Question: I've scaled (math) back to no more than 15 problems in a day but still sense (dd's) boredom, frustration and general dislike of the topic. Help! Should I really back off for so long? She is in 5th
grade now technically speaking but I know her skills are early 4th grade
at the moment. |

Responses: She is barely a year behind
by whose standards? And why would you care? I don't mean that
to sound harsh, but I homeschool because my children are not pairs of
one-size-fits-all pantyhose and I don't want to be stuffing them full
of someone else's educational goals. - Have her plan a party (birthday, Christmas, New Year's) and do all the decorating, baking, etc. Give her a budget to work with.
- Let her redecorate her room (this is a great birthday present) and give her X amount of money with which to do this. Painting and sewing both involve math skills.
- Play games. Not "let's sit down and do our math games" but regular games that involve math skills to be played whenever your family plays games. Let her be scorekeeper when you go bowling. Some math games: monopoly, Yahtzee, any of the strategic games involving logic and thinking skills (Battleship, Stratego).
- General budgeting. Let her help with the family budget. Meal planning and coupons are good for developing math skills.
Sharon top of page |

It seems like 'teaching' math is the last area that unschoolers are able to let go. Maybe the only 'real' curriculum used will be a math curriculum. I used to be like that, but now rarely refer to math curriculum at all, but we still 'do' quite a bit of math. Here are some of the things we've done over the years... - Let the kids keep score for games (Double digit addition, maybe even triple digit in action <G>).
- Let the kids play around with the calculator.
- Ask the child to keep a running total while grocery shopping (maybe rounded to the closest .25).
- Include the kids in household projects such as building, plumbing, etc... anything that requires measuring, estimating, and so on.
- Play mental math games in the car or while waiting in the Dr's office such as 'I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 50... nope, guess higher... nope, lower.. great! You got it!
- Let the kids keep their own calendar, marking off days until some special event.
- When eating out we often let the kids figure out how much change we'd be getting back and what the tip should be.
- Keep a log of miles driven and gas used in the car and figure out the mileage.
- Estimate how many steps out to the mailbox (or wherever) and then see how close you are.
- I have lots of 'math manipulatives' that we just enjoy playing with... pattern blocks, centimeter blocks, pentanimos, tangrams, Cuisenaire rods, etc.
- Let the kids see you make mistakes once in awhile.
finished
any math books (although we've certainly purchased quite a few. LOL).And just because a child balks or plateaus or whatever at one point does not mean that they are forever destined to be 'behind' in math. Marci in Illinois top of page |

First, here are some Web sites: - Hoagies' Gifted Education
Page
This first site is absolutely full of great ideas and books about math (and other things). Even if you don't agree with the labeling of gifted, it is very worth a look. - AIMS Education Foundation
This has a problem of the day (week?) that can be lots of fun. My son and I did one today in which you had to figure out how to use 12 toothpicks to form 6 "pens" of equal shape and size. (Could be pig pens, sheep pens, etc.) - Funbrain.com
This has a math baseball game on it and other goodies. - Set Enterprises
This company makes 3 great games: 2 math and one spelling. Worth a look.
Magazines, etc.: - Maze books are great if your child likes these (as are dot to dots
for younger ones). "Puzzlemania Magazine" is
*great*for logic and problem solving and it's colorful and fun. Any brain teaser book that looks interesting to your child can be a real math treat.
Books: - "Time Life for Children" has a series of books called
__I Love Math Series__. Some of the titles include__Amusement Park Math__(my son's fav),__Play Ball__,__Sports Math__, and__The House That Math Built__. The drawback is that I could only find 2 in my library's system (I bought one). Hoagies page (above) lists__The Number Devil__and__Enzensberger__(sp?). This is*great*for upper elementary skills and Jr. High,*but*if your child has fears, (the main character unfortunately looks like a little devil) this is not for you. I'm still searching for a comparable book without the scare factor. -
__Family Math__ - Any Marilyn Burns book about math.
- Harold Jacob's
__Mathematics, A Human Endeavor__ -
__Math Games and Activities From Around the World__, by Claudia Zaslavsky (ages 8-12 from Northrop Publishing (888-576-8532)
Games and any building set you can think of: - Monopoly, Stratego, Forget It, Racko, Chess, S'math, Zometools, Stratomatic Baseball, any game with a regular deck of cards such as Math Wars, Magic Math (Scholastic, I think)
Fun stuff and real life: Any game can be taken as far as you want. E.g.,
my son decided that instead of 5 dice for Yatzee, he would play with
10 and take 14 rolls. He even renamed his new game. Also
as we play dice games, we talk about probability and chance at his level.
You can cover virtually any skill with dice and card games. |

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