Becky McIntosh can see the beauty and joy in math. She says it comes from practice — that she makes a special point to look for the beauty of mathematics everyone.
Lucky for us, she is on a mission to help other homeschool moms find the same joy in math as well. She is here today on the podcast with an inspiring look at how we can use literature to connect our kids to cool, interesting mathematical concepts. This one is a lot of fun.
Links and resources from today’s show:
- SPONSOR: Classical Academic Press (Use coupon code: pam20)
- Becky’s Site, Home Made Math
- Becky’s Instagram, @homemademath
- Mathematical Explorations of Little House in the Big Woods
- Mathematics of The Jungle Book
- Swallows and Amazons and Fractions
- The Lion, the Witch and the Mathematician
- YMB #44 Catechism and Memory: A Conversation with Geoffrey Reiter
- Equal Shmequal
- Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Julia Donaldson Collection
- The Gruffalo and Friends Bedtime Bookcase
- Looking at Numbers
- Charlotte’s Web
- Little House in the Big
- The Jungle Book
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
- Seven Little Australians
- The Hobbit
Equal ShmequalBlockhead: The Life of FibonacciThe Tale of Peter RabbitJulia Donaldson CollectionThe Gruffalo and Friends Bedtime BookcaseLooking at NumbersRapunzel (Picture Puffin Books)Charlotte’s WebLittle House in the Big WoodsThe Jungle BookThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)Seven Little AustraliansThe HobbitMathematical Explorations of Little House in the Big Woods (beginner)Mathematics of The Jungle Book (early intermediate)Swallows and Amazons and FractionsThe Lion, the Witch and the Mathematician
Pam: This is your morning basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your home. Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 52 of the, your morning basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, some of my favorite episodes of the podcast are those where I start off thinking, Oh, this is going to be an interesting conversation. And I ended the podcast being really, really inspired as a homeschool mom. And that was exactly what happened on this episode of the podcast. Today I’m interviewing Becky Macintosh, the owner of homemade firstname.lastname@example.org. And I really enjoyed the conversation I had with her all about mathematics and how you can explore it through literature.
Her passion for mathematics really shines through. And I think you're going to really enjoy this conversation and we'll get on with that podcast right after this word from our sponsors. Yeah. Episode of the, your morning basket podcast is brought to you by classical academic press publisher of the award-winning writing and rhetoric series, which trains your students in grades three to nine to write and speak effectively.
Assuming that students learn best by reading excellent whole story, examples of literature, and by growing their skills through imitation the writing and rhetoric method employs fluent reading, careful listening models for imitation and progressive steps exercises in the writing and rhetoric series are cumulative. Meaning that later exercises incorporate and build upon the skills acquired in the proceeding ones. It does not skip from form to form leaving the others behind,
but rather establishes a solid foundation of mastery by blending the forms. This series truly is a step-by-step apprenticeship in the art of writing and rhetoric. Many of history's greatest writers became great through the use of this effective and uncomplicated method. And your student can to moreover the writing and rhetoric series has been touted by busy homeschool moms, including me as an easy to use or open and go without sacrificing rich content.
And skill-building moms also say their children have moved from dreading their writing assignments to eagerly anticipating them each week while making great progress. The first few chapters of each current writing and rhetoric levels are available for email@example.com. You can try before you buy. In addition as a, your morning basket podcast listener, you can save 20% off all writing and rhetoric firstname.lastname@example.org through December, 2018,
by using the coupon code Pam 20 and Now on with the podcast as a high school math teacher, Becky McIntosh saw the beauty in math and loved coming up with engaging and creative classroom activities for teaching mathematical concepts. She has since taken that love and channeled it into the creation of homemade math and approach to math enrichment themed around great children's literature. And based on the idea that parents and children can ask questions,
explore and learn side by side. And now she is home homeschooling her own three children. Becky joins us today to chat about how math and literature can go hand in hand during morning time. Becky, welcome to the program. Thanks so much, Pam. Well, I love talking to people who are excited about math, and I know that there are going to be people who hear me say that and who,
who are going to be like liar, liar, pants on fire, because I'm often in my talks, math is kind of the scapegoat for the thing that we don't like to do in our homeschool. But what I love talking about with other people like you, it's, you have a love for math and I don't have that. And so it just really inspires me.
