Monday, February 15, 2016

Our Homeschool Basket: Math, February 2016

True - when you think about children learning Math as part of their home education experience, one does not typically first think of lovely books!

Honestly, we tried a couple different of the more traditional text book style of math books, which were pretty disastrous in our homeschooling. They either resulted in tears (mine and/or my child's) or complete boredom (again, often both me and my young student). It was not good. It was very very bad.

Since those painful days we have turned to a different way of learning math, which is (dare I say it?!) fun and engaging. Math fun? Yes!

The core of our math is Life of Fred, a story based curriculum centered around a young university math professor called Fred. The story is amusing, engaging and wide reaching. Early topics and concepts introduced include astronomy, Archimedes, algebra and basic arithmetic facts.  The books begin with Apples and conclude at College level!

I could add that this series is so beloved in our home that we have ongoing Fred jokes, and that all three of my children ask for additional chapters frequently - they are *that good!*

(And just in case you are confused with the random seeming names, as I initially was - they are alphabetical! Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood etc etc!)

In addition we often read a chapter or two of Mathemagic each week. This is additional annual to the ChildCraft series, and although it is out of print, it is worth hunting for on eBay or Amazon. The chapters are fairly short, and informative, with a range of puzzles, stories, or factual information. We started reading this book a few months ago, and it has quickly become another favorite.

We also love living math books, picture books that share math facts and information in fun and engaging ways.

The Sir Cumference books, by Cindy Neuschwander, are fabulous math books for early to mid elementary children; we recently enjoyed three titles from this series (Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens, Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map, and Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts Dessert). There are a total of nine books in the series, and we are planning to add them all to our home library - they are that good!

The books of Greg Tang are also firm favorites; we have collected a few of his books including , and love the math puzzles they contain. We have particularly enjoyed these two: Math for All Seasons, Math Fables: Lessons That Count, Math Appeal and Math-terpieces. So much fun!

If we have some spare time on a weekend, we will often chose an activity from either Family Math for Young Children, or Family Math. These two books have puzzles, games and activities for children and families from preschoolers to middle-schoolers. We have had so much fun with these two books over the past year or so.

And, lastly, board games! We play a lot of board games as part of our 'school' experience, including Yahtzee, Math Dice Junior and Sum Swamp. Each of these is great for practicing basic math skills, such as additon and subtraction, while Yahtzee is also wonderful for introducing multiplication, doubling, probabilities and skip counting.

We also recently added Battleship to our game shelf - and introduced the concept of axis and plotting coordinates. This was a firm favorite of mine as a child, and I'm having so much fun playing it again with my own Little Ones!

What are your favorite living math books or games?


  1. This is great! I look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis!

    1. Thank you so much for the positive feedback - I'm really excited to share more of the beautiful books we encounter!

  2. Great blog focus and wonderful math post! I see some favorites here and a couple of new ones to me. I love Peggy Kaye's Games for Math. (She has other subjects, as well.)

    1. Thank you so much Nicola! I'm planning science and history posts as well - so many lovely books in both of those areas as well :)