Making Math Fun For Your Homeschooled Child

It is interesting that, despite math being such a fundamental part of life and society, many people did not, and do not, enjoy math class. Even more interesting is that, when math is applied to something that is of interest to the person, much of their resistance to math fades.  I therefore believe that much of the negativity expressed by students of math is due to the way it is taught.

I admit that I hated math with a passion when I was at school.  Now, however, I am happy enough to sit down and use math to work out whether a property will be a good investment for me, or how many ebooks I will need to sell to make a profit after advertising and hosting costs, etc.  Math is more interesting to me now because it is also more relevant, and therefore perceived as useful, to me now.

Believe it or not, math can be fun.  Of course you don’t have to believe this but it sure helps if your want to sell the concept to your child.  Anyone who believes that math isn’t important in the real world, and that you will never use it, are fooling themselves.  Math is used in every day life as well as numerous occupations. Medical professional calculate drug doses, trades persons rely on measurements such as length and volume, Air Traffic Controllers have to be familiar with physics… the list goes on and on.  In daily life, we get paid per hour, work out penalty rates, check interest calculations, make investments, buy things, build things, bake cakes with measured ingredients, take medications, share, travel with different currencies, etc, etc.  An understanding of basic math, at the very least, is required to maintain any independence in today’s society.

When you are assisting your children with math, the most important thing to remember is that they need to have a solid grasp of the basics before proceeding on to the more difficult concepts.  Math concepts are built upon like building blocks.  You need to understand one layer before moving on to the next or you will become completely unstuck.

If you follow a set curriculum in your homeschool math study, don’t assume that the curriculum that worked well for your first child will be just as effective with your second.  They may have totally different learning styles.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that one child is more or less intelligent than the other.  It simply means that one child may learn skills one way, and the other child may learn these same skills a totally different way.  One way to distinguish between learning styles is to determine if your child uses auditory, kinesthetic/tactile or visual learning tools most effectively.  Further discussion on learning styles, however, is outside the scope of this article.

Whatever your child’s learning style, the best way to bring math to life for your child is to make it relevant.   And, the best way to make it relevant is to use real world examples of mathematics at work, preferably in topics that are of great interest to your child.

Using concepts such as food, chores and sports that your child plays, will make math more fun, and therefore more understandable.  For example, at snack time, if you give your child a cookie and they ask for another, ask them how many cookies that makes in total.  This is using simple addition.

Be creative and have fun.  After all, we are trying to teach our kids that learning new things is an adventure.  The more fun your math lesson is, and the more their interest is piqued, the higher chance your child has of actually learning the lesson and retaining it!


Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home. For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit YourHomeschoolCommunity.com

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