So thank you so much for coming on to talk to us. Oh, you're welcome. I'm so excited to talk about it as well. And I think that a lot of people are in your boat and that's one of the things that sort of got me started off in this journey. Well, that's awesome. And I think there needs to be people like you who can inspire the rest of us and make us feel,
make us feel like it's not quite so scary as what we, we might think. Yeah. That's the hope. That's the hope. Well, tell us, what do you love about that? About math? Because you say on your blog that you haven't always loved it. So what ha what happened to change that? Yeah, so I, I do love maths.
I think I love the reward of kind of working out a problem and getting to the answer and having that on. So I find that really, really satisfying, but I think I also love that. It's a way of understanding the world. That's quite dependable and straightforward feels really solid to me. There's something really it's consistency, but it can also be really beautiful and philosophical too.
Like in some ways it's just an arbitrary way of understanding the world because zero wasn't a concept in Europe until the 12th century BC. So it's something that's still, we can push and pull mathematics in a creative sense as well. So I think what changed it for me growing up, I, I always liked the logic of maths, but I got lost in all the sums and the homework and the repetitive sort of nature of just sitting down and doing maths out of a textbook.
But I had a few teachers who gave me confidence and taught me well, so that then I found success, some success in it, which was encouraging, but it wasn't really until I got to university and, and I had a maths lecturer who was just very passionate about math. And so that really inspired me. I actually even chose to do the,
the major in mathematics because of his energy and his excitement. I thought, wow, I really want to learn from this person. Who's so excited about this topic. And then that's also why I think it's so important for homeschool parents to sort of empower them. So for me, that it came from somebody else also having that excitement so they can see how in our homeschools,
you know, if we don't have an excitement for that area, then we're less likely to pass it on to our children because it's not something we understand or get excited about ourselves. Yes. And you know, that's, it's funny. You should say that because, okay. So first of all, I do not speak to my children about math. Like I speak to everybody.
I mean, I just, don't now they, we, we finally reached a point where it's, it's a little difficult for me to hide my kind of math ineptitude from my kids. And it's, it's not that I couldn't figure it out. It's just, I don't necessarily want to take the time to figure it out. So we actually have hired a math tutor and this is somebody who is excited about math and my children are learning from that other person.
So that was kind of something that was important to me to make that investment, you know, like I might hire a music teacher or something like that, you know, to hire a math tutor. And that was really important to me, so they could get that experience. But yeah, I, I try, I try not to let my kids see,
like I said, I'm out speaking about math and it kind of ends up being the scapegoat, but I don't do that in front of my kids. So, and it's, I love that you were inspired by a teacher. I think so often. And, and this is something that I've kind of wrestled with myself as a homeschool mom, you know,
when do I seek outside classes and when do I seek outside help? And it's just when you can connect kids with people who have a passion for something. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. That, that passion is yeah. It's exciting. And it does get passed on. Yeah. Well tell me a few examples of beauty that you see in math inspire me because I need to be inspired by this.
