Category Archives: Family

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Tabletop Academy Press
Tabletop Academy Press:
Learning is a lifelong adventure.

Are you looking for playful ways to help your children learn math? Now you can get math tips and activity ideas by email, as well as find out when I put out a new book or revise an old one.

Check out my shiny new emailing list:

I hope to send out a “Math Snack” (no-preparation math activity idea) at least once a month. In the meantime, your sign-up bonuses include a 4-page article on solving word problems and a pre-publication peek at my new Math You Can Play book series of games for preschool to prealgebra.

Tabletop Academy Press has been my publishing name since way back when my books were printed at the local copy shop and stapled together by hand for sharing with local homeschoolers. Seems like ancient days!

Free This Weekend

BanishedKindleCover

Our Christmas gift to you: my daughter’s fantasy adventure Banished will be FREE for Kindle on Amazon.com this weekend only, December 11-15.

I don’t know whether the other Amazons (UK, CA, AU, IN, etc.) will also run the sale, but I hope so.

As I type, the paperback edition is also on sale at a 10% discount, though we have no control over how long Amazon will be offering that price. Banished is part of the Kindle Matchbook program, so if you buy a copy of the paperback, you can get the ebook for free — even after our weekend sale runs out.

Read an excerpt: the first four chapters of Banished

Don’t have a Kindle? You can get a Kindle app that will let you read Teresa’s book on almost any device.

Watch for Upcoming Books

The second book in The Riddled Stone series is scheduled for publication in Spring 2015, and so are the first two volumes of my Math You Can Play series. If you want a head’s-up when these books arrive, be sure to join my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list:

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Math Storytelling Day: The Hospital Floor

[Feature photo above by Christiaan Triebert via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

Have you ever heard of Math Storytelling Day? On September 25, people around the world celebrate mathematics by telling stories together. The stories can be real — like my story below — or fictional like the tale of Wizard Mathys from Fantasia and his crystal ball communication system.

Check out these posts for more information:

My Math Story

tiles2

My story begins with an unexpected adventure in pain. Appendicitis sidewhacked my life last week, but that’s not the story. It’s just the setting. During my recovery, I spent a lot of time in the smaller room of my hospital suite. I noticed this semi-random pattern in the floor tile, which made me wonder:

  • Did they choose the pattern to keep their customers from getting bored while they were … occupied?
  • Is the randomness real? Or can I find a line of symmetry or a set of tiles that repeat?
  • If I take pictures from enough different angles, could I transfer the whole floor to graph paper for further study?
  • And if the nurse finds me doing this, will she send me to a different ward of the hospital? Do hospitals have psychiatric wards, or is that only in the movies?
  • What is the biggest chunk of squares I could “break out” from this pattern that would create the illusion of a regular, repeating tessellation?

I gave up on the graph paper idea (for now) and printed the pictures to play with. By my definition, “broken” pattern chunks need to be contiguous along the sides of the tiles, like pentominoes. Also, the edge of the chunk must be a clean break along the mortar lines. The piece can zigzag all over the place, but it isn’t allowed to come back and touch itself anywhere, even at a corner. No holes allowed.

I’m counting the plain squares as the unit and each of the smaller rectangles as a half square. So far, the biggest chunk of repeating tiles I’ve managed to break out is 283 squares.

tiles1

What Math Stories Will You Tell?

Have you and your children created any mathematical stories this year? I’d love to hear them! Please share your links in the comments section below.


Tabletop Academy PressGet monthly math tips and activity ideas, and be the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions. Sign up for my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list.


Reviews for my Daughter’s Book

I cleaned up the clutter on my other blog, and so I decided to make a page about my daughter’s book, which meant taking the time to pull out excerpts from her reviews. And since I hadn’t posted anything about her on this blog for a couple of months, I thought I’d brag a bit to you all, too.

Reviews of Banished

Banished is a captivating fantasy story with a well-thought-out plot that would be a credit to any writer. But it is especially remarkable coming from a thirteen-year-old student who has been homeschooled all her life.

Teresa Gaskins actually wrote this book as a project for the National Novel Writing Month program. One noteworthy thing about the book is that there is no sexuality or bad language (the euphemistic interjection “Blasted” is used once), so, other than those who object to the presence of any kind of magic in books, parents can let their kids read the novel with no reservations.

