 

Montessori Letter Work and Alphabet Puzzle: (timberdoodle) again these help with letter identification. We are currently working on the lowercase letters. 

See and Spell: works on letter identification, phonics, and word building. 

Letter and Picture Pairs: we use this to work on beginning sounds. 

Alphabet Cookie Cutters: similar to math, we use these for letter identification and building familiar words. 

Do-a-Dot Alphabet: he loves these. From Pinterest….


Alphabet Stamps: letter identification. 

As you can see, most of our language arts material focuses on the same skills. However, having variety keeps it interesting and promotes retention of the information. We definitely have our favorites but the variety is much appreciated. 😊