Math: How to Teach it Without a Textbook

Over time, it has become accepted that learning takes place between certain times of the day and requires the use of textbooks to achieve a good result.

This belief has only stifled our children’s learning. 

Math Teach It Without a Textbook

Compartmentalizing is something that is used to simplify an often overwhelming or challenging part of life. However, education is not something that can or should be compartmentalized.

When we do so, we rob our children of the opportunity to become self-led and self-directed learners.

We make homeschooling and the general job of educating our children much harder than it needs to be.

In this post, I will show you just how easy it is to teach your child math without a textbook.

This will hopefully give you confidence in your ability to give your child the tools they need to learn outside of the scope of traditional schooling.

5 Ways to Teach Math Without Using Textbooks

While using a paper curriculum certainly has its benefits, there are reasons that you may want to steer away from it.

Perhaps your child learns best by doing projects or using their hands. You may take more of an unschooling approach to homeschool, or you may not be able to easily access traditional curriculum.

Whatever your reason, I hope that these fun ideas are helpful to your and your child.


Playing games with your children or having them play games with each other can be a wonderful way of learning math concepts.

There’s actually a specific name for this way of learning called Gameschooling. You can find Facebook groups with great ideas and suggestions, but don’t underestimate what regular games can do.

Think about what your child learns when they use dice and have to count across a board. There are often things like shape and color recognition involved, as well as, a level of logic and strategy.

Having a good collection of games is a great way to let your child learn math concepts through play. Even more, your family will get the added advantage of bonding and problem-solving together!


The act of designing and building projects is absolutely packed full of math concepts! This is an area that you can adapt for the age and interests of your child.

It would be ideal if you can choose a project that is a need in your home so that your child really develops a sense of adding to the family.

For instance, you may want to start a vegetable garden. Building a garden bed would be an excellent project. 

Then, your child can work out the volume of soil needed to fill the garden. After that, there are crops to be decided on, and there’s plenty of math involved in that too!


Cooking is something that we do daily and often multiple times a day at that! This is possibly one of the easiest ways to incorporate math concepts into your child’s day.

Let them join in with your meal prep, and they will gain skills in concepts such as volume, measurement, estimation, temperature, and more!

Math is something they will be learning along with other invaluable things such as nutrition and basic life skills.


So often, we think of math as this dry step-by-step process. Music dispels this myth. Music is lyrical, emotive, and poetic. It is also full of rules and order. Math is what brings that order to fruition. It keeps the music from becoming chaotic.

Whether you include music simply by listening to it regularly or through actual lessons, your child will learn math concepts such as rhythm, timing, fractions, and patterns.


Unfortunately, budgeting is a skill that many lack in our current world. Teaching money management should be absolutely a given. Besides the obvious advantages it gives to positive financial outcomes, it also allows plenty of math practice!

If your child receives pocket money, they can totally create their own budget.

If they do not, why not involve them in the family budget? They don’t necessarily need to see the entire thing, but even just focusing on the grocery budget is a good way to start.

Teach Math Your Way

As you can see, math can be taught in many, many ways throughout daily life and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If your child is resistant to learning math from a textbook, don’t despair! There are many more ways for them to learn. The world is full of learning opportunities, we only need to pause and look for them.

Christine Keys

About the author

Christine is a former homeschooler turned homeschooling mom. She has a degree in nursing but felt led to homeschool her three children.

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