Well, I think we often under estimate their mathematics and creative arts. It possibly, we have this idea that creative arts should purely be for expression and that we think maths leaves sort of little room for it, cause it's a bit more rigid, but the more I explore this idea because I actually in my hobby time, which you don't have that much of anymore make quilts,
which is quite a mathematical expression of creativity in that way. And then also I like to dance and so exploring more and more this idea of maths in dance. And the more I look into it, the more I realize that kind of having those limitations in a way actually pushes you further in your creativity. You know, you've got to get around those,
you've got to figure out how to incorporate it. So you're not just churning out the same thing. You're being challenged and pushed further. And so things like Islamic artworks and, you know, they're not allowed to have sort of certain imagery. And so they do a lot of geometric art and it's really beautiful. It's really, really beautiful. Or in music,
you know, the pentatonic scale or if we use fractions of notes, it can change the feel of, of the music. So if we cutting up a note into fractions, it has a really different feel if we cut it into quarters compared to if we cut it into thirds, you know, triplets versus semiquavers, it, it makes a difference. So I think that's a way that maths can be expressive and beautiful.
Oh, so it's so interesting that you say that because, you know, I, I do have a little bit of musical education in my background and, and as you're talking about that, I'm thinking, Oh yeah, you know, the syncopated rhythms that are created by cutting that whole note up into not, you know, quarters and then into fractions of quarters,
into eights and 16th, and then the triplets. And I can see that I never thought about it as a mathematical expression, but I can hear how it sounds in my head, even as you're just talking about it. So it's really cool to make that connection. Yeah. I think a lot of people actually do this math sort of on the fly.
They pin themselves, not as being maths people, but they do a lot of math on the fly, which they're not realizing, Oh, that's actually maths that I'm just so used to doing. Yeah. Was really cool. And then I love how you were talking about the, you know, you ha you have a set frame or a set pattern,
but how that pushes your creativity. And, you know, I can relate this to writing poetry, like in a sonnet form, which honestly is somewhat mathematical in itself because you know, you have a certain number of syllables and they have to be stressed and unstressed on a pattern. So yeah, you're helping me see math all over the place today. That's awesome.
Well, let's talk about some of the most fun and engaging mathematical concepts you can explore with kids. Hmm. It's funny because I think we initially are like, Oh, math is, we've got to sit down and do it at a textbook. And when I started thinking about this question, I was like, okay, stop. You're listing too many things.
So I really love doing measurement with kids. You know, there's so much scope for gross motor activities. Doesn't have to be on a small scale, like measure this line. It can be so big and exciting or geometry again, because he can get out and you can explore natural or man-made geometry, or you can be really artistic with geometry as well.
Like I mentioned before, I really like ratio because it allows you to compare or play with things that might be really, really big or really, really small, but then take them to our level. And then Can you give me a specific example of a couple of these things? So for example, you said not just measuring a line, but measuring something really,
really big. So for the non-mathematical mom, like me, what could that look like in my home with say my eight year old? Sure. Okay. So if you haven't, if you had a large area or walk, let's take a walk. If you had a walk that you took, often you could make a trundle MIP trundle wheel, which is like one of those things that as you walk along,
it it'll like click as you go a certain distance. So in Australia it's, if you go a meter, it does a click and you can actually make one of those quite easily at home. And then you take that and you can measure how far you're walking, because you're rolling it along. You just have to count the clicks. And they'll tell you,
you know, this big measurement of how far you're walking. And so you could compare different lengths of walks that you're taking or how fast it took you to walk different things, which is probably getting into rates and ratios as well. And so with geometry, I really love taking kids on a shape walk like this is young kids, but also you can do it with older kids as well,
because you could do more of the 3d sort of shapes or more complicated identifications. So you go on a shape walk and you might have a list of shapes that you're looking for and you tick them off, or you see how many you can find of that shape. So with my young kids would be like, let's, let's go on a circle hunt.
