photo by Sphinx The Geek via flickr

Homeschooling High School Math

photo by ddluong via flickr

photo by ddluong via flickr

Feature photo (above) by Sphinx The Geek via flickr.

Most homeschoolers feel at least a small tinge of panic as their students approach high school. “What have we gotten ourselves into?” we wonder. “Can we really do this?” Here are a few tips to make the transition easier.

Before you move forward, it may help to take a look back. How has homeschooling worked for you and your children so far?

If your students hate math, they probably never got a good taste of the “Aha!” factor, that Eureka! thrill of solving a challenging puzzle. The early teen years may be your last chance to convince them that math can be fun, so consider putting aside your textbooks for a few months to:

On the other hand, if you have delayed formal arithmetic, using your children’s elementary years to explore a wide variety of mathematical adventures, now is a good time to take stock of what these experiences have taught your students.

  • How much of what society considers “the basics” have your children picked up along the way?
  • Are there any gaps in their understanding of arithmetic, any concepts you want to add to their mental tool box?

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Free Math from Dover Publications

I love Dover books, don’t you? They publish so-o-o-o-o many interesting titles at reasonable prices. I always have several Dover books on my wishlist, waiting for my next free gift card from Swagbucks.

But you don’t have to wait to enjoy free math from Dover books. Sign up for the Dover Sampler, and each week they will send an email with links to content from all sorts of books. Or try the Dover Children’s Sampler and Dover Teacher’s Sampler for coloring books, mazes, literature, and more. All the Dover samplers are completely free, and you can cancel at any time.

From Last Week’s Sampler

Last week’s email included a section on “Exploring Mathematics”:

And that’s only the beginning. Below, I’ve listed a wide variety of math-related links collected from past samplers (though be warned: Dover does change its page links from time to time). Download, print, enjoy!

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Good News for a Change

As I was checking through archive posts and clearing out the dead links, I found a couple of links that I thought would be dead but which are still good. So I am re-posting them here, for your browsing pleasure:

Free Shakespeare for Fun and Copywork

CurrClick (which carries the Math Mammoth workbook series) is offering Quotations from Shakespeare’s Plays as a free download. This ebook includes copywork tips from Charlotte Mason and about 30 pages of passages from Macbeth, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, etc.

[And if you are planning a study of the Bard, you won't want to miss the many other Internet resources in my original post.]

Great Leaders in a Crisis: Lincoln, Churchill

What does it take to lead your nation through a crisis? Character, determination, wisdom, the courage of your convictions. What can we learn about leadership from those who have been there, done that?

Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill are two of these great leaders — men whose courage and conviction took their nations through challenging moments and forever altered the course of Western civilization…

The Teaching Company (one of my favorite resources for homeschooling high school) is offering two free lectures for the downloading: Great Leaders: Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.

[More details in my original post.]


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Salman Khan: Reinventing Education

This reminds me how many years it’s been since I updated my Math Resources page. Khan Academy is just one of many links I’ve been meaning to add. Someday, I’ll get caught up on the urgent stuff and have time for all my good intentions. . .

[Update: For those of you whose rss readers don't show TED videos (or is mine the only one?), you can see this at Let's use video to reinvent education.]


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Free Math at Lulu

Lyra & geometry

Image by Daveybot via Flickr

I try to keep my Math Mammoth review post updated with the latest sales, so when Maria posted about a new discount code at Lulu, I had to check it out. What a deal: $20 off a $20 or more order! Since I’ve already got my Math Mammoth books for the next few years, I’ve been looking at James Tanton’s books and much more.

What Would You Buy?

Here’s a possibility: Math Without Words + Math Writing Prompts = $2.49 after coupon.

Or: Math Without Words Calendar + Ten Cheap Lessons = $2.95 + shipping for the calendar.

Or my best find yet: Thinking Mathematics 1 = $FREE.

What would you do with this $20 coupon? Please share your ideas!


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Old Dogs, New Math

Thanks to the generosity of The Experiment, a nonfiction publisher in New York City, I have one copy of Old Dogs, New Math: Homework Help for Puzzled Parents to give away, which will be mailed directly to the winner AT A U.S. ADDRESS.

You can see the publisher’s description of the book and read an excerpt here.

They also sent me a review copy, which I hope to write a blog post about sometime soon — though with our schedule this semester, I can make no promises. But from a quick flip through the book, I’ll give it a definite thumbs-up!

How to Enter the Giveaway

Remember, the book must be mailed to a U.S. address. If you live in the U.S., you have two ways to enter the contest:

  1. Leave a comment on this post answering the question: What part of math do you find the hardest to understand or to explain to your children?
  2. Post about the contest on your own blog (or on a homeschooling or parenting forum, if you don’t have a blog), then come here and add a comment with the link to your post.

You may do both, to double your chances — but please make sure your link is in a separate comment from your answer to the question, or I may forget to count it separately.

