Even a Math Workbook Can Be a Game

Homeschooling Memories…

My youngest daughter wanted to do Singapore math. Miquon Red was her main math text at the time, but we added a bit of Singapore Primary Math 1B whenever she was in the mood.

We turned to the lesson on subtracting with numbers in the 30-somethings.

The first problem was pretty easy for her:

30 − 7 = _____

I reminded her that she already knew 10 − 7.

She agreed, “Ten take away seven is three.”

Then her eyes lit up. “So it’s 23! Because there are two tens left.”

Wow, I thought. She’s catching on quickly.

Mom Always Talks Too Much

We went to the next problem:

34 − 8 = _____

“Now, this one is harder,” I said. “But you know what ten minus eight is, right? So we could take one of these tens and—”

She waved at me to be quiet.

I was just getting started on my standard speech about how to turn a tough subtraction like 34 − 8 into the easy addition of “2 + 4 + two tens left.” But her mind was still on the last problem, specifically on the two tens and the seven.

“If you have 27,” she said, “and you add three more, you get 30. And four more is 34.”

“Um, yes, but…” I interrupted.

She shushed me again.

“And then you can take away the four. And then you can take away the three. And then you can take away one more…It’s 26!”

Mom Learns a Lesson

She continued through the next page that way. For every problem, she started with whatever number struck her fancy, usually containing at least one digit from the problem before. She added enough to get up to the 30-something number in the book.

Only then would she deign to subtract the number in question.

I don’t think she ever saw the point of the mental math technique the book and I were trying to teach, but she did have a lot of fun playing around with the numbers.

In the long run, that’s much more important.


Feature photo: “Laughing Girl” by ND Strupler via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Rabbit Trails and Fibonacci Poetry

Homeschooling Memories…

Well, I hadn’t planned on spending my day that way. But one of the great things about homeschooling is the freedom to follow rabbit trails.

While browsing the Carnival of Homeschooling, I found a link to Farm School blog’s article Fib Foolery, which sent me to Gotta Book for his articles The Fib and More Fibbery (read the comments on both threads, but be warned that some are crude) and several other posts, all of which set me off on a morning of poetic fun.

A “Fib” is a Fibonacci poem. It’s based on syllable count, like a haiku, but the lines follow the Fibonacci counting series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8… Each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.

I knew what I was going to share at our Tuesday Teatime and Poetry Reading that afternoon.

Here’s the best one I’ve come up with so far:

Math:
Word
Problem,
Mental play.
Archimedes shouts,
“Eureka! I figured it out.”

The Kids Join the Fun

While we always enjoyed our tea and poetry times, that day was the only one that inspired the kids to actually write poetry themselves.

My 7yo dd was so proud to be able to count syllables and write:

Cat.
Soft.
Pretty,
But sleeping.

While my 12yo ds really took off, creating more than a dozen Fibs. His first two are still his favorites:

Ducks
Have
No luck,
But they do
Have many feathers.
Hunters like to shoot ducks a lot.

and

Paul
Is
Revered
A lot by
Paul Revere’s Fan Club.
What is Paul’s last name, anyway?

Wouldn’t you like to try it, too? Please share your Fib in the comments below!


Feature photo: “Rabbit” by Save the Bay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Infinite Cake: Don Cohen’s Infinite Series for Kids

Math Concepts: division as equal sharing, naming fractions, adding fractions, infinitesimals, iteration, limits
Prerequisite: able to identify fractions as part of a whole

This is how I tell the story:

  • We have a cake to share, just the two of us. It’s not TOO big a cake, ‘cuz we don’t want to get sick. An 8 × 8 or 16 × 16 square on the graph paper should be just right. Can you cut the cake so we each get a fair share? Color in your part.