And you know, we're seeing we're going on a circle hunt and off we go and I give them chalk. So they'll draw around it. Every time we find a circle like on a sign or, you know, a little hole on the pavement, that's a circle or whatever is that I can keep going. But, Well, talk to me about ratios because that's something like you say that in my mind goes,
Ooh, so how would, what would ratios look like? So you probably do a lot of ratios when you're cooking a lot of the time, even when we make Play-Doh, you know, it's like two cups of flour to one of salt or whatever. That's a ratio that we're talking about all the time or say, one of the things that, you know,
sort of can capture an imagination in a book is if we have a character or something that's quite big. So in Charlotte's web, the guy has a dream about this huge pig. You know, this is just ginormous pig. So we can take that those size comparisons. I think it says, it says how many feet he dreams it is high. So you can take that and be like,
well, what, how, how much bigger is that? They're an actual pigs they're, let's measure an actual pig, find out the size of an actual pig and then compare that as a ratio. So how big would we be if we will put up to that size, that sort of thing, making comparisons in that sense? Okay. So if you find out,
say the big pig in the dream is 10 times larger than a normal pig, then how big would we be if we were 10 times larger than what we actually are? Yes. You get just have a bit of fun. Okay. Well, and how much would this be if it was 10 times larger than that, and that way, then you're practicing that ratio and practicing that,
just, you know, having fun with it really? That does sound fun. Okay. You're winning me over. Well, speaking of literature and you did, you brought up Charlotte's web. Why did you choose to use literature as a jumping off point when you created your homemade math units? Yeah. I really, I could see exactly what you were talking about earlier in that homeschool is when they spoke about homeschool,
they really loved it. They found it beautiful. They love sitting around with their children and reading to them, but then they didn't love math. Maths was this thing that was put off to the side in a textbook, you know, can find, and we have to, we have to do maths for the day we have to get through it. So I really wanted to connect with people who didn't see the beauty in the math and give them a starting point.
So generally people see themselves as literacy based or math space or literacy, confident and maths confident. So I wanted to start with people, both the parents and the kids are comfortable. So most people are comfortable in their literacy literature state. And just add in a bit of creative maths to just add to the experience of the story that they're already having. Because if maths is a way of interpreting the world,
then it also helps us interpret the story in a unique way. And I also wanted to start with something that a lot of homeschoolers are already doing, you know, that read aloud time or that focus on literature, just add a bit to it. So that's not a whole extra part of your week that you have to fit in. It just kind of flows naturally out of what people already doing.
Something that people Feel comfortable with too, I think. Hm. Yeah. Yeah. Most people will feel comfortable with sitting down and reading to their child. And then, and then asking a question, that's something that we're quite naturally doing. So we're just changing the question from sort of being a comprehension question to being a mathematical question. Yes. Yes.
I love it. Okay. So tell us a little bit about an example or two from one of your homemade math units and what could it look like in a morning time? Yeah. Well, generally speaking, each unit has about five activities that sort of spin out of the book. So I'll just give you the example of the lion, the witch and the mathematician,
which goes alongside the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. So if you're having this read aloud time with your children in the morning time, and you'd be reading the story and then we'd come to the scene where Lucy meets Mr. Thomas, and we're going to pause in the reading and we're just going to recreate the scene using ratio. So we're going to draw it,
but we're going to measure ourselves and we're going to say, Oh, how big do we think Lucy was? You know, she's eight years old or whatever. So she's about this site. It's the ratio that was talking about again. Okay, well, how can we make a drawing of her? That's going to be to scale. And then how big was Mr.
Thomas and how big is the lamppost? And let's create little, you know, little drawings that we can then manipulate and sort of play the story out with, but that are to scale. So that we've got our maths in there too. And I step, you know, step by step, how you can do that with your children or your child.
And so I do also try and include wherever possible sort of ways you can take it down to a younger child or take it up to a more experienced child so that you can actually do a lot of the activities together. And I've had that feedback from parents, you know, it's great. I actually, you know, my younger child could actually do some of the things with us.
