Arithmetic operations are foundational to future math learning, so it is critical that kids master math facts. Yet often homeschoolers find that at least one child has difficulty with math, and that they have hit a wall. For a large majority of children who find arithmetic difficult, it is simply a matter of how the child processes information. Learning specialist Dianne Craft has found that 80% of struggling learners are right brain dominant, due to the fact that most curriculum and learning settings are oriented toward the left-brain oriented individual. Continue reading »
While arithmetic may seem simple to children with left-brain characteristics, right-brain oriented learners often struggle with basic math in traditional classroom settings, which are more geared toward left-brained learners. Fortunately, math does not have to be difficult for these learners! Homeschoolers can use curricula, techniques, and strategies that can help the right-brained child learn math effectively. Continue reading »
Tangrams are simple seven-piece puzzles that build visual-spatial skills. Kids and adults alike enjoy manipulating the standardized pieces in the set, which includes a parallelogram, a square, and three sizes of right triangles. The pieces can be fit together to form a square, and in fact, when the puzzle pieces are made of wood, they are often stored in a square wooden frame. The real fun and thinking occur while moving the shapes around to form “pictures” or shapes. There is a real challenge in matching shapes that are already drawn out as puzzles to solve. Continue reading »
As you may have read over on my personal blog, I’m thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it’s an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.
Saxon didn’t work for us. In fact, it didn’t work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »
In Instead of Curriculum: Math Games, I described some of the games I played with my sons to help them learn and practice their multiplication facts. Today, I’ll tell about some of the hands-on tools homeschoolers use to help their kids make sense of the basic concept of multiplication as well as related multiplication facts. Continue reading »
You can drill and kill the times tables to help your kids learn multiplication facts – or you can play math games with them. Here are some of the math games that helped our sons practice multiplication painlessly. Continue reading »
I am going to be a math curriculum expert before this whole homeschooling thing is over.
Yep, we are now on our third math program in four years.
This isn’t how I planned it, but then, does anything in homeschooling go according to plan? I would have liked to have begun a math program in Kindergarten and stuck with it, at least through the sixth grade. That would have helped me be able to avoid repetition, progress more efficiently, and be able to keep a more accurate assessment of exactly what she was mastering. Continue reading »
If you homeschool long enough, you will likely come across a learning obstacle for your child that makes you want to bang your head against the wall. You use different programs, you use creative learning techniques, you incentivize, you, um, maybe yell a little… All to no avail. Your child just. doesn’t. get. it. For us, this concept was number sequencing. My second grade right-brain oriented, creative global thinker just could not get it. She can rock geometry like a star, write three-point expository paragraphs without assistance, and sew her own doll clothes. But she cannot count numbers in sequence, particularly backwards, effectively. Finding 69 on a number sequence chart (in which they are all in order according to tens) takes a while. Turning to page number 128 is a bit of a challenge. Continue reading »
Why do some homeschoolers choose not to use one of the many complete math curricula available today? And what do they do instead? To many homeschooling parents, math feels like the one thing that must be taught and learned in a systematic way even for very young children. Even many people who are otherwise attracted to or influenced by a version of interest-based learning or unschooling often say– “except for math.”
Memory and Math: Multiplication – There comes a point where your times tables MUST be memorized. You want students to be able to instantly recall all of their math facts – faster than a calculator! Continue reading »
Just try talking about an issue of substance in front of your kids. If they’re like mine, they dig right in with questions and opinions. That’s what makes dinner table conversation so lively. No surprise, research says that family discussions about current issues boost kids’ reasoning and mathematical skills. Unlike more casual chats, conversations about social and political concerns help kids make sense of big concepts including numbers. That’s because parents tend to give examples, use real life mathematics, and ask children to think for themselves. Continue reading »
Mention paper plate projects to my kids and they’re likely to scoff. That’s because well-intended adults cheerfully made them suffer through paper plate crafts when they were small. But they’re intrigued by the complexity of Bradford Hansen-Smith’s paper plate designs. Continue reading »
Because I’m an author, some people often wonder if it was ever a challenge to grow up with a mom who loved numbers the way I loved words. My mom taught high school math for thirty years but, the truth was, my mother loved language as much as she loved math. One of the great gifts of my childhood was that she taught me to see math as another language — one of nuance and beauty, of games, of wonderful problem solving, of questions and answers, of getting logically from point A to point B. Now, I’m homeschooling my six year old daughter (with help from my mom!) and we’re both enjoying sharing the language of math with her. Continue reading »
I don’t know about you, but I’m claustrophobic, aviatophobic and aquaphobic, which means I’m afraid of enclosed spaces, flying and drowning. That’s why you’ll never catch me flying to Miami so I can board a ship for an around-the-world cruise. But one fear I don’t have that many people do is arithmophobia, which is the fear of arithmetic. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call those people mathphobic. Continue reading »
Teaching math is one of the greatest ways to instill valuable goal-setting skills while ensuring academic success. Math provides the perfect opportunity for goal-setting lessons: its aims are realistic, obtainable, measurable and can be broken down into smaller goals or tasks. Developing goal-setting skills will help students learn how to manage their time, make better decisions and take ownership of their own academic progress. Continue reading »