I will accept entries for a week and a half, through Friday, October 8th Monday, October 11th. (Extended due to family issues that made the weekend too busy!) After that, I will count up all the entries (numbered in order of their appearance in the comment section) and go to RANDOM.ORG to generate the winning number. I will email the winner to get your address, which I’ll then pass on to the publisher so they can send you your book.

Update

And the winner is . . . Lakshmi. Congratulations!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. I enjoyed reading your comments, and you’ve given me several ideas for future blog posts.


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Pirate Treasure: Free Elementary Math

CurrClick is running a Talk Like a Pirate Sale through Wednesday, October 22, and they hid 20 virtual treasure chests around their website — each with a free e-book inside. I haven’t found them all, but here are a couple of preschool and early-elementary treats:

Who knows what else may be hiding in those CurrClick treasure chests? Have fun exploring!


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Free Math Today — Arithmetic 1

arithmetic-1

[Update: This workbook is no longer free, but it will remain on sale at a 25% discount until May 15th.]

Today (Wednesday, May 6) only, you can download a free copy of Make It Real Learning: Arithmetic I, a 46-page workbook for grades 3-6:

The Arithmetic I workbook focuses on real-world situations that may be effectively analyzed using arithmetic concepts such as addition, subtraction, estimation, division, bar graphs, etc. From figuring out how to determine the difference between the populations of two countries to analyzing the number of visitors to a website, learners get to use arithmetic in meaningful ways. Rest assured that each activity integrates real world information not just “realistic” data. These are real companies and countries (e.g. Webkinz, Australia, South Africa) and real world issues.

More information:

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Math Mammoth (and More) E-book Sale

mathmammoth-logo-s

Kitten and I have been working through the Math Mammoth books for 4th grade. One of these days, I will write a review — but for today, I’ll just say that I love the variety of problems, and I’m impressed by how much my daughter has learned this year.

If you’ve considered trying a workbook from the Math Mammoth series, now is an excellent time to do it. The books are on sale until May 15th, as part of CurrClick’s Spring Back from the Recession Sale. Check it out:

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Free Math Mammoth Clock Worktext

mathmammoth-clock

This week, CurrClick‘s free download is the 58-page Math Mammoth Clock workbook for 1st-3rd grades. What a deal! The Clock book covers telling time and using the calendar, with explanations, exercises, and links to helpful resources on the Internet.

Also for homeschoolers: Check out this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling, or browse all the most recent edu-carnivals using my Blog Parties for Teachers sidebar widget.


Don’t miss any of “Let’s Play Math!”:  Subscribe in a reader, or get updates by Email.


Great Leaders in a Crisis: Lincoln, Churchill

[Photo by Sid Webb.]

What does it take to lead your nation through a crisis? Character, determination, wisdom, the courage of your convictions — as we in America prepare to cast our votes for a new president, perhaps we should look backward as well as forward. Not only backward in our candidates lives, at the circumstances and experiences that have shaped their character, but farther back into history. What can we learn about leadership from those who have been there, done that?

Once again, The Teaching Company (one of my favorite resources for homeschooling high school) is offering two free lectures for the downloading:

Great Leaders: Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill

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Dinosaurs and the Global Economy


[Photo by Mykl Roventine.]

One of my favorite resources for homeschooling high school is The Teaching Company. TTC often lets out free sample lectures, and right now they are offering two that you may download and enjoy at your convenience:

The Search for What Killed the Dinosaurs

Will China and India Dominate the 21st-Century Global Economy?

But these offers expire soon, so act quickly! [Still good in 2011. Woohoo!]

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hat-tip

Hat Tip: Maria D.

[Photo by SouthbankSteve.]

One of my favorite places to lurk on the Internet is the Living Math Forum, and I especially enjoy reading the posts by MariaD. She led me (in a roundabout way) to the educational resources I posted yesterday. So, in keeping with my good intentions, I am adding one more listing to my blogroll page:

MariaD’s blog

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Free Learning Tools, Games, and More


[Photo by ♥Sage (resting... finally!).]

Browsing the Internet, I came across a slideshow called 101 Free Learning Tools, which explores “the idea that there is at least one excellent free learning tool (or site) for every learning problem, need or issue.”

Of course, many of these sites I already knew, at least by reputation. But there are plenty of interesting places that were new to me.

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Review: Kiss My Math

Pre-algebra students stand at the threshold of adventure. Behind them lie the rocky plains of school arithmetic. Ahead, the trail winds into a murky, tangled woods and disappears in the shadows. Who knows what monsters might live in a place like that?

Actress and math maven Danica McKellar has traveled through the pre-algebra jungle and beyond, up the slopes to higher math. She survived the journey, and now, on the heels of her bestselling book for math-phobic middle schoolers, she has written Kiss My Math to guide uncertain students along their way.

Unlike the case with most Hollywood movies, this sequel is an improvement.