So that's been a big thing for me. And then, okay, so you've done that activity. And then however, your week sort of looks, whether you're doing that every day, you might not do maths for a couple of days. You just do your normal read aloud or do your other activities that you might do with it. And then a few days later you get to another chapter and then the,
which, you know, she offers Edmond a room full of Turkish delight. Well, you know, what is a room full of Turkish delight gonna look like? So let's make some Turkish delight and measure how big it is, and then how much of all our ingredients we need to actually make a whole room full of Turkish delight. And so then you do the maths alongside that again,
like stepped through how to do that. So, and then, you know, maybe a week later you do another activity, which lines up with chapter seven and so on and so on. So yeah, it depends really on people's individual style. What I imagine is that it's part of your read aloud and you're pausing when you kind of get to this prompt and you're asking this question,
what does that look like? What does that feel like? How could we do that and then going on and doing the activity together. So really these are kind of, the kids would probably, if you don't even bring up the word math with them, they would probably just see them as little puzzles related to the story. Yeah. In a way often.
Yeah. It's, it's a question. I think a lot of it is a question is trying to nut out more, get a different, feel, a different interpretation kind of, of this story, or think more about an area that we might not have sort of approached before. Right. So if you had kids who were really math phobic, I probably wouldn't bring,
you know, say, Oh, today we're going to do some math with this story. I would just kind of like, you know, propose it as a puzzle and, you know, see how it all worked out and, and you could probably change some attitudes with it. And then at some point I think I would want to tell them, well,
you know, you've been doing math, right. It's after they've had some fun with it. Yeah. I had one mom who said to me that her daughter kept saying, Hey, sure, this is math eight show, we're doing math. So yeah, I think you're right in that, you know, it can be, I th I'd like to think of it as a way where you could inspire kids to fall in love with maths.
Yeah. Yeah. What makes this different than the regular math curriculum that we would be using with our kids on a daily basis outside of morning time and not what makes it different in like the literal sense? You know, I mean, I think everybody can hear you explain it and see how it's different, but what, what about the approach is different?
Well, I think about this in terms of with literature, you know, when we're teaching kids literary tools, we teach them the letter sounds and the spelling and the verbs, but then we actually do show them how they can be used beautifully in writing stories and re reading stories. So they have this beautiful application of what they're doing and then in maths it's comparable.
So what you're probably doing in your most math curriculums are the tools, the adding the dividing, but now let's use them to explore something in a beautiful and interesting, meaningful way. So that they're not just this abstract things. And I heard recently on your podcast, Jeffrey brighter when he was talking about catechism and he described it in this way, which was organic versus systematic.
So he was saying, there's the memorization, the systematic memorization. And then there's the organic sort of application. And I think about it in that same way. So a lot of the time we're doing the systematic maths now let's do the organic, beautiful heart work of it. Yeah. And you know, that's really sad because so often we, we never get past the systematic part and we,
we that's all we ever do. And our entire math experience is confined to that and we never break out and do the more organic exploration kind of stuff. And so we're really only getting half the picture aren't we? Yeah. Or how sad that would be if for your child, you only, you made them only do spelling and grammar and you never gave them the beauty of literature.
I mean, we would never, ever do that. That's completely foreign to us. Yeah. Right. But, but yeah, that's honestly what we're doing with math a lot of the time Can be yeah, yeah. Huh. That that's some food for thought there. So where do you get your ideas for coming up with these wonderful projects that kids can do with math?
It's funny. Sometimes I really feel like the books, it just offering them up to me themselves. But recently I've been trying to take more note of the process. So I, I read the book and I take notes. I just note down anything that has anything to do with number. And some of my friends have said to me, Oh, you have a real gift for this in some ways.
That's true. But I think what is more true is that I just practice this way of thinking a lot. The more that I practice seeing the world mathematically, then the more clearly I see it in areas. And I really think that anyone can do it. It's like switching on this way of viewing the world and then you can do it. I love that.
I mean, I really, really do that, that you're attributing this to something mindful that you're doing. And so therefore, you know, you're not kind of putting yourself up on a pedestal saying, well, I have this great knowledge and can impart it to you, but you're telling moms, you could learn to do this too. If you would just stop and start looking for this in the world around you.
Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, that's all Awesome. Well, let's talk about picture books. What are some picture books for the younger crowd? And, you know, recently I did a webinar with Adam Andrews who is from the center for lit and they do a questioning and literature discussion. And even up through high school, one of the things that they recommend is that you start with a picture book because a good picture book will hold the elements of a literature that a great novel does.
They're just, you know, written on a child's level. And so I wonder if you could kind of do the same thing with math in that you could use some picture books so that somebody like me doesn't feel quite so nervous or scared or overwhelmed, it could help make those connections. So do you have any recommendations? Well, I mean, there's some great math specific books that directly teach a concept so equal,
equal, which is five Virginia now is a real favorite in our house. And it teaches that concept of, you know, one side or the other side being equal. And I was thinking just recently about how that sort of can extend even into algebra later. So that's a really good one. And my kids are just starting to understand books, which are a bit deeper.
So I'm starting to look at books about mathematicians and there's one called blockhead the life of Fibonacci by Joseph dornase. And so that's a more creative side of looking at it. And I try to include in our morning time, one sort of maths picture book, so that we're working on our collection of maths picture books that are building up. But even what you're talking about,
like not specific maths texts, I really love Julia Donaldson for teaching sequencing. So sequencing is this idea and we see it in maths. You see in maths, kids feel quite confident about their level of maths. They're able to do sort of simple equations. And then we get them to this point where we start having to do one thing and then the other,
and then the other. So you get a fraction and you have to simplify it before, you know, you have to make the denominators the same before you can add them. Then you add them, then you get your answer and you have to convert it into a simpler form or maybe mixed numerals. So there's several steps and a great way for teaching that sequencing is actually in picture books.
And Julia Donaldson just has some great ones where this happens and then this happens and then this happens. And so we can talk about kids, you know, what happened? Can you remember what happened or who's coming next in the story, that idea of first this happened, then this happened, then this happened and it's like a practice of getting those sequences in and it's in a non-mathematical form,
but it's practicing that same idea. And then even in like Peter rabbit, I found maths. So you can, you can simply count how many things are in pictures. If you've got a small child or how big is that watering, can that fits Peter when he jumps inside it, or let's use ratio to make Blackberry jam or let's map out a garden to scale where one grid is,
you know, a step in the garden or things like that, is that the kind of ideas that you're thinking of? Yes. And, you know, it's funny because you're talking about the sequencing and, you know, I didn't, I've never really thought of that as a mathematical, like as a mathematical concept that might have something deeper or something beautiful behind it.
I always just thought of it as a procedure that you follow to get the right answer. But you're saying that it's, it's actually a concept, right? Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a concept. I remember reading it quite a while ago. Someone pointed it out on her blog and yeah. Really resonated with me. That's true. That's so often where it breaks down for kids where we're really asking them to do sequences one after the other and remember a sequence,
but we also do do it in literature. So to sort of bring that practice in, into maths. Oh, that's interesting. Okay. I'm going to have to like chew on that one and think about that one for a while too, because yes, as a, as a reading teacher, I've taught sequencing in reading before, but I've never made the connection.
You know, when you have a plot, you have this happens, then this happens and this happens and it moves the plot forward, but I've never related that to mathematics in any way. And so, yeah, That's really, I saw a lady do a great activity the other day on Instagram, her name's Lynn Nelly. And she, she sort of had her pitcher book and she'd just printed out first,
second, third, fourth, fifth. And then she'd taken little summaries of the plot and got her child to arrange them under first, second, third, fourth, fifth. So that was a really beautiful, I thought picture Oriel sort of hands-on way of shuffling around. You could draw pictures if they're not, you know, reading yet of shuffling around the plot to put it in sequence.
So there's almost like a plot to working a math problem where you have a first, second, third, and you could like move them around and change them around. And then you have the climax, which is the moment where you find the answer. Ah, yes. Yeah. Boy, when you start putting math in terms of literature, then I can really start understanding it.
