Whether you have homeschooled for decades or are just starting out, creative ideas for homeschool math can be hard to come up with. You want to make it fun for your child but it is also important that he learn the basic skills. Can it be done?
Creative Ideas for Homeschool Math by Grade Level
Math is used every day in nearly everything people do. Math is an important part of life whether you are painting walls or baking chocolate chip cookies. Many adults learned to dislike math in a conventional school setting. Spending years memorizing math facts can strip mathematics of any vestige of fun or wonder.
Preschool and Early Elementary Math
During these years everything is interesting to a child. Math is a fascinating new language. Children seem to like to count everything once they learn how. Here are some great ideas to tap into that sense of wonder:
- Roll out cookie dough and cut it with number shaped cookie cutters. Use the cookies as a sweet way to teach number identification or make simple equations.
- Sort M & Ms by color. Make a pattern with them and then have the child create the next few rows in the pattern. For example, (red) (red) (blue) (yellow) (red) (red)_ _. The next two M & Ms in the pattern would be blue and yellow.
- Print off connect the dots games. Children tend to love these games and it helps with both number recognition and order.
- Give your children measuring cups, measuring spoons, and two bowls. Have one bowl full of water or cornmeal. It doesn't really matter; it just depends on which you prefer to clean up. Allow him to measure the water with the various containers.
- Most children love to measure things. Give you child a measuring tape and allow him to measure rooms, tables, and anything else he desires.
- Puzzles help with pattern recognition.
- You can help your child create notebooks which are both fun and educational. Lift the flap math facts families for example, is much more fun that plain flash cards.
Upper Elementary and Middle School Math
Creative ideas for homeschool math are not limited to younger children. Older children can learn creatively as well. In fact, teaching math in a hands on, creative way will help them to understand how math is used in their lives rather than just memorizing concepts and formulas.
- Cooking uses many types of math concepts from measurement to temperature. Having your child cook with you in the kitchen is a great way to teach math as well as build relationship. Some math concepts that cooking explores are:
- There are computer games that use math facts and concepts as part of the game. Children love the action and adventure of using the games and they will often play much longer than they would study. These should not be used exclusively, however.
- Trips to the store are a wonderful opportunity to learning about money. Other great ways to learn about money are:
- Games like Monopoly or Life.
- Opening a savings account.
- Allow them to start their own small business.
- Playing virtual business games like Roller Coaster Tycoon.
- Create graphs and charts of the temperature for a month, the most popular ice cream flavors in the neighborhood, or anything else that you can think of that can be charted.
High School Math
By the high school years math should be a part of your child's daily life. Some subjects like trigonometry are difficult to teach any other way but memorization and rote. Life skills, however, are important at this point.
- Many banks offer free checking accounts for high school students. This is a great way to learn about economics and budgeting, as well as accounting skills.
- Cooking is still a great way to practice fractions and conversions.
- Have your student build something. Even a bookshelf helps him to utilize geometry skills. If you are doing some remodeling on your home let him figure out how much paint to buy and be part of the process. Building and remodeling are great ways to utilize algebra and geometry as well as basic math.
- Math Journaling is a unique idea. Assign several math vocabulary words and have your student use them in a short story or journal entry.
- Tutoring younger children is an excellent way for an older student to master concepts.
Change Your Own Perception
It is important to change your own perception of math being a boring subject. Allow your child to explore and experience math in as many ways as possible. Computer and video games, board games, life skills, and math textbooks can all work together to give you many creative ideas for homeschool math.