Bobby Flay German Chocolate Cake

  • How big is your piece compared to the whole, original cake?
  • But you know, I’m on a diet, and I just don’t think I can eat my whole piece. Half the cake is too much for me. Is it okay if I share my piece with you? How can we divide it evenly, so we each get a fair share? How big is your new piece? Color it in.
  • How much of the whole, original cake do you have now? How can you tell?
  • I keep thinking of my diet, and I really don’t want all my piece of cake. It looks good, but it’s still just a bit too big for me. Will you take half of it? How big is that piece?
  • Now how much of the whole, original cake do you have? How could we figure it out?
    [Teaching tip: Don’t make kids do the calculation on paper. In the early stages, they can visualize and count up the fourths or maybe the eighths. As the pieces get smaller, the easiest way to find the sum is what Cohen does in the video below‌—‌identify how much of the cake is left out.]
  • Even for being on a diet, I still don’t feel very hungry…

Continue reading Infinite Cake: Don Cohen’s Infinite Series for Kids

A Review for my Daughter’s Novel

“… a captivating fantasy story with a well-thought-out plot … people who like medieval-style fantasies with wraiths, spirits, and even an attacking swamp tree will enjoy the story. I certainly did, and the excitement, adventure, and suspense will easily keep the reader’s attention …”

— Wayne S. Walker
Home School Book Review

Thank you, Mr. Walker!

As a fantasy fan myself, I agree that Teresa did a great job on this book. She improved in every way from Book #1 — more world building, more complex plotting, and a deeper emotional identification with the characters. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Check it out for yourself:

Hunted600

Find out how the adventure began:

BanishedKindleCover


Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2Claim your two free learning guide booklets, and be one of the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


New Fantasy Novel by Homeschooled Teen Author

Hunted600After months of editing, formatting, proofreading, sweat, and tears:

Teresa Gaskins’s new ebook Hunted: The Riddled Stone ~ Book Two is available now at Amazon worldwide.

You can download the first five chapters here:

To celebrate the release of Hunted, the ebook version of Banished‌—‌the first book in the Riddled Stone series‌—‌will be on sale for 99 cents for the next few weeks.


Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2Claim your two free learning guide booklets, and be one of the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Join My Mailing List for Math Tips and Book Updates

Tabletop Academy Press
Tabletop Academy Press:
Learning is a lifelong adventure.

Are you looking for playful ways to help your children learn math? Now you can get math tips and activity ideas by email, as well as find out when I put out a new book or revise an old one.

Check out my shiny new emailing list:

I hope to send out a “Math Snack” (no-preparation math activity idea) at least once a month. In the meantime, your sign-up bonuses include a 4-page article on solving word problems and a pre-publication peek at my new Math You Can Play book series of games for preschool to prealgebra.

Tabletop Academy Press has been my publishing name since way back when my books were printed at the local copy shop and stapled together by hand for sharing with local homeschoolers. Seems like ancient days!

Free This Weekend

BanishedKindleCover

Our Christmas gift to you: my daughter’s fantasy adventure Banished will be FREE for Kindle on Amazon.com this weekend only, December 11-15.

I don’t know whether the other Amazons (UK, CA, AU, IN, etc.) will also run the sale, but I hope so.

As I type, the paperback edition is also on sale at a 10% discount, though we have no control over how long Amazon will be offering that price. Banished is part of the Kindle Matchbook program, so if you buy a copy of the paperback, you can get the ebook for free — even after our weekend sale runs out.

Read an excerpt: the first four chapters of Banished

Don’t have a Kindle? You can get a Kindle app that will let you read Teresa’s book on almost any device.

Watch for Upcoming Books

The second book in The Riddled Stone series is scheduled for publication in Spring 2015, and so are the first two volumes of my Math You Can Play series. If you want a head’s-up when these books arrive, be sure to join my Tabletop Academy Press Updates email list:

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Back to School Sale

Princess Kitten, way back in the beginning.
Princess Kitten, way back in the beginning.

Our homeschool runs a bit off-schedule from the rest of the U.S. school system, as we are still finishing up last year’s work. Even so, we’re calling this month the “beginning” of Kitten’s high school years, which seems to me like something to celebrate.

Therefore, I’m launching a one-week sale on my math book:

Please feel free to share the coupon code with your friends.

Update: I’ve just opened up a Ganxy showcase with the sale price, for anyone who would prefer to buy the ebook (in pdf, mobi, and epub) directly from me:

Continue reading Back to School Sale