Math Happens

We don’t own a math textbook or any type of math curriculum. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t do math. Often, math comes up as a course of everyday events. Everyday math is everywhere! Many topics come up without my direction everyday – how do you ‘average’ something? What is a unit price? What are income taxes? How can I double a recipe? How much allowance do you owe me?
A cool way Gavin had found to explore math concepts is through literature. Books like the Sir Cumference series cover topics like Pi, geometry, angles, place value, perimeter, area, and other math concepts. They are considered ‘math adventures’ and are a totally different approach than that of a lesson plan.
We also came upon a series called Math Quest. Gavin compared them to the ‘choose your own adventure’ books, only they correct you if you make the wrong choice. He stumbled upon them at the library and promptly devoured all four of them. It was neat to watch him pull out scrap paper to work the problems, or see him bringing them up to bed. Happy reading, Gav.

The Pythagorean Theorem, Geometry and multiplication can all be all be spiced up by a story line – a little like historical fiction.
Mikey prefers hands-on activities like Cuisenaire Rods. Our set has a series of ‘activity’ cards that teach mathematical concepts. These do not present at all like ‘math’. Numbers are not even involved. Mikey, who struggles with rudimentary math in a workbook, can complete simple algebra when the rods are involved. Sometimes when I ask Mike what he would like to do he says, ‘play rods’. Please don’t tell him it’s ‘math’!
We gets lots of good ideas from my friend at Toadhaven homeschool and you can too.
We also love games. Simple games like Yahtzee and Triominoes have reinforced lots of mathematical concepts. Payday, Rummikub, Mastermind, Monopoly, Uno and Battleship, and Blokus require adding, subtracting, counting, recognizing patterns, and logic and reasoning skills.
There are tons of online resources including Gavin’s current favorite at Khan Academy.
This website allows you pursue all types of lessons, brain teasers, practices and lectures in a methodical, self-directed way. It uses a ‘spiderweb’ to link concepts together and the topics progress in an order that builds on previous concepts. The site awards points and rewards for time logged and practices completed.
We’ve watched documentaries like Between the Folds and The Story of 1. We enjoy learning by watching and even Sean is on the action with Leapfrog and he and Mikey enjoy their time with Reader Rabbit.
This is only a tiny snapshot of what is available to our kids – not just to ‘learn math’, but to learn to enjoy discovering math for themselves. From books, to video games, online resources, iphone apps, and tv – think outside the box! At least, think outside the textbook.  

1 thought on “Math Happens

  1. Susan

    This is how we do math too! Math textbooks do not work for us…we do have some workbooks around, and I offer to work through things in them with the girls when they are in the mood, but I do not require it. I want them to enjoy and truly understand math and numbers, not be afraid of them! I am interested in the Math Quest books you mentioned…unfortunately, it looks like our library system doesn’t carry them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.