Parents: Math Is Figure-Out-Able

I love listening to podcasts during my morning walk with the dogs. One of my favorites over the past year has been Pam Harris and Kim Montague’s Math is Figure-Out-Able podcast.

Figure-out-able. What a great word!

Figure-out-able sums up what I mean when I tell parents that math is “applied common sense.” Kids can use the things they know to figure out things they don’t yet know.

And figuring things out like that is fun, like a mental game where we play with the ideas of numbers, shapes, and patterns.

Usually, the podcast targets teachers, and the hosts try to show how they can help students learn to mathematize — to think mathematically. Over the past few weeks, however, Pam and Kim have been talking directly to parents about how to help their children learn math.

Continue reading Parents: Math Is Figure-Out-Able

Podcast: Real Math and Family Fun

Christy Thomas interviewed me for her Keep Calm and Mother On podcast. We had a wonderful chat. I think you’ll enjoy it:

Real Math and Family Fun with Denise Gaskins

“School math sometimes is more stress-inducing. Real math is more freeing and more joyful, and just more interesting.

    “Real mathematics is basically applied common sense.

      “Real mathematics is noticing patterns, seeing connections, figuring things out.

        “These are all things that you can do. You do them in other areas of your life. Real mathematics draws on those same abilities and focuses those abilities on numbers, shapes, and patterns.

          “Real mathematics is about solving puzzles. It’s about creative reasoning. These are the things you want your child to understand.”

          —Denise Gaskins, Real Math and Family Fun

          Go Listen to the Interview

          CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash.com.

          Podcast: Math as a Nature Walk

          Pam Barnhill interviewed me for the Your Morning Basket podcast. We had a great talk. I think you’ll enjoy it:

          YMB #94 Math in Morning Time: A Conversation with Denise Gaskins

          “Let me give you this new vision. I want you to think of math as a nature walk.

            “There’s this whole world of interesting things. More things, more concepts, more ideas than you and your children would ever have time to explore. And everywhere you look, there’s something cool to discover.

              “If you explore this world with your children, you’re not behind. Wherever you are, you’re not behind because there is no behind. There’s only, “We’re going this direction.” Or, “Let’s move that way.” Or, “Hey, look what I found over here!”

                “And as long as your children are thinking and wondering, and making sense of the math they find, they’re going to learn. They’re going to grow.

                  “So what you want to do is, you want to embrace this adventure of loving God with all your mind and approach math with an attitude of playful exploration.

                    “And you know, you’ll be surprised how much fun thinking hard can be.”

                    —Denise Gaskins, Math in Morning Time

                    Go Listen to the Interview

                    CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Jessica Rockowitz via Unsplash.com.

                    Homeschooling? Check Out These Math Goodies

                    How to Homeschool Math: A long page full of my best tips on homeschooling math in a low-stress, creative, playful way. No matter which curriculum you use—unschoolers, too!

                    Get my email series “8 Weeks of Playful Math” plus regular activity ideas and other updates when you join my Math Reader’s Group newsletter.

                    My Let’s Play Math Sampler ebook contains short excerpts from my most popular books. Find out how to get it for free, no strings attached!

                    Notice, Wonder, Create

                    Many homeschooling parents dream of a mathematical magic bullet — a game, app, or book that will help their children learn math and enjoy it.

                    As in life, so also in math, there is no magic solution.

                    Do you want your children to learn math and enjoy it? Teach them to be Math Makers.

                    When they create their own math, students build deep, personal connections to math concepts. They think about the relationships between numbers, shapes, and patterns. Math becomes personal.

                    Toys, hobbies, favorite stories — all can be fodder for math creation.

                    Where Do Math Makers Get Ideas?

                    Let the child choose something to think about.

                    Make an “I Notice” list. How does that item relate to math? What patterns or shapes can you see?

                    Or how would the story characters use numbers in their daily lives? Would they cook, or go shopping? Might they build something? Would they decorate it with a design? What would they count or measure?

                    Make an “I Wonder” list. How many different ways might you turn the things you noticed into questions? What else might you ask?

                    Then turn one of your noticings or wonderings into a math story, poem, puzzle, drawing, or game. Create your own math. Share your creation with family and friends.

                    Now Get Published

                    Join the Student Math Makers team. We’d love to add your math creation to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

                    Download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

                    CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by MI PHAM via Unsplash.com.

