Monday, July 13, 2015

DIY Math Manipulatives

My kids easily grasp and learn a concept by using manipulatives. I could just grab a box of pencils and that would instantly becomes a way to teach Math concepts.

I like Singapore Math because it teaches concepts but I also like Kumon for mastery and rote teaching. Mixing both ideas worked well for my kids.

Sharing some of my math manipulatives to you which you can easily do as well.

We learned addition with this. This has greatly helped my 5 year old math-challenged kid to understand the basic concepts of addition.

We call this our Addition Machine. Pompom balls are placed on each cup and it will sum up as it falls in the basket.

I also introduced number bonds thru our number links. I have a 5, 10 and 20 links for my kids level.

The pipe cleaners and beads are placed on each link. They will come up with different addends to come up with that number.

This gave my Kindergarteners a quick idea of the concept. Now, they  are much faster and I can soon introduce worksheets once they can fully grasp the idea.

Manipulatives can be just everyday household materials. But, if you want to buy your own, you can buy them at Hobbes & Landes, Toys R Us, Toy Kingdom, National Bookstore or Office Warehouse.

Pipe cleaners, pompom balls can be bought at Office Warehouse, Little Town Bookstore, or at Daiso.

Happy Math day!

Expect excellence with your children

I posted this on a Homeschooler's group and was surprised on the number of likes it got. My purpose, was just to share an incident and yet I felt that the message was relevant and was particularly striking for most parents, homeschoolers or not. I do not see it as my own, but I feel that it is what the Lord is trying to convey to families that we should value excellence with our children.

Sharing this on my blog and I hope that this becomes a goal for our children. To take excellence as a way of life.


I was a terror teacher today. I had my 10 year old narrate a chapter of his reading, Doctor Dolittle, by making a drawing of a scene. He made a drawing straight to a notebook and started drawing to no more than a minute and said "I'm done!!". Quite alarmed by the manner that he has finished it, I knew there was a lesson that I had to teach right that very instant - Excellence.

I told him excellence is not perfection. Excellence is putting your heart into something and making sure that it is the best that you could do on the task given to you. I asked him, "Is this your most excellent work?" He said, "no".

He was very upset when I told him that his work is not acceptable and I cannot ask him to use it for his narration. I had to literally tell him to drop all his other tasks for the day and make an EXCELLENT (not perfect) narration of the topic. Quite emotional but still focused on his work, he proudly showed me the other picture after an hour. Nothing too fancy really, but I was impressed as to how he added elements such as aluminum foil, construction paper and how excited he was when he showed me what he did. He was very proud of his own work as well.

I guess as homeschoolers, we can sometimes feel that we just have to go thru the day and tick off the things we need to finish for that day disregarding this precious value. But, if we value excellence and not mediocrity, we can see this reflected in our child as they grow. They will reflect the heart of our Father in heaven, for He is excellent in all His creation. So, yes - being a loving "terror" teacher could sometimes be necessary. #sorrylongpost #justsharing

By the way, this conversation with my 10 year old also made an impression with his 5 year old younger sisters who heard about it.  My preschoolers were doing a copywork material which they despise. But, after they heard the lesson I spoke about with their big brother, their copywork were surprisingly excellent too!

Seeing this, I would rather prioritise and focus on good values over advancing leaps of academic advancement.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Teaching addition to 5 year olds and below

It was a sleepy start today. Callista was just way too sleepy to start school. We started by 930am and happily finished by exactly 12:30pm. For days like these, I know manipulatives will be the best way to liven up this day.

I started with Bible, my 4th grader joined in when we discussed Abraham and Lot story using Legos.

After that, I read a short story from Lion Storyteller book (about 3 pages). Then, we played a bean toss game. Where I got an old sock, filled it with beans and tied it with a string. I was thinking of sewing it but, I didn't have the time so I just tied it really tightly with a string. The twins loved the game where they would shoot the bean sock into the hamper basket for several times.

We had a short break, did our calendar review, a few pages of Handwriting Without Tears and some cut/pasting of LA activity sheet from our K Readers Schedule.

Now, here's my main topic about our math practice today. I was surprised that one of my little 5 year old daughter who used to dislike math (because, her concept of math is just counting by rote and nothing more when she was in school) now understands the concept of addition.

Today, I prepared a worksheet for them for  Math, but I don't think they will want to do too much worksheets for the day. So, I made them do this acitivity.