That's so cool. That's so cool. I love it. Making analogies there so well, can we do this with, with just about any book, this idea of kind of digging into these stories and finding some kind of math to explore in them? Yes. I think absolutely. I'm thinking about creating a course to sort of try and help people do this,
but I'm knee deep in children at the moment, but yeah, I think in some books, you more and some books you find less, but really all you need to do is read, looking for numbers. And I think it will take a lot of people time to get that mind shift. But these are really helpful questions to ask is the size,
how big was that? How far is that? You know, and then the shape, what did that look like? What was that castle made out of? What sort of shapes were in that? You know, what did the bridge, you know, what parts were there to it? So that's shaped and then massive one and probably a great place to start is just doing some maps to scale.
So if you can't do anything else, take a book as you're going through it, try and note down any time they mentioned distance. So they walked for two days, or it was this far from the castle to the Lake, note, those things down. And then at the end, draw yourself up a map to scale. I always see people drove up maps and I'm like,
that's great, but why aren't they putting in the scale? That's just such an easy sort of way to incorporate your maths into it, Such an easy way. And I'm about to say, but it's so complicated to do it that way. Yes. And I mean, you use maps maps in your everyday all the time. So it feels complicated, feels scary,
but you do actually have the, you know, the capabilities you use it without even thinking. So you actually, I think you have more math. Most people have more maths than they realize. I just had this example of Rapunzel. So in the original story, it tells us how big the tower is. So even just with a fairy tale, there's immediately like,
Oh, how big is that tower? Let's go out and measure it. You know, how long was her hair then? Oh, it was braided. So it might've been a bit longer let's test how long your braided hair is compared to your long hair when it's not, you know, just things like that. Even a simple fairytale can hold maths as well.
Oh, that's, that's fun. And if you're trying to figure out how tall the tower is, you would probably take like some string or some yarn and stretch it out that far along the ground. So they could actually, you know, kind of lay down next to the string and see how short they are. Cause if you can't really do it up into the air,
so you're going to have to stretch it out flat on the ground. Right. Totally. Totally. Yep. Okay. There are some triangle ways of figuring that out, but a bit later, maybe. Okay. Okay. Okay. So yeah. That's awesome. All right. So tell us what units you have for the mom who would love to go over and just get something that's already prepared and have somebody walk her through the steps,
which I'm raising my hand here, what you have available at math. So I have at the moment five units, there's, there's one that goes along with Charlotte's web, which is a bit shorter and simpler and could be a good place for a lot of people to start. Then there's one which goes alongside the little house in the big woods, which is for the youngest age group,
there's the mathematics and the jungle book, which is for sort of the age, I suppose, grade three to four, then there's swallows and Amazons and fractions, which is just a new one. And that's for a similar age group. And then the lion, the witch and the mathematician, which is, goes alongside the lion, the witch and the wardrobe.
And I think if people make that starting point of having someone step through it, I've had so many moms come back to me, messaged me saying, Oh, I found this idea in this other book, Oh, my kids started asking this mathematical question of the text. And so we did our own activity and that's so exciting for me, you know,
to, to sort of have people be inspired, get that way of thinking mathematically in that way of asking those mathematical questions and then taking it off on their own. It's just beautiful. Right. Right. And what about possible future literature? Selections? What are you, are you working on it? I've been reading seven little Australians just cause I realized that there's we in Australia,
we still actually study a lot of your history. And, and so I wanted to take it in, in an Australian way. I sometimes muse about the Hobbit. I'd really like to explore that. Yeah. Doing the maths in the Hobbit. Yeah. I'm always on the lookout for sort of, I, I really like to do it with common texts that people are using.