                    New! Your Student Can Be a Math Maker

                    When children create their own math, they build a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships.

                    And it’s fun!

                    So take a break from your normal math program to play with creative math. Students can:

                    Check Out the Gallery

                    We have a few entries already in the Student Math Makers Gallery.

                    Click Here To Visit the Gallery

                    Join the Student Math Makers

                    We’d love to add your students’ math to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

                    To submit a math creation, download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

                    CREDITS: “Creating Math Puzzles by Sian Zelbo, the author of Camp Logic, via NaturalMath.com.

                    Prealgebra & Geometry Games Now Available

                    Publication Day!

                    Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School hits the online bookstores today.

                    Check Your Favorite Store

                    You can prepare your children for high school math by playing with positive and negative integers, number properties, mixed operations, algebraic functions, coordinate geometry, and more. Prealgebra & Geometry features 41 kid-tested games, offering a variety of challenges for students in 4–9th grades and beyond.

                    A true understanding of mathematics requires more than the ability to memorize procedures. This book helps your children learn to think mathematically, giving them a strong foundation for future learning.

                    And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten all the math you learned in school. I’ve included plenty of definitions and explanations throughout the book. It’s like having a painless math refresher course as you play.

                    Continue reading Prealgebra & Geometry Games Now Available

                    A New Resource for Playful Math

                    Are you looking for new ways to explore math with your kids?

                    Would you like an easy, no-prep resource for creative problem-solving, number play, math art, word problems, mini-essays, brainteasers, patterns, research projects, and much more?

                    Check out the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter project, which just might transform your child’s experience of math.

                    What Is a Math Rebel?

                    Math rebels believe in Truth. We refuse to accept something just because the teacher or textbook says it. We want to see the connections between math concepts and to understand why things work.

                    Math rebels care about Justice. We resist society’s push for speed and conformity. We reject the cultural narrative that math has only One Right Answer.

                    Math rebels celebrate Creative Reasoning. We delight in finding new ways to look at math topics. We want to think deeply about ideas, and we are confident in our ability to figure things out.

                    Launch your family’s math rebellion today with my free printable PDF booklet, “How To Be a Math Rebel,” available only on the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter page.

                    Here’s the link again:

                    Make 100 Math Rebels on Kickstarter

                    If you like what you see, I’d love to have your support. The more people we can get backing the project in the early days, the more likely Kickstarter will promote it to new readers.

                    Printable Activity Guides

                    Since my publishing house opened its online store last month, I’ve been busy stocking the shelves with printable math activities for all ages.

                    It’s a fun collection of low- or no-prep ideas for playing math with your kids.

                    And it’s still growing. I’m pouring through old notes of my favorite projects from years of playing math with the kids in our math clubs and homeschool co-op enrichment classes, looking for ideas.

                    Which One Will You Try?

                    We’ve made the first two Geometric Coloring Designs books permanently free.

                    [The Let’s Play Math Sampler is also permafree, though it’s an ebook, so it’s on a different virtual shelf. You can find it under the “Free Books” section.]

                    For the rest, we’ve kept our prices as low as possible to fit struggling family budgets — less than a cup of coffee at my favorite cafe, back when we could still go out for a sweet, creamy cuppa.

                    Just go to our online store and click the “Printable Activity Guides” button to check out all the mathy fun.

                    Click Any Title for Details

                    Here are all the books we’ve posted so far.

                    Free Books:

                    Math Art:

                    Games and Puzzles:

                    Math Facts and Number Play:

                    Problem-Solving Skills:

                    Someday, I hope to combine these books into a creative math “uncurriculum” for homeschoolers. Stay tuned to this blog for more news about that. Eventually…

                    Exciting New Homeschool Math Program

                    Homeschooling friends, check out this new homeschool math program that’s fun, rigorous, and engaging — a delightful, hands-on course that helps parents (and their children) understand math.

                    Introduction to Cuisenaire Rod Structures Course

                    I had the privilege of previewing this class as Sonya and Lacy put it together. I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with math, or who wants to take a non-traditional approach.

                    By focusing on making sense of number relationships, and by teaching algebra before arithmetic, this course provides a stress-free path to rich mathematical mastery.

                    And for all they provide, including weekly live workshops and a slew of printable math journal pages that prompt deep thinking, the price is a steal!

                    Continue reading Exciting New Homeschool Math Program