Addition Plates Game

Concept introduced: To understand Number Bonds. Ex. 5+5 is the same as 6+4 and 7+3. Here are our materials:

Small whiteboard
Whiteboard pens/eraser
3 or 4 cups/play doh lids
Beans/blocks/buttons etc

Place 3 cups/lids on top of the whiteboard. Write square for the addends and sum on the the whiteboard.

Now, add some beans on the 1st cup/lid then add some on the 2nd lid (introduce zeroes first, then move on to 1-5 or how much a child can understand the concept. 

Ask them to count the beans on the 1st and 2nd cup/lid and write that nunber on the box with a marker. Then combine the beans from the 1st and 2nd cup/lid to the 3rd lid and count.

Then, write the actual number of the sum on the line.

You can use a "counting plate" so it will be easier for them to count the pieces.

Do this exercise for 5+5, 6+4, 2+8, 0+10, 1+9 and so on, so they will grasp the concept. For younger tots, you can just make use of the cups/lids without asking them to write (or you can print numbers on a board and let them put the numbers on the boxes).

For more advance learners, you can do higher numbers.

This activity is a good fine motor activity and math/logic. Just make sure you remind them the steps one by one.

1) "Can you Count the beans on the 1st lid?"
2) "Write/choose the number on the box"
3) "Now, Count the beans on the 2nd lid"
4) "write/choose the number on the box"
5) "Pour the beans from the 1st lid/lid color to the 3rd lid then the 2nd lid/lid color to the 3rd lid/color and count them"
6) Ask "Now, how many beans make up ___+___?"
7)"Now, what is the sum? How many beans are there? Can you write it on the line?"

I hope this activity would help your child understand basic addition as it did mine. You can use jelly beans or M&Ms so they can eat them as a reward. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Our 1st Grade Curriculum

I will be listing my chosen curriculum for my 1st graders:

36-week curriculum Charlotte Mason - thru Ambleside Online
Audio literature books thru Lit2Go
Supplementing with the following:

Handwriting - Handwriting without Tears - 1st Grade Book
  • Supplementing with Kumon books
Science - Sonlight Science P4/5

Art - Meet the Masters

Click here for my bookmarks bar on Charlotte Mason Links from Ambleside Online's Curriculum Guide

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Teaching Adjectives!

A simple and fun activity from a book we follow that even 10 year old can join in.

"The Doctor's Cat"

My kids had a lot of fun thinking of some creative adjectives about the Doctor's Cat!  I gently introduced Nouns and Adjectives to my 5 year old and I am quite sure that my 10 year old will never forget that Adjectives describe a Noun.

How do you start?

  • Whiteboard and Markers (A notebook and a pen is okay) - to list the adjectives the kids could think of.

    For creatively sketching the Doctor's Cat:
  • Drawing paper
  • Coloring tools (crayons, colored pens, etc)
  1. Just do the sample activity from the book, Language and Thinking for Young Children - The Doctor's Cat.  Or, you can try out a sample of the activity on the photo above.
  2. Start listing the adjectives on the board (for my 10 year old, I asked a more challenging task for him by memorizing all the adjectives that we have listed, or just let them read each list as written).  You can begin with some funny words, my kids laughed at "cranky, silly, chubby, fatty, banana-eating" (my 5 year old invented that word).  Just keep the ball rolling and guide them by asking your reluctant child what she thinks of the hair, color of the fur, etc.  Encourage creative thinking and be silly as well.
  3. After coming up with a list, dictate it to them and ask them to imagine what this cat looks like.  Then, give them some paper and color to draw the cat.
  4. Share your drawings to each other and let them explain their drawing.
  5. Laugh to your hear't content.

Encourage them to draw the Cat based on the list of adjectives

Let them share their work!

There are so many ideas here and it is by itself a complete curriculum for pre-schoolers and you can even tailor fit it to older kids which I just did so on this activity.
Some of our school room rules: Clean as you go.
Always make a rule on your school room - Clean as you go.  Teach your child to clean up their own tables, by themselves.  For my kids, I assign one child to be a checker of the week/month  That child is responsible to check that all items are on the proper places, chairs neatly in place,  all trash in the trash bin, lights and fans are off.

A new name to our adventures!

My blog started when I was pregnant with my twins. All I wanted was to make a journal of my twin pregnancy.

But, the Lord inspired me to share his blessings to me by sharing stories of my life from a once full time working mom to a now, homeschooling and work at home mom.

