Monday, May 16, 2011

Living Math

Because Brynne came home from kindergarten after school started, I didn't purchase any formal curriculum for her. I already knew she was advanced in many areas, so I really just used this year to let her teach me! I wanted to get a good feel for what she already knew, what she was interested in and what style of teaching worked best with her.

I already had an interest in the Charlotte Mason method, which worked especially great since I didn't have any formal curriculum to use. We stuck with the 3 R's and did science and social studies units based on her interest, doing lots and lots of reading! And with all of the reading we did she learned to, well, read!

In math we used a 1st grade book that the school gave us, but it was boring to her so we incorporated as much hands-on math as we could. We tried to work off of our social studies and science units and do math activities related to them. She liked that!

In public school she would be in 1st grade next year, maybe even kindergarten because she has an August birthday. But, she knew everything I tried to teach her this year, which was all 1st grade material, so we will naturally be moving on to 2nd grade work.

Next year we will be doing primarily Charlotte Mason type studies, with an emphasis on Living Books, copywork, art and nature. But there will also be a balance of notebooking, grammar work and math work pages using Math Mammoth.

These last couple of weeks of school we are just working on math facts worksheets. Last week she was excited to do them. This week, not so much. Today she said, "I don't like paper math."

I knew it. I knew it because she really loved the hands on math activities we did all year! That's why I had already planned to incorporate some "Living Math" into her curriculum next year. The last thing I want is a bored student!

I have heard of families who have done Living Math full out, and then regretted it at testing time. I am one who believes in a healthy dose of balance. I don't think you can have all your eggs in one basket. Maybe that's because I have had (and still have) public school kids. I know what is to come, and I want my kids to be prepared.

So I am in the process of checking books out from the library to get me started. I plan to use them the same way I did this year. I will use Math Mammoth as our daily math assignments. But, I will be sure to use Thursdays as a hands-on day reading books that have to do with the subject matter we are on, and doing activities that are fun. (For instance, we'll be doing our first science unit on the human body .... there are lots of bones in our bodies. Might be fun to count, sort, etc.!!)

Here are some books that come highly recommended. I will review them from the library first to see if they are something I would like to purchase for my library. If you have any other suggestions, please comment and let me know! 

Also, if you know of any blogs that showcase unique hands-on math activities, please let me know!! I am hoping to really work to get prepared this summer!!


  1. Do you ever read Blog, She Wrote? Heather has great living math ideas! We have the family math book and love it. I admire how you are REALLY letting your daughter be your guide. :-)

  2. We tried Math Mammoth this semester and it was a struggle. (Not saying its going to be that way for you). Its a great program, but too much "paper." I think we might try MEP...have you looked into that? What did you think?

  3. I'm getting ready to review some great math books she might like.

    I would do a mixture of hands on but some paper because if she ever went back into school she would have to do math problems out of the book.

  4. Life of Fred is another, out of the box math book.


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