Homeschooling Corner: Introducing Mr. Poop & Custom Dice

I happened to have a poop-shaped pinata sitting around (Why? Look, sometimes these things just happen) of the pull-the-flap-on-the-bottom variety rather than the smash-it-with-a-bat kind, so I decided to add a little fun to our day by filling Mr. Poop with school-related ideas written on strips of paper. Give Mr. Poop a shake and a scrap of paper flutters out–today’s idea was to design your own game, which the kids are working on now.

I’ve decided to incorporate the Cub Scout handbooks–which have lots of useful information about subjects like first aid, water safety, civics, history, etc.–into our rotation. (The Cub Scouts have a different handbook for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders.) Today we learned about knots–mostly square knots–complemented with The Camper’s Knot Tying Game. Knots are practical for anyone, but also good practice for kids with fine motor difficulties.

Over in Professor Astro Cat, we’re collecting space dust, keeping a moon journal (the eclipse was well-timed for this) and made impact craters in the sandbox. The book recommends spreading out newspaper indoors and using flour or cocoa powder, but sand, outside, is much easier to clean up. (Walmart sells beautiful colored sand for like $4 a bag. I sprinkled some green on top of the regular brown sandbox sand to simulate Earth’s surface.)

Custom Dice

There are lots of interesting dice–math dice, fraction dice, letter dice, place value dice, etc. Customized dice are easy to make: just take a cube (you probably have a building block or letter cube or some Legos lying around,) cover it with paper, and write whatever you want on the faces. (Note it is probably best to write on the paper before applying tape, as many pens won’t write properly on tape.) I have a custom die with +,-, <, and division signs on it that I use along with custom “numbers larger than six” dice for math games. (“Looks like you rolled 5,000,000,000 divided by 7,000!”) (For smaller kids, you may want to stick to + and -.)

I’m still trying to work out good ways to teach history. I’ve got some rudimentary ideas, but I’ll save them for later.

8 thoughts on “Homeschooling Corner: Introducing Mr. Poop & Custom Dice

  1. I enjoy your homeschooling posts. They bring back the memories for me! Here’s how I did history: I would pick a time period, then go to the library and find as many books at different levels on that time period. This would include picture books, biographies, historical fiction,etc. Then I would either read the books to the kids or have them read ones that were at their own level. I usually spent months on a particular time period. I prefer depth to breadth.

    This approach means that the kids will get multiple resources for the same topic. The repition helps them learn, and they also get different perspectives.

    A couple of interesting books for history are George Washington’s World and Augustus Ceaser’s World. These books take the time period of their subject’s life and tell you what was happening in other parts of the world at the same time, for instance, in China and Russia. This helps pull things together, as history is often taught in isolation. A very worthwhile approach. Too bad there are only two books in the series.


  2. I saw this really cool book once, at the library maybe, can’t remember but it had a World history in a timeline as a graph. VERY illustrative. You could immediately see the major periods of history. Looking at the graph you could then look various periods if they interested you and the most important point was you had in your head the relevance of what was going on in a larger context. Most history teaches a bunch of unrelated facts so, I believe, it’s harder to understand. So I did a little searching to try and find such a book. I used search phrase

    timeline Illustrated History of the World

    and looked at the pictures to find a link. I found this one which was not the one I remembered but extremely like the one I remembered.

    Look at how you can instantly see a vast unfolding of history. The page with the graphic has other links. Might be a good starting point.


    I think these timelines are really useful like flash cards for linear data.


  3. There is also a picture book called A Street Through Time by Ann Millard that shows how one street changes through all the major periods of history. Another book, A City Through Time does the same thing for a city. I got the book from the library. Like the timeline idea that Sam mentioned in his comment, only shown sequentially, in the development of a street in a city.

    Homeschooling is fun! So many interesting resources.

    Also, Rainbow Resource catalog is the go to catalog for all your homeschooling needs. They seem to have everything in there! And don’t mind the name, it was picked out years before certain groups abused the word rainbow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s