My kids are now 10 and an incoming 4th grader and my twins girls are now 5.5.  I have been home educating my kids when my twins were born. We started with Tot School and now they are going to 1st grade.

I changed my blog's name to Learn In Grace because it has always been my prayer and every parent's prayer for their children, whether they are homeschooled or not, is that they will forever learn in Grace.

Allow me to share my heart (and occasionally some downloadable freebies)!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our Homeschool Room

I have started Tot School when my twins were 10 months old. Our unstructured school were mostly a mix of literature-based (chosen books from Sonlight and Before Five in A Row) and Montessori-based teaching.

All 3 of my kids love school. School for them is as exciting as going to the beach. My 5 year old begged to do her Math worksheets on a Sunday!  I am very pleased with their love in learning and I would do everything to instill that. 

I am quite sure, that, aside from the daily read alouds, an interest-based learning, and a good curriculum, the way their playroom and learning centers were organized played a big factor for their love of learning.  
Our homeschool room used to be in our living room.  Our coffee table was just the perfect size for 2-year old kids.

Tot school + Preschooler combined.

I remembered our 1st box day, 5 years ago.  My son eagerly waited as the Fedex van dropped off his box of school items from Sonlight.

The learning center is setup in such a way where they can easily get any book, scissors, own sticky tapes, glue, paper, coloring materials, even punchers or stamps and stickers all they want!

They have a separate play area where I would occasionally add toys based on their age level.

This was our Tot School Shelf when my twins were a year old.  All the materials were readily available for them.  Sharp items are kept above.  They are just free to grab and get items from this shelf.  They also know how to put them back after.
When they were 2.5, we moved to a new house where we had a family hall on the 2nd floor .  There, we moved our school area and we found it to be more conducive for learning. This is a picture of my twins, lining up sticks on the floor.

My 3 year old Callista fell in love with art and painting.  She knows where all the materials are kept, she gets her brushes and paint, and cleans up after she's done with them.  I need not tell them to clean up, as they all know that it is our rule to clean up after school.

These is the setup of our Nursery-Pre K level.  Age appropriate materials are readily available for my preschoolers.  Even my then, 1st grader loved this place.

When my twins turned 4 and they are now in Pre-K, we focused on reading areas.  It is good to move into a room that is far from the dining area or kitchen as it keeps the kids from being distracted from the noise in the kitchen when my helper is preparing for our lunch.
Now, my twins are getting into K and 1st grade.  My son gearing up for 4th grade.  We have outgrown this place and moving onto a new school room.

Now, we are onto the bigger and brighter space!

My 4th grader's own office.  My twins' learning center still on the center.

This used to be my twins' playroom which we converted to their school room.  They didn't mind much about this, they said that they love that they can do many things in their room than just toys.  *We just moved their playroom in a separate area of the house.

I do not want to box them here inside. I am sure, when school starts, we would be all over the house reading our read alouds, or seeing my 5 year old twins tumbling on the sofa in the living room during our discussions.

We started in a living room area of the house and just saved off, collected educational items and repainted some shelves and even upcycling chairs.  A schoolroom doesn't need to be too elaborate, whatever works for you is good - whether it is the dining table or a small table on a side of a room!

It is indeed a pleasure to see your child learn. That look in their eyes when they learn something from you is priceless - and this is what is most important.

Words such as "Mommy! I can read now!" Or when your 2-year old begs for a book for you to read to her is precious. Those moments are days you will forever keep in your heart.

Prayers and blessings to each families, homeschoolers or not.  As long as your love for your child is felt and you give them the best you could for their education - then, you are doing your best for them best and soon, you will reap the benefits when they are grown. ☺️

Monday, April 6, 2015

My Great Food's Kitchen Makeover Recipe: Ube Queso Muffin

A video posted by Mira Grace (@mirarempillo) on

My kids and I love to bake and cook.  I gave them their own play kitchen when they were just a year old so they can pretend to be like a chef.  They are 5 now, and they are budding little chefs who love to make a mess help out in the kitchen with me or their Auntie's.  So, the mess is REAL every time we cook with the kids and I am totally not OK with it.  You can always clean up a mess, but you can never bring back their childhood.

I do not have a full kitchen, I usually cook or bake at my parent's or in-law's kitchen as they have most of the tools I need.  But, for the love of cooking, me and my kitchen have made a lot of dishes even without measuring cups/spoons, hand mixers, an oven, etc.

