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What arouses more fear in a homeschool mom than a cockroach?
What is the number one subject Moms are afraid to teach?
Why, Math of course. Say the word “math” and some homeschool moms tremble!
Are you one of those moms?
Many of us have bad memories of math. We might have struggled to understand it or if we understood it, we might have had trouble with making silly mistakes.
Or maybe we just don’t remember math. After all, how often do you figure out the perimeter of a circle or square root of 624?
If you are a mom with a distaste for math, I want to encourage you that you can teach math to your children with a cheerful heart.
Nope! Possible! Probable!
You see, math is a such a blessing for our children. Math helps their minds to think logically and builds pathways in their brains. Starting the day with math is like stretching or working out the brain first thing.
So, how can we overcome the dread?
Well, let’s start with some basics about math. Math is incremental. That means that you have to learn one thing well before you learn the next thing. So if we don’t understand something completely and are not able to do it fluently (more on fluently later in this blog), then we will struggle with the next topic.
Mastery at each step is more important than finishing the math book by the end of the year. Some children can zip through math and others take two years to fully understand and complete a math textbook. Many students can race through grade three math, but need more time on grade four math.
Tips for Math Mastery & Fluency
Math is unique because it requires understanding, application of knowledge, and solving problems accurately and consistently.
In other words, children at all levels have to understand the math concepts and be able to apply them. AND to get the right answers consistently.
How can we help our children to understand, apply, and get the right answers consistently?
Here are some math teaching tips:
- Make math part of your daily homeschooling routine
- Start with math before children get worn out
- Be there with children to answer any questions and help them understand difficult problems
- Cheer them on! “You are so smart!” “You’re doing a great job!”
- Use math manipulatives to help concepts make sense (I like Math-U-See manipulatives and M&Ms)
- Check work daily and help children correct work
- Keep math time happy by being upbeat and positive
- Reward a good job
- Skip Count together
- Cook together; Double & Triple recipes
- Let kids play with fake money
- Let kids use real money (decimals)
- Let children count things and divide things (setting table, dividing candy)
- Let children cut pizza and pie in slices
- Memorize addition facts with drills, worksheets, and memory songs
- Memorize Multiplication facts with drills, worksheets, and memory songs
- Play Cards
- Play Board Games
- Play Sudoku
In addition, each level of math builds on the previous level. If kids don’t get fractions and decimals in fifth grade, they will struggle with sixth grade math all the way up to Algebra II and beyond. It is important to build a super-strong math foundation in the early years. If it hasn’t been built, it is worth the time and effort to rebuild it.
Make sure that children know all their math for one grade level before they move on. We have repeated years of math with a different curriculum to help our children learn all the concepts.
Math is an important subject for the homeschool mom to teach. It is a key ingredient to science, engineering, music, and computer science. Don’t neglect math!
Don’t be afraid of it either. I had one daughter who needed a better math teacher than me. So I bartered with a friend who majored in math in college. I taught her kids to write and she tutored my kids in math.
Some of My Favorite Math Curricula
Math-U-See is one of my favorite publishers. I love the way they use music and math manipulatives to make math simple and easy to learn. Curriculum goes all the way to high school. Here’s the first level of Math-U-See. Purchase at Amazon.
Saxon Math is another math curriculum I really like. I appreciate the way they reinforce things students have already learned so they don’t forget them. This is the Math 1 Complete Homeschool Program that includes textbook, teacher’s manual, student workbook, fact cards, and manipulative kit. You can purchase this level and all other levels through Calculus at Amazon.
If you are looking for traditional Christian school math, A’beka is it. Like all their other products, A’beka is thorough and excellent academically. This set includes everything you need to teach your first grader. You can purchase all grades of A’Beka Math at Amazon.
Resource Math & Other Subjects
If you want want to learn more about teaching math and other subjects, there is an entire section in Joyful and Successful Homeschooling by Meredith Curtis (me!) devoted to how to teach each subject. From reading and math to life skills and foreign language, you can glean wisdom and teaching tips that will make life and homeschooling easier.
Joyful and Successful Homeschooling by Meredith Curtis (me!) is our family’s story of homeschooling, living a lifestyle of learning together for the glory of God. With practical advice, goals, plans, strategies, tips, ideas, examples, and family stories, this book covers how to teach, learning styles, philosophies of education, home management, child rearing, family ministry, choosing curriculum, lesson plans, field trips, support systems, co-op, and organization.
You can purchase Joyful and Successful Homeschooling by Meredith Curtis at Amazon. The E-book is available at PowerlineProd, PayHip and TeachersPayTeachers. Learn more here.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!