So I'm sort of always, Oh, what's that lady reading. Oh, what's she reading to her kids? So I'm always musing about different books. And I just want to point out, I mean, we're not, we're not encouraging, you know, bending things into a unit to make everything matchy-matchy, you know, when it comes to matching the math in the literature,
but we're instead taking something that children love, which is the story with the characters they love and the setting they love and the events they love and jumping off of that and using it to explore something that either they love, you know, because a lot of kids do love math and making it even more exciting or maybe something they're not as comfortable with and matching up that with something that they already have an affection for,
which is the story. And I think that's a big key to doing some things that might change some attitudes about, about mathematics. And so it's not doing it for the sake of making everything in our homeschool lineup and make the connections for the kids. But it's, it's more for using something that we have affection for to build off of and you know,
am, am I right there? Yeah, absolutely. I think sometimes you see, you know, like, Oh a Charlotte's web maths unit and it's really just, it's the same maths, it's the same adding, but they've, they're using a spider counter or something. And that just drives me a bit insane. That's not really what I'm about. It might do the thing for some kids,
but I think using the maths as an additional comprehension tool for the story, so that you're adding to the story, you know, in, you're not just sucking the life out of it by adding in maths, but you're adding to the comprehension that understanding and the experience of this story, knowing how big something is, brings it more to life. I love that I love.
Okay. And I'm glad that we, I think that's a great place for us to end and I'm, I'm glad that we said that right there, that, that this is where we're going with it. So adding to the comprehension and the understanding of the story with the math and then, you know, for somebody like me on the other side, using something that we love any way to make a connection with something that is a little bit more difficult for us.
So I think that's great. I'm glad you said that, Becky. Well, thank you so much for joining me here today. This was a wonderful conversation. I really enjoyed it. Thanks Pam. I've, I've loved talking to you. I just love talking about max. It's so ridiculous. I really appreciate the time that you're taking, I can tell.
And the enthusiasm is catching. We'll tell everyone where they can find you online. Yep. So I'm at www.homemademath.net and also on Instagram. I really love Instagram as a tool for sort of inspiring beautiful maths. So, you know, if you're not at the point of diving into a unit, just come and follow along and get some pretty maths ideas and your Homemade math on Instagram as well.
I Am. Yeah. I'm at homemade math yet. All right. Yeah. We will come and find you there. Well, thank you so very much. Thank you, Pam. And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Becky and I chatted about today on the podcast, you can find them on the show notes for this episode.
Those email@example.com forward slash Y M B 52. And you can also find links to homemade math over there as well. Now this is our final episode of first season Of 2018. So we're going to be taking a hiatus for the summer months so that I could spend a little time with my family and to enjoy ourselves, but never fear. We will be back in August with a new season of the,
your morning basket podcast, bringing you even more great guests. In the meantime, you can find firstname.lastname@example.org on email@example.com forward slash H S Pam Barnhill, and also on Instagram at HS, Pam Barnhill as well. So do keep up with us over the summer where we will continue to chat morning, time and all things homeschooling. You guys have an awesome summer and we will see you in August.
Key Ideas about Exploring Math Through Literature
- Math is not just about facts and figures and boring worksheets. It is creative, beautiful and philosophical too. There is a lot of mathematical expression in creative arts like music, dance, quilting, geometric art found in Islam, and even poetry.
- There are some mathematical concepts that are fun to work through in creative ways, like measuring, ratios and geometry.
- One way to incorporate math into your homeschool is to bring math into your literature. Becky gives examples of how to find math in the stories that you read so that it can be a natural extension of the book.
Find what you want to hear:
- 3:07 meet Becky McIntosh
- 8:30 beauty in math
- 11:40 fun math concepts to explore with kids
- 16:13 literature and math
- 22:35 the importance of focusing on the beauty of math
- 26:28 math picture books for kids
- 32:15 finding math in any book
Leave a Rating or Review
Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really is a blessing — and it’s easy!
- Click on this link to go to the podcast main page.
- Click on Listen on Apple Podcasts under the podcast name.
- Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both!