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Review: Math Doesn’t Suck

We’ve all heard the saying, Don’t judge a book by its cover, but I did it anyway. Well, not by the cover, exactly — I also flipped through the table of contents and read the short introduction. And I said to myself, “I don’t talk like this. I don’t let my kids talk like this. Why should I want to read a book that talks like this? I’ll leave it to the public school kids, who are surely used to worse.”

Okay, I admit it: I’m a bit of a prude. And it caused me to miss out on a good book. But now Danica McKellar‘s second book is out, and the first one has been released in paperback. A friendly PR lady emailed to offer me a couple of review copies, so I gave Math Doesn’t Suck a second chance.

I’m so glad I did.

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Number Stories Is Back, Very Limited Time Only

If you missed Number Stories of Long Ago last time, it is available as a free downloadable pdf file at the Homeschool Freebie of the Day Labor Day Weekend/End of Summer Bash.

This offer should work for those who live outside the U.S. and were unable to read the Google Books file.

But act quickly!

The offer is only good “until Monday night” — and I don’t know which time zone they’re in.


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Caution children at play

Math Games by Kids

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

The cold came back and knocked me flat, but there are compensations. The downtime gave me a chance to browse my overflowing bookmarks folder, and I found something to add to my resource page. Princess Kitten and I enjoyed exploring these games and quizzes from Ambleweb.

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More Fun with Hexa-Trex

Hexa-trex turtle logo

My elementary Math Club students had fun practicing their math facts and “out of the box” thinking with Hexa-Trex puzzles. The object of Hexa-Trex is to find a path through all the number and operation tiles to make a true equation. The “Easy” puzzles are just the right level for my 4th-5th grade students, although they get stumped whenever the equations require Order of Operations. One girl enjoyed the puzzles enough to take our extra pages home for her dad.

Hexa-Trex puzzles were featured in the October issue of Games magazine, and now you can enjoy Hexa-Trex away from the computer with Bogusia Gierus‘s new book, The First Book of Hexa-Trex Puzzles. If you are thinking ahead to Christmas (can it be that time already?!), and if you have a puzzle lover in the family, this little book would make a fun stocking-stuffer.


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How to Solve Math Problems

Update

For the 2009 school year, I revised these handouts into a one-page reference that I could slip into the back of each student’s homemade white board. For details, see:

That’s a Tough One!

What can you do when you are stumped? Too many students sit and stare at the page, waiting for inspiration to strike — and when the solution doesn’t crack their heads open and step out, fully formed, they complain: “Math is too hard!”

So this year I have given my Math Club students a couple of mini-posters to put up on the wall above their desk, or wherever they do their math homework. The first gives four questions to ask yourself as you think through a math problem, and the second is a list of problem-solving strategies.

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Free American Classics Study Guide

Homeschool eStore banner

[Update: Homeschool eStore changed their name to CurrClick. Still plenty of good deals and weekly freebies --- check them out!]

If you have an older homeschool student, be sure to check out Homeschool eStore’s freebie for this week: the American Classics Study Guide.

This collection of references and assignments looks at To Kill a Mockingbird, Death of Salesman, The Crucible, The Glass Menagerie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and the poetry of Robert Frost. Students learn the essential themes, issues, characterization and writing style of the texts. There are activities and assignments to choose from, including essay questions, creative responses and projects to complete.

Homeschool eStore offers a free educational ebook each week, and many items are on sale for the month of September. And since this is a math blog, let me point out that Homeschool eStore sells Maria Miller‘s excellent Math Mammoth workbooks (also available as individual titles — in Spanish, too).


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Writing to Learn Math

2009 Challenge - Day 72: Pencil

Image by ☼zlady via Flickr

Have you considered experimenting with writing in your math class this year? It seems that math journals are a growing fad, and for good reason:

Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own.

William Zinsser
Writing to Learn

Math journal entries can be as simple as class notes, or they can be research projects that take hours of experimentation and pondering. Students may use the journal to store their thoughts as they work several days to solve a challenge problem of the week, or they might jot down quick reflections about what they learned in today’s math class.

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How To Start a Homeschool Math Club

From a recent e-mail:

Hello! I am on the board of a homeschool co-op. We have had requests for a math club and wondered if you have any tips for starting one. We service children from K-10th and would need to try to meet the needs of as many ages as possible.

There are several ways you might organize a homeschool math club, depending on the students you have and on your goals. I think you would have to split the students by age groups — it is very hard to keep that wide of a range of students interested. Then decide whether you want an activity-oriented club or a more academic focus.

When I started my first math club, I raided the math shelves in the children’s section at my library (510-519) for anything that interested me. I figured that if an activity didn’t interest me, I couldn’t make it fun for the kids. Over the years we have done a variety of games, puzzles, craft projects, and more — always looking for something that was NOT like whatever the kids would be doing in their textbooks at home.

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