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Making Math Fun (Part 5 of 3 Rs)

Making Math Fun

 

Teaching math to your kids can be a real challenge, but making math fun will make it an adventure!

Math—loved or hated?

Do you love math? If so, you light up when it’s time to pull out the math books and teach your kids. If, on the other hand, you hate it, teaching math to your kids may take you to the “burn out” stage very quickly. In the same way, for some kids, math is a joy—it makes sense, it is dependable, it doesn’t have weird exceptions like phonics. For other kids, math is a pain—literally, they experience pain as moms and dads grow frustrated when they don’t “get it.” They quickly intuit that math is something to fear. And, you might have some of each of these in your homeschool.

Food makes math fun!

What’s can you do? In my homeschool journey, I learned that when kids are struggling with adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, fractions, etc., making math fun can keep it from becoming a crushing burden. Skeptical? Then try these ideas and see what happens with your math-fearing, number-burdened children.

First of all, are you familiar with M&Ms?  You know, the chocolate covered candy that supposedly melts in your mouth, not in your hands?  Well, it’s a little known secret that M&M actually stands for “Math Manipulative!”  Of course, the company doesn’t call it that, but wily homeschoolers have learned through the years that using math manipulatives—especially ones you can eat—make math-time much more interesting, and even delectable. Disclaimer:  M&Ms are better for subtraction. . . and division.  Less is more, if you know what I mean.

Movement makes math fun!

Secondly, who says that kids have to sit down when they memorize their multiplication tables??  I know, I know, sitting quietly at your desk is the educational norm.  However, when you have a kid that is a mover and a shaker, one who fidgets and twitches and is constantly in motion, try letting him practice multiplication facts while doing jumping jacks (as my son, Michael did), hopping up and down stairs (as many moms have told me they did), or finding some  other way to bounce, dance, trot, or spin!  It’s amazing how much kids can learn when they are allowed to do it in the way they learn best.

Games make math fun!

Last, but not least, don’t ignore the fun that erupts when kids get to compete against mom or dad—especially when ice cream is involved!  My daughter found math computation to be difficult and uninteresting.  Though she grasped math concepts easily, and was quite adept at using a calculator, I thought it was important that she become more comfortable with rapid mental calculations.  So, to lift it out of the tedium and to add a bit of zest, I told her that when she could do a certain set of computations more quickly than I could, she would be treated to ice cream.  The task took only three days!!  And, believe me, it was as much fun as playing any game you can name.

So, adding fun is not as difficult as you might think.  Food, movement, and games make learning a delightful experience, even with a subject like math!

Remember, stay relational.

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