Here's 3 Maths Ideas that Really Work for My Kids
They aren't interested in sitting down at the table and taking out their workbooks. They don't want to sit still and they certainly aren't interested in listening to the droning voice of some English teacher sounding out syllables and vowels.
I'm speaking from personal experience when I say that. I had five girls that I was home schooling, all a year apart and very different in ability, interests and engagement levels. One wanted to ride the horses, one of them wanted to make daisy chains in the backyard and the other three wanted to read a novel as part of their study time.
I was almost in tears. It was too much! I needed some help, and, fast.
I needed ways to engage them. I needed help on what to say and when to say it.
So I started researching.
I researched for hours late at night, talked to friends, listened to podcasts of successful mums and read homeschooling books. It took long, tiresome hours to read all that information and try and put everything together.
I had to find a way to stop maths from being perceived as a 'tough' subject
Then we started using the Math-U-See program and gosh, it worked!
There were a few keys things that the Math-U-See program did, that every other program on the market totally bypassed....
There's something about numbers that some kids just don't get. Perhaps it's the way we speak about numbers in our English language (there's a whole heap of research about the difference of the English language relating to numbers and the Japanese language and numbers. The research says that instead of saying "eleven" we should be saying "one-ty one". That means we keep proper place value and make numbers easy for kids to learn, remember and use correctly).
1. Use multisensory as a foundation of teaching numbers
The hands-on blocks (they look like Lego blocks) were used to show basic numbers, addition, subtraction and we even used them all the way to algebra. Having the same set of manipulatives to work with is research-proven to help students retain knowledge much faster and more in-depth, as opposed to using a variety of pins, apples, pizzas and popsicle sticks to teach addition and pizza slices to teach fractions. The Math-U-See Fraction Overlays and the Algebra Decimal Inserts did the job SO much better to teach fractions and algebra, and both the sets linked into the block sets with the same colours.
2. Teach in a simple, progressive method.
It's called a "mastery based approach". Each topic was explained and demonstrated in depth to the student. My girls loved the videos and all the little maths jokes and humour in them! But the best part was, we didn't move on to the next lesson until they REALLY understood what was being taught. That was the worst part about school, being in a room full of students at all different levels, and if you don't understand how to divide a fraction or solve an algebraic equation, the teacher just kept moving on.
There was also a whole lot more information about how to teach maths in the best way, from all that research (and all those late nights!) that I wanted to share.
And I realised... it's the little things that count.
3. Making all those little things count
From the multisensory aspects, to listening more to what my kids wanted and where they were really struggling, to rewarding them with certificates and gold stars. Everyone likes reward and encouragement, and especially for kids, it really works!
I decided to pour my research and experience as a homeschool mum into a resource to help other parents learn the best kept secrets for teaching maths at home EASILY.
You can download that here:
I hope you find it as helpful as I did. And, let me know if you have any favourite ways of teaching maths that worked for you and your kids.
Signing off now,
The Team at Maths Australia
P.S There's also a few fun maths games in the back of the booklet. These are great to use with the kids!