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This is the second week of the Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds and the topic is math! Math is one of the subjects you either love or hate to teach. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle of that!
Memorizing facts (arithmetic) is very boring to me but I understand why it’s very helpful to know them. Figuring out puzzles and applications (mathematics) is something I do enjoy! Each of our children has their own learning style some love to practice math facts and would just love to do workbook pages all day, others working with facts is like pulling teeth but give them a puzzle to solve and it is great fun. Over the past 7 years of homeschooling I’ve found some math resources that we really enjoy using.
XtraMath is a free math drill website that takes only 10 minutes or so a day to use. It starts children off with addition practicing facts until the matrix is filled in. Only then can they move on to subtraction. One thing I like is that I receive emails with each child’s progress. This makes record keeping easy and I can see what questions they are having trouble with and what areas they are doing well in.
TimezAttack is a really fun video game style math drill program. The basic version is free and teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This game has been an absolute family favourite for learning and remembering math facts! I really like that it does a pre-test for each child, when they have mastered all the facts it shows you a comparison chart. My kids really love this.
Cool Math Games is another fun and free website. It has been a family hit ever since it was suggested to me by a friend. There is a wide variety of games here that cover most areas of math. Some of the cooking games are my girls favourites.
Khan Academy is just an amazing math website. I seriously can’t believe this is free! This has been one of my oldest daughters favourite programs so far. Each topic is taught by videos and then the student works through a math matrix map. As you work you can earn badges for your work. These are not just silly motivational badges, many are hard to get! It keeps great track of what questions and topics they are doing well at and what ones need more work. I like that this program doesn’t use busy work and students can move at their own pace.
My personal favourite are the blue topical series and we use these often for introducing a topic or for extra practice. My dd8 especially loves these work pages. I like that they are written clearly to the student and you don’t need a separate teachers manual or text book.
Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) is my all time favourite math program. It is a completely free math program for K through high school. This is a British program that was developed off how math is taught in Hungary. With this program it is important to remember that math years don’t correspond to Canadian and American grades. So if you’re starting the program later don’t worry if you need to go down a level or more at first. Their year 1 is meant for children age 6 to 7 and year 10 is the final year equal to our grade 12. MEP is a spiral program that uses a lot of mental math, logic and puzzles. It is a very hands on program using objects around your home and the children to demonstrate concepts.
The video below shows how math is taught in Hungary and is the methods MEP is based on.
What else do we do for math? Well other then using the programs above for basic instruction we do a LOT of living math. Most textbooks include a lot of word problems to help simulate real life events. I personally find it makes more sense to use REAL life events to practice math. We do this often when menu planning, planning a grocery list on budget, doubling or tripling a recipe. Many crafts such as sewing require math, how much fabric is needed, how much elastic what is the finished cost to make this item? When planning out gardens our children get to practice a lot of math as well. It is important to space seeds and transplants properly. After many years of helping in the garden they have a good idea how to “eye ball” err estimate distance.
What are your favourite math resources?