Fun with Math for the Right-Brained: Creative Approaches
If you’ve homeschooled for any amount of time, it’s almost certain that you’ve heard–or thought!–this: “I’m just not a math person; I don’t get it!” It can be tricky to teach a subject that you don’t particularly enjoy or that you struggle with yourself. But you can do it! Experiment with new ways of incorporating fun with math into your homeschool math curriculum. Check out this Homeschool Living for creative math lesson ideas and ways to teach mathematical concepts through visuals, hands-on activities, and even music and art!
Creative Math in Language Arts
Students of all ages, but younger children especially, can benefit from visuals and hands-on manipulatives. This idea of using LEGO® to demonstrate fractions can be carried over into mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Using toys or objects that are familiar to your students is a sure way to let them have some fun with math, but do be sure to create clear boundaries between the object’s use as an educational toy and play time.
You can make math a scavenger hunt and a challenge in creative problem-solving. This “Four 4s” activity challenges students to find all of the numbers between 1 and 20 using only four 4s and any operation. This could be an excellent opportunity to involve the whole family in your homeschool math curriculum. Put a chart up on the refrigerator or in a common room and announce a small prize to the person who comes up with the most solutions, and they won’t even think of it as a math lesson!
A fun way to incorporate creative math lessons into language arts is to play with the poem “Smart” by Shel Silverstein. Each stanza describes a trade made by the speaker for “more” money (“My dad gave me one dollar bill/ ‘Cause I’m his smartest son/ And I swapped it for two shiny quarters/ ‘Cause two is more than one!”) Younger students can use real or pretend money to figure out if the person made a good deal or not. Older students can calculate how much the child in the poem lost with each exchange, figure out the percentage lost with each exchange, etc. Even the younger students can appreciate the humor in the poem, and this can help create a very enjoyable lesson on calculating money and more.
Creative Math Through Music, Mist, and Multiples
An excellent way to help students remember concepts that may be difficult for them to grasp is to set them to music. Have some musical fun with math using Mr. R’s World of Math, which offers a plethora of creative math songs ranging from elementary topics such as addition and subtraction all the way to geometry, fractions, and integers.
Add these active math games–perfect for a rainy day!–to your preschool and elementary homeschool math curriculum.
Some of the things that make fun with math difficult are the pressures we feel to “keep up” with grade levels and the struggle of juggling students at multiple learning levels. Check out this homeschool mom’s blog post dispelling some of these math myths and revealing her fresh perspective on her homeschool math curriculum.