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In just a few short weeks it will be April. And you know what that means? It’s Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month. If you didn’t already have that on your calendar of homeschool observances, be sure to add it! Here are some great ideas for exploring and enjoying math during Math Month!
Math in Real Life
Homeschoolers explore math in a wide variety of ways, but often they use a textbook or online program to ensure that they are covering all of the regular math topics in a given grade level. If you’ve always wanted to try some hands-on math exploration but felt like you didn’t have time to do it along with your regular math pages or assignments, give yourself permission to step back and try something different in April, like an escape room!
One of our favorite resources is Loving Living Math by Cindy West. Cindy includes tons of examples for exploring all kinds of math concepts in the course of daily life. She includes many resource lists and even printable pages for activities or logical problem solving!
Take a nature walk and look for examples of geometric shapes in nature. Track the path of shadows as they move down the wall or across your yard throughout the day and talk about telling time by the sun. Go shopping and give your kids experience with calculating price per pound, percentage discounts, sales tax, and change. There are so many hands-on math experiences waiting for you in your everyday life!
Read Math Books
If you’d like to foster math conversations in your homeschool but aren’t sure how to go about doing that, try reading a living math book together and discussing it.
One of my favorite topics to explore this way is geometry. Recently we read Which One Doesn’t Belong? Each page of the book contains a set of four shapes. Readers are encouraged to pick out the one that doesn’t fit with the others and explain why. The fun thing is that each shape in each set could be said not to belong for a different reason. The purpose of the exercise is to practice observing, comparing, and describing features of geometric shapes.
Speaking of geometry, we’ve also loved the Sir Cumference books. These books track the main character, Sir Cumference, as he explores various geometric concepts from the size of circles to the area and perimeter of shapes. Since Pi Day (you know, 3.14? March 14th?) is coming up next week, you might enjoy Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi! We found a collection of activities to use along with these books from Math Geek Mama.
We’ve also loved exploring math-based poetry books like Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie which includes actual math riddles and problems written in rhyme. Or, read Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature and use that as a jumping-off point for a spiral-hunt nature walk! You can find more of our favorite math poetry books here.
Finally, one of our all-time favorite math books is Math Curse. This is a funny, zany book that explores the concept of finding math riddles and problems to solve everywhere you go! It packs in a lot of great math vocabulary, too.
Play Board Games
Perhaps the easiest way to inject some solid math exploration in a stealth-ninja way is to bring out the board games! Playing games is a great family activity – read 101 reasons why. Almost all board games and card games involve some form of math or logical problem solving, including learning about money.
Can’t Stop is a simple, press-your-luck game that was actually responsible for teaching our now-nine-year-old her addition facts before we’d even begun formal schooling with her. Games like Medieval Academy involve the use of both positive and negative numbers. The family can explore patterns with a game like Qwirkle. You can see a full list of our favorite math board games in this post.
If you want some games that are targeted directly towards learning and reviewing specific math facts, I highly recommend Kate Snow’s Math Facts that Stick book set. She has volumes for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These books teach you simple games you can play, usually with materials you have on hand or can print and make!
Join the Party!
During the month of April, Homeschooling without Training Wheels hosts a month-long celebration of all things Math. We hold giveaways, share resources and reviews, and present live videos with math tips and ideas. It’s a great opportunity to give your homeschool math a little shot of fun as the school year winds down and also to begin perusing materials to include in your homeschool next year.
We’d love for you to join us! Hop over to Homeschooling without Training Wheels to read more about Math Month and what we have planned this year!
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