Math Tips from All Walks
This is an article from Homeschool.com’s newest e-magazine. The magazine is chocked full of great information-perfect for teaching preschool math–calculus.
Math is an intimidating subject for me. So for this article I decided to seek out the advice of those around me who have more experience and I am sharing it with you! And while I think that this information will be helpful, I would encourage you to do some research for yourself as well. If you have concerns about a certain subject it can be really helpful to talk about it and learn from others.
Veteran Math Teacher
This advice comes from a 25 year veteran of teaching math in the public schools. I asked for general tips when preparing to teach math. Her advice was–
Make sure you teach concepts from concrete to abstract. For example you can find out why you might need to use a certain concept and then decide how to figure it out. Or you may want to use manipulatives to learn a concept before you learn how to write it out on paper.
I like what it says in the Life of Fred book —
“every piece of mathematics first happens in Fred’s everyday life, he needs it, then we do it.”
Find various ways to write a problem
3 x 7 can be:
Have the student describe how they would solve the problem. This can be especially helpful if there is a struggle to solve a problem because the act of describing the actions taken can bring clarity.
Teach in depth. Don’t just touch on something or only teach the number of lessons in your book. Teach to the point where the concept is understood. And continue to review.
Suggested Resources and Curriculum
– Number Sense Routines by Jessica Shumway
– Math Curse by Jon Scieszka (this is a novel)
You can see one of her students’ favorite games on my blog at http://bit.ly/1sHbCon.
This advice comes from a fellow homeschool teacher who has students ranging from pre-school to 10th grade.
“Math is so every day… you need to see where you are using math and get your kids geared towards it”
- Especially in the younger years, play tons of games! Make math fun! Make math meaningful. Especially leading up to 2nd grade, it’s vital to play lots of games and utilize manipulatives in learning.
- An emphasis on learning place values is an important aspect of early Math.
- If you have older children, have them play one math or one English game each day with a younger sibling. It’s beneficial to both of them!
Suggested Resources and Curriculum
– Hands-On Math by Creative Teaching Press (these are available for multiple grades)
Previously Homeschooled Student
These tips are from a friend of mine who was homeschooled from K-12. These are the two things that stood out to her:
- Hide the answer key! This is funny in a way, but is also a good reminder to make sure we are teaching to the point of our children gaining understanding, not just filling out worksheets. This may take more attentiveness on our part but is well worth it.
- Manipulatives! Yet again another vote for hands-on math and manipulatives. In an otherwise text-book ridden math curriculum, the lessons on money were taught to my friend using real money. She felt that she was able to grasp the concepts fully because of the chance to learn in a hands-on manner.
Grade School Teacher
This was a fun and enlightening conversation. I visited with a friend of mine who teaches 2nd grade. She described to me a method of introducing new concepts with a game. She doesn’t call it “math”, she just allows the children to play the game and enjoy it. Later she discusses the topic in the math lesson and she can watch the connections being made. Of ten her students will ask her, “Isn’t this the ___ game?” to which she replies to the class, “What do you think? Is this the game we played?” Then they can discuss how it is similar or not.
She kindly agreed to share one of the games that she uses, you can see it on my blog at http://bit.ly/XfGz9G.
You can also visit my Math Games Pinterest page for more ideas. Most are for the lower elementary grades, but I’ll be adding more soon!
Writing this article has really made a difference in my approach to teaching math this year. I am actually more excited about math than any of the other subjects. I feel like I have finally found a balance between using strictly rote memorization and being worried that I am being so casual that my children won’t make the right connections. I hope these tips are inspirational to you as well! You can follow me at http://www.thechickenwire.blogspot.com where I will be sharing games, resources and fun activities we are using in our homeschool this year!