Don’t Feed Your Kids Broccoli Flavored Ice Cream: Bring Homeschool Math to Life!
“Math is like ice cream, with more flavors than you can imagine — and if all your children ever do is textbook math, that’s like feeding them broccoli-flavored ice cream,” says Denise Gaskin, from “Let’s Play Math.” Denise wants to share the richness and excitement of homeschool math with other families – and she does!
Creating a dynamic, interactive math curriculum can be stressful. Families routinely feel like it is too difficult to create their own curriculum and buy something canned, boring and lifeless. Furthermore, if teaching-parents have math anxiety, it is likely that it will be unwittingly passed down to their children. One of the wonderful aspects of homeschooling can be all of the possibilities to explore math. Math is everywhere! These blogs are really great for homeschool families who want to engage their children in the real-life, joyful exploration of mathematical concepts.
1. Bedtime Math: For Elementary School Learners
Bedtime Math was created by Laura Bilodeau Overdeck. Overdeck is a mom who also happens to be a trained Astrophysicist from Princeton. As a kid, “she sat and memorized perfect squares for fun.” Bedtime Math was born when she and her husband realized how much their children loved to get math problems, and they wanted to share the love for math with people outside of their family.
Each day, the Bedtime Math blog discuss the mathematics surrounding a current event. For example, a recent post, “When Your Town Is Colder Than Mars” had interesting statistics and facts about the cold snap that was crushing the US. It included fun facts about bubbles (did you know that they can freeze?) and facts about the temperature. The discussions are followed by questions for “Wee ones,” Little Kids,” and Big Kids.”
2. Yummy Math: For Middle and High School Learners
Yummy Math is written by two Massachusetts Math teachers who want “to provide teachers with an easy way to bring real-life into their math classrooms.” They write the activities to correspond with the NCTM Process Standards and the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, while still making sure that the problems are relevant and interesting to the lives of children.
For example, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, Yummy Math suggested that you have students create two timelines about the history of race in America. It clearly delineates essential teaching points, by instructing students “to create correctly spaced timelines, enter the events that they find most powerful, and reflect on the speed, lags, or spacing of this progress,” and gives you all of the information that you need to engage learners.
Some of their recent entries include problems related to the Olympics, Football, and the length of the day.
3. Let’s Play Math: For All Aged Learners
Let’s Play Math calls itself a “ math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.” It starts each entry with a puzzle, and then talks readers through the solution, including tips for teaching the solution to young ones.
It has links to articles that explore the mathematical properties of all sorts of different things. For example, you can learn about the Islamic Star Pattern:
You can also explore natural models of multiplication:
This blog makes it easy to enjoy math.
4. Math by Hand: For 1st through 4th grade learners
Math is artistic! Math by Hand is “an arts-integrated, Waldorf-inspired, Homeschool Math Curriculum. It includes language arts components like stories, fables, legends, myths, songs, riddles, rhythmic rhymes, verses, limericks, and clapping games. The creator, Marin Lipowitz, founded Learning By Hand with “the intent of increasing the awareness and availability of a hands-on, arts-based approach to education.” She seeks to create what she calls an “ambient learning environment” for teaching math. This environment presents math in an “all-encompassing atmosphere,” where it can be absorbed naturally. She thinks math classes should be quiet and relaxing.
This year, Lipowitz is on a special blogging mission. She intends to address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of an ambient learning environment. She will give each standard an “ambient translation, with suggestions for lessons and activities that match it.” For example, her lesson for day 12 uses beans to teach children about place value. She then has a squirrel hide acorns in a tree, and suggests a story to engage learners.
5. Aims Education Foundation’s Blog: For Elementary Learners
AIMS wants your students to have busy hands. The foundation exists to “enhance the teaching and the learning of the concepts and the relationships of mathematics and science through activities and units that actively engage students in learning as they explore and do hands-on mathematics and science.” Their blog is known as the Math and Science Sandbox.
The Sandbox offers engaging, interactive, free resources and lesson plans. For example, a recent post discusses, “How Can an Abacus Help your Students Understand Subtraction with Regrouping?. The lesson includes a video tutorial:
It also includes worksheets to download. A more detailed lesson plan is available for $2.00, but there is plenty of information available for free to get you going.
6. Mathopolis: For Elementary Through High School Learners
A question each day- ready to go! This site posts a new thought-provoking and discussion worthy question each day, for students from 2nd grade through high school. It would be a great warm up exercise in just about any classroom or with any group of homeschoolers. The site also has plenty of games, depending upon which skills you are seeking to enhance:
Connecting with Other Homeschoolers Around Math
All learning benefits from a community. Math learning, in particular, is more fun when you find some friends to explore ideas with. In the WizIQ online classroom, parents can lead each other, or each other’s children, in the mathematical explorations.
How Homeschooling Could Look
What if, instead of buying a textbook or creating your own entire curriculum, a group of parents divided and conquered. One parent used the above resources to lead mathematical explorations. Another parent was in charge of a reading group. A third parent could be the writing coach. No one had to leave their house. Everyone simply logged on at the same time, and studied together.
With online digital technology, like the WizIQ virtual classroom, the possibilities are endless.