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

            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

            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

            FAQ: Playful Math for Older Students

            My students are so busy that time-consuming math projects are a luxury. How is it possible for older kids to play with mathematics?

            Too often, the modern American school math curriculum is a relentless treadmill driving students toward calculus. (Does this happen in other countries, too?)

            But that’s definitely not the only way to learn. For most students, it’s not the best way, either.

            Here are a few ideas to get your older children playing with math…

            Continue reading FAQ: Playful Math for Older Students

            FAQ: I’ve Ruined My Daughter

            My daughter is only eleven, but I’m afraid I’ve ruined her chance of getting into college because she is so far behind in math. We’ve tried tutors, but she still has trouble, and standardized testing puts her three years below grade level. She was a late reader, too, so maybe school just isn’t her thing. What else can I do?

            Standardized tests are not placement tests. They cannot tell you at what level your daughter should be studying. They aren’t designed that way. The “placement” they give is vague and general, not indicative of her grade level but rather a way of comparing her performance on that particular test with the performance of other students.

            There can be many different reasons for a low score. I’ve listed a few of them in my post In Honor of the Standardized Testing Season.

            Continue reading FAQ: I’ve Ruined My Daughter