However, be forewarned. When you reach the final page and find the words, “Not the End…,” you will cry, “Oh! No!” The story does not resolve itself at the end and then pick up in a sequel. Rather, the plot is left hanging at the end and will continue in another book. I for one feel as if I simply can’t wait to read the next installment to find out what happens to Chris and his friends. It’s that good!

— Wayne at Home School Book Review

Continue reading Reviews for my Daughter’s Book

5 Stars at Home School Book Review

Wayne at Home School Book Review just posted a very kind review of my daughter’s book:

Banished is a captivating fantasy story with a well-thought-out plot that would be a credit to any writer. But it is especially remarkable coming from a thirteen-year-old student who has been homeschooled all her life.

However, be forewarned. When you reach the final page and find the words, “Not the End…,” you will cry, “Oh! No!”

I for one feel as if I simply can’t wait to read the next installment to find out what happens to Chris and his friends. It’s that good!


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New Fantasy Fiction Book by 13yo Homeschooler

My 13-year-old daughter just released her first book on Kindle:

  • Banished (The Riddled Stone, Book One)
    Falsely accused of stealing a magic artifact, Chris is forced to leave home, never to return. As he and three friends travel toward the border, however, they are warned of great danger approaching the land. They set out to solve an ancient riddle — but will they be able to save the kingdom, or will the quest cost them their lives?

[Update 7/6/12: The paperback book is now “In Stock” at Amazon (yay!). They are even including the book in their buy-3-get-1-free promotion for books and home/garden items.]

Teresa (also known as Princess Kitten) has done the NaNoWriMo Youth Program as part of her language studies for the past three years and has written many stories on her blog, but this is the first time we’ve followed through and published one of her books.

Of course I’m biased, but I think she did a pretty good job, as first books go. It’s clearly the beginning of a series, so she sets up more plot threads than she resolves — but I did convince her not to wait for this year’s NaNoWriMo to start Book Two. (I want to find out what happens next!)

Anyway, if you or your kids enjoy fantasy fiction and are interested in reading something written by a teenage homeschooler — and if you have a Kindle or Kindle Reading App — please download the sample chapters of her book and check it out. She would love to get some reviews!


Get all our new math tips and games:  Subscribe in a reader, or get updates by Email.


Summer Slowdown

It happens this way every summer: I think that when school’s out, I’ll have time to catch up on things. But school is never out, because we’re homeschoolers — and something else always comes up to make us even more busy than normal. This year, an emergency forced dh to move his engineering office from town to home. It’s great to have him close at hand, but spring cleaning has turned into a total house reorganization to make room.

Niner's baby snapping turtle sitting on her wrist
And then Niner and Kitten adopted a couple of new pets. Here’s a picture of Niner’s new snapping turtle. The old one is getting so big he eats feeder fish by the dozen, but she plans to release him back into the creek as soon as the spring floods go down. Kitten rescued two baby birds (normally the dogs take care of wind-blown fledglings), so we have to find room for yet another cage in our menagerie.

In the meantime, this month’s Math Teachers at Play carnival is coming home to my blog, so I’d better get to work on that. If you would like to share a blog post about learning, teaching, or just playing around with math, I’d love to have you send it in. Just click here and fill out the handy automatic submission form.

Update, July 2011: Niner wrote a blog post on the turtles, with photos. Kitten had one of her babies die (sad!) but the other grew up enough to be released into the woods across the creek.

Working on My Let’s Play Math! Books

Workplace stress caused by an unsuitable work ...
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This blog originally grew out of my books, and now it’s coming full circle: New, expanded editions of my long-out-of-print books are ripening on the vine, growing out of the blog. To bring them to harvest, I’m going to need your help.

The Books

I’m working on the games books first because I think they will be the most helpful supplements to any math program.

  • Let’s Play Math! Number Games for All Ages
    This book will include games like Tens Concentration and Hit Me, as well as tips for teaching negative numbers, the times table, and more. Never before published, because it was planned as the fifth book in my earlier how-to-teach-homeschool-math series, but my self-publishing experiment ended after book four.
  • Others to be announced, if I ever get the first two done…

Continue reading Working on My Let’s Play Math! Books