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Create your own math playground

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Create your own math playground
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Since late-February I’ve been writing a series about math in our homeschools–trying to investigate this subject from a different angle. (Get it, angle?!! Math humor, gotta love it.)

Up until now we’ve talked about looking at math differently, what that practically looks like for other families, children, and experts, and how to use books to increase our young children’s love of and exposure to math.

A different way to look at math

Much of the research we’ve peeked at suggests waiting until around age 10, give or take, to introduce formal math. (I’m not saying this is the only way to approach it, by the way! It’s one of many intentional possibilities.)

If you decide to follow this advice, however, what should you do up until that age? Well, why not create your own math playground?
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Read your way to a love of math: 50 titles for ages 4-12

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Read your way to a love of mathWritten by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Past posts in this math series:
* A different way to look at math
* Out of the box math inspiration

For the past few weeks we’ve explored math study from a different perspective, asking two important questions: Why do we do what we do when it comes to this subject? Are there other valid approaches to consider?

A different way to look at math

An alternative to workbook pages in the early years is the simple sharing of a book spread open across your lap. It’s one of the easiest ways to create a blossoming love of numbers and patterns in a child’s heart and mind.

I started to put together a massive list of books for you to choose from in today’s post, but then I stopped to consider what I would have found most helpful when I was getting started as a slightly-insecure homeschooling mama.

I realized that I would have loved to have a handful of well-chosen math titles, recommended by a blogger I trusted.

I’ve tried to provide that for you here, highlighting the resources we’ve found most enjoyable in our own family – as well as including a list of other popular books you may want to check out.

Enjoy the journey as you read your way to a love of math!

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Out of the box math inspiration

Out of the box math inspiration
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Two weeks ago I began a short series on math by explaining how our family decided to approach this subject in a non-traditional way.

If you missed that post, I’d recommend reading it first before continuing this one.

A different way to look at math

Today I want to continue by serving up more math inspiration. Several “out of the box” math links follow, which I hope will help you come to your own unique conclusion on this topic.

Many of these fueled our personal decision on when and how to teach math.

You can read the entire post I reference by clicking on the title link. I’ve also written a short overview as well as included excerpts. Enjoy!
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A different way to look at math

mathbutton7

Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Like many of us, I have a complicated relationship with math.

I like math.

But I don’t like how it’s usually taught.

I grew up naturally good at math in school. The subject made me feel powerful, and  eventually I was offered the chance to skip 7th grade math (which I ended up declining–those 8th graders looked too scary!).

You’d think since I had a “positive” experience with math in school, I’d be eager to replicate that in our home.

But my heart (and my children) steered me in a different direction.

I see now that the main skill that led to my math success wasn’t understanding math; it was the ability to memorize. From an early age I used that skill to people-please my way into my teachers’ hearts, to form an identity for myself, and to cover up growing feelings of insecurity.

(See?! I told you it was complicated!)

And as the years passed, I had that familiar sense so many of us identify with when it comes to this subject: Boredom.

Those nagging questions rang through my head: “What’s the point of all this?” and “When am I ever going to use it?”
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Learning Math Through Play

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

So-called “educational” toys line the shelves of every toy store. Each gadget promises to stimulate some important quality in your child–and often includes a bunch of bells, whistles, and batteries to go along with it.

This oversaturation and planned obsolescence is not good for anyone–our children, our already full homes, or our planet.

In Simplicity Parenting, author Kim John Payne reveals that middle class children he counseled in England showed the same levels of mental and emotional overload as poor, displaced refugee children he had worked with in Southeast Asia. The reason?

Too much–of everything: books, toys, activities, lessons, and stress.

At the same time, we want helpful resources in our home–those that spark imagination and further educational goals for our children. This is especially true when it comes to a subject like math, which may not always elicit enthusiasm in the traditional (i.e. worksheets and tests) format.

Are there tools we can choose for our homeschool that inspire math study in our young children–without cluttering up our homes? Here are a few I’ve found.
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