My dream kitchen is something smart and kid-friendly and the equipment and tools to be durable and would last for a very long time.  The tools and equipment, the lighting of the kitchen area (Because I love to take food shots) are main things that matter to me when cooking with my kids.

That is why, I aimed to join My Great Food's Kitchen Makeover contest with my Moist Ube Queso Muffin. While doing the 15 second video, I had no one to ask help to but my 5 year old twins to do the mixing, the pouring, while I take shots. My sister would be the hand model and the one who used the hand mixer and the referee when the twins are bickering as to who pours who.

In between, my twins would spill flour, milk or sugar. They literally cracked the eggs with the shell mixed on the batter so we had to pause for 15 minutes to remove all the tiny shell and retake.  It was both funny stressful, killer-kind and memorable.  Even our pet, Taylor would watch by the oven and lick the pieces of falling batter or sugar on the floor.  The prep time of 20 minutes became 2 hours! Then, after all that, finally... the muffin is done! It was sooooo good! I can still remember it as I write this blog.  It was not too overpoweringly sweet, but the cheese balanced it out and gave a thrill on your taste buds like drinking wine after a steak. We we're laughing and indulging (while, I was almost out of my wits thinking on how to remove the stain on my little girl's new dress - because they did not bring the apron I made for them!).

I am no pro in the kitchen, I cook or bake for my family and friends.  So, that dream kitchen is not just TO cook or TO bake on but as a family affair to remember with my kids till they're grown. Perhaps, with less mess next time. :)

This recipe is also on this blog post entry I posted or this below, and I have added pictures for the directions to help you check the process.

Ube Queso Muffin

1 3/4 cups sifted Magnolia all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted Magnolia Gold Butter
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup Magnolia PureFresh Natural Cow's Milk
3/4 cup Ube Halaya
2 tsp. Ube Flavoring
Magnolia Queso de Bola and Magnolia Quick Melt Cheese for sprinkling on top of the muffin.


1. Mix all dry ingredients except sugar. Set aside.
2. On a separate mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and ube halaya.
3. Add eggs one at a time.
4. Mix the dry ingredients alternately with the milk until fully incorporated.
5. Add the ube flavoring and mix well.
6. Preheat oven to 350F for 15minutes.
7. Fill each muffin liners at least 2/3 full with the batter.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.
9. Remove from oven and add grated Magnolia Queso de Bola and Magnolia Quick Melt cheese on top.
10. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins #MerryMyGreatFoodin15seconds

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Red Velvet Pancakes in Cookies and Cream

A video posted by Mira Grace (@mirarempillo) on

Red Velvet with cookies and cream? So delicious.

I have always been thinking of great ways to make my picky little eaters at home eat food! We would bake and cook together and there are times that they would just end up eating the batter than actually eating the food we made!

You know, how messy it is when kids as young as 5 would "help" in the kitchen! It usually ends up as a disaster.  Well, for this recipe - I can guarantee that this is almost mess free, kid-friendly recipe.  So, you can make this with the little ones, just make sure you do the cooking and guide their hands from the pan when they pour the batter in.

But, the best part of this - they will love the final result!

Let's get cookin' and yes, this time call in your 4 or 5 or even 12 year olds to do this simple, pretty and delicious all-day, cheer-me-up recipe!

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cookies and Cream

For the red velvet pancakes:
1 pack Magnolia Pancake and Waffle Mix
2 eggs
4 Tbsp Oil
1 cup water
3 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
Few drops of Red Food Coloring
1/2 tsp Magnolia Gold Butter

For the Cookies and Cream:
6 pcs crushed Oreos
1/2 pack of 250ml Magnolia All-Purpose Cream
1 tbsp White Sugar

For the toppings:
2 pcs coarsely crushed Oreos
Maple or chocolate syrup

Crush Oreos in a blender. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix Magnolia All Purpose Cream with the crushed Oreos and the sugar. Place in a pastry bag or a zip lock bag and chill for 30 minutes.

Prepare and mix Magnolia Pancake and Waffle Mix as directed. Add unsweetened cocoa. Add a few drops of red coloring and mix well.

Heat a non-stick pan on med-low. heat. Lightly grease a non stick pan with Magnolia Gold Butter. Cook pancakes.

Prepare pancakes, top with the chilled cookies and cream, sprinkle with Oreos and drizzle some sauce! Enjoy!

Makes. 12-15 regular sized pancakes.