30 Genius Ways to Make Math Fun

Math. It’s almost a dirty word to some homeschoolers.

Or wait a minute… maybe that’s just me?

No, I am not a math genius. Math is far from my favorite subject.

And yet, everyday I have four children before me who need to learn math.

So I decided a long time ago that I was going to do my best to make math fun (for their sake and for my own). Here’s my approach.

I really don't like math. And yet, everyday I have four children before me who need to learn math. So here's how we make math fun (for their sake and for my own)! Customize Math To Your Child (and Make Math Fun)

My math approach is a little different. We do follow a general curriculum (I list a few of my favorites below). But, as we’re progressing through the curriculum workbooks, I also really try to focus on three things (which are happening concurrently):

  • Learn the Material Through a Strong Curriculum. Do they know the material? Are they really getting it (no matter if they’ve finished the lesson or not)?
  • Practice Core Skills. What are the root skills for this math material? Does my child have a strong knowledge base in this area? How am I incorporating this into everyday math activities?
  • Play with Math. How can I make the learning come alive (and make math fun)?

I don’t strive to finish a workbook by a certain time in the year. And I don’t have my children’s math assignments pre-planned for weeks in advance. I’ve found that both of these things bring more frustration to an already potentially frustrating school subject.

Instead being given a pre-planned number of pages as a daily math assignment, my kids work on math for a certain amount of time each day as appropriate for their grade level. I feel this makes room for whatever amount of teaching time they need for that day (from me, or from the curriculum); and it gives space for learning/practice time to flow appropriately with the child’s ability to do a specific math task. In other words, if the math lesson for the day is easy, they will probably get more pages done; while if the math lesson is difficult, they may have less pages completed but will have still had their extra effort acknowledged.

Awesome Math Curriculum

First, I introduce the topics through a solid workbook curriculum. Here are some math programs that we’ve used and can recommend.

Note: I am notorious for using multiple curriculums and online sources as teaching materials. Bottom line: if the workbook is progressing too quickly through a subject or is skipping around in a way that doesn’t make sense to my child, I have no problem stepping back from the curriculum for a while and working on skills until a child is ready to progress. This is why I hold on to old half-completed math workbooks. I almost always find a good use for them!

SIngapore-Math--WEBSingapore Math


Math-U-See--WEB
 Math-U-See


Saxon--WEB

 Saxon


Resources That Teach Core Math Learning Skills

Remember how I talked about practicing “core root skills” as a regular part of math time?

Again, I’m no mathematician, but I’ve realized in hindsight that my math skills could have been a lot stronger when I was a student if I’d had some regular key concepts drilled into my brain. And I’ve had this hunch confirmed by several people who are much smarter than me in math.

At the top of those core math skills? The basics: addition, subtraction, division… but mainly multiplication.

Which is why I teach my kids skip counting as early as possible. I waited to teach skip counting to my older kids, and I can see the difference between their math skills and their sister’s (who learned skip counting as a kindergartner).

Here are some fun skip counting resources, plus some of my must-haves for teaching new concepts or working with them on core skills.

whiteboards--WEBlap-sized whiteboarddry-erase-markers--WEBdry erase pens
Digital-Timer--WEBDigital TimerMath-Flashcards--WEBMath Flashcards
Playing-Cards--WEBPlaying cards (so many math games to play with cards!)math-man--WEBLearning Manipulatives
SKip-COunting-CD--WEBSkip Counting Songs on CD (like this one)free-worksheet--WEBFree Math worksheets: here, here and here

Here’s a list of more free online math tools and printable worksheets!

 

Yes, Math Can Be Fun (Really!)

Check out these fun books and resources that turn math into a game!

Times-Tales--WEBTimes Tales DVD and other productsCard-game-Math-_WEBMega Fun Card-Game Math book
Math-Wise--WEBMath Wise bookCOmic-Strip-Math--WEBComic Strip Math book
Math-Curse--WEBMath Curse book65-stories-with-math--WEB65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math book
Math-STories-for-Prob-Solv--WEBMath Stories for Problem Solving Success bookBedtime-Math--WEBBedtime Math book series

Greedy-Triangle--WEBThe Greedy Triangle and other books by Marilyn Burns
Multiplying-Menace--WEBMultiplying Menace book
Math-Talk--WEBMath Talk: Teaching Concepts & Skills Through Illustrations and Stories Fraction-Stories--WEBFunny & Fabulous Fraction Stories book
Full-House--WEBFull House: An Invitation to Fractions and other books by Dayle Ann Dodds
SIr-Cumf--WEBSir Cumference and other stories by Cindy Neuschwander

Other Posts about Teaching Math or Other Homeschool Subjects:

When Your Child Needs Help With Math 

 

 Best Homeschool History and Books

Fabulously Fun Science Curriculum Ideas

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I really don't like math. And yet, everyday I have four children before me who need to learn math. So here's how we make math fun (for their sake and for my own)!

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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