Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Whole Lotta Math

Today, I finally cleaned off some shelves holding math, reading, and writing stuff. I ended up only putting math materials back on the shelf. I put away some things we didn't need out anymore, and I'm hoping to revive a few old things. Since I have everything nice and neat for a change, I thought I'd share what we do for math.

Ta da! I wonder how long the orderliness will last. The folders to the side hold some really great math lapbooks the kids made in their Monday Fun math class with Mrs. Julie. There are three different ones - time, counting and numbers, and measurement.

On the bottom shelf we have some number cards and these little booklets for learning to make addition and subtraction sentences. I made the counters with beads and pipe cleaners. Each color has a different number of beads.

Pattern blocks and designs to fill in.

Tangrams and a book of picture puzzles, also from Monday Fun math.

Next shelf up, geometric solids and TOPS Get A Grip lentil math. For the lentil math, there are several little problem booklets and a set of jars, each having its own symbol. It starts out really simple: which of two given jars holds more? And progresses up to fractions and complex problems such as, (square) - 2(heart) - (person) = ? The child fills the appropriate jars with lentils and transfers them to other jars to find the answer. Good for little kids who are just learning concepts like greater than/less than and for older students being introduced to or struggling with algebra.

In the middle of this next shelf is a box of number puzzles. I drew each number onto a different color of craft foam and cut it into four interlocking pieces. I scribbled on the backside of each piece so the number couldn't be reversed.

These addition/subtraction materials are free from Montessori Materials.
Look under "Rulers" and "Strip Board Material". This website has lots of useful things to print off in every subject.

Also from the same website under "Teen and Ten Board".

This shelf has various math games on it. You can see a number/number word/ dot matching game. We usually play it like Go Fish. A miniature deck of playing cards. A good game for practicing addition and subtraction is to play War, except each player lays down two cards at a time. Whoever has the greatest sum (or difference) takes all four cards. Play until one person has all the cards (or set a time limit.) The cat and mouse game is from the HomeSchool Hutt. We play it with flash cards from one of the math lapbooks.

Top shelf shows our Singapore Math books. We use the US edition textbook and workbooks. And I have the Home Instructor's Guide, which I think is essential. Miah enjoys using these books and is doing well with them. Before starting Singapore Math in January, I was trying to use a basic outline and do my own thing. It didn't go that well. I have an absurd fear of textbooks, but I'm glad I gave in and bought these. Larkin, who is technically still in preschool, is doing the same first-grade book with Miah. He understands the concepts, no problem. He has difficulty sitting through a whole lesson and having the patience to write out the answers. I found some little number stickers for him to use so he doesn't have to write all the numbers. As the stickers run out, he's having to gradually write more numbers, and that's working for him. Sometimes, he just has to tell me the answer, and I usually don't make him do all the problems Miah has to do. The box holds manipulatives we use with the workbooks - cuisenaire rods, legos, miniature craft sticks.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. — Albert Einstein

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way. — Marvin Minsky


  1. Nice! Our math shelf has stayed fairly neat...actually all our school-ish shelves have stayed much more orderly since I weeded through and used much more of a montessori set up. Love the little math sentence books. I keep meaning to make something similar to go with the beads chains I made last fall.

    I get the fear of textbooks too...math is the one I give in too....I don't want holes and feel it's a very important subject

  2. What is Monday Fun Math? Could you post a link? Both my kids would love those tangrams. :)

    Your space looks great and easy to use!


  3. Val, it's actually the classes where the local homeschool kids get together.

  4. I would assume the tanagrams are easy to find- maybe learning resources? We have them too...Rylan took Ms Julie's math class a few years back.

    For Math, Rylan is using Mastering Mathematics. We used MCP for K. Cale I got I *think* Singapore, but maybe not the US version since it looked different. I wasn't too impressed. I don't think Mastering Mathematics will fit Cale- right now I am looking at Right Start, but haven't decided yet. I do supplement some with Rylan since his is basically just mastering and not some of the extra stuff he might need to know for the standardized tests and such.