Learning math through play in your homeschool can make all the difference. This amazing resource helps you add a little fun and a lot of learning to your homeschool math study.
One of the places that I struggle most of all, when it comes to trying to bring a little bit of life and extra understanding to my homeschool and not just check off the boxes, is mathematics.
Math is not one of my favorite subjects, so anytime I can help provide resources for homeschooling parents to be able to gain a better understanding of math, I want to help!
Why Are Parents So Intimidated By Teaching Math?
Mark Hendrickson is a senior math curriculum developer at the Art of Problem Solving, and he is the product developer of a newly released Beast Academy Playground, a free and growing collection of tabletop math games and activities for kids ages four plus.
Here is what he believes causes the tension around math for homeschool parents.
A lot of parents feel like you do, my wife included. When we think of what it means to do math, I think we maybe have the wrong idea. We think that math means answering a bunch of questions that have right answers and wrong answers, and then checking to see whether we got the right ones. That’s a pretty intimidating proposition, aside from the fact that it also doesn’t usually sound very fun.
One of the ways we can overcome this as homeschooling parents is to broaden our understanding of what it means to do something mathematically. Maybe it’s not necessarily always practicing math facts and making sure you can get them right. Maybe it’s playing a game and, while you’re doing it, asking questions that you genuinely have, and you don’t know the answer to.
Listen to the Podcast:
Math Can Be Just Like Any Other Subject In Your Homeschool
Math doesn’t have to be different than any other topic you study.
Play games. Have fun. Be open to math in the same way you are open to reading a new book with your child. With a read aloud, you don’t really know where that book is going to take you or what conversations it’s going to lead to. Books are a low risk proposition because they’re fun and you do them together. Math can be this way too!
Make math more of an exploration in your homeschool, not just the right and wrong answers to equations. When you confront a problem or when you have a question and you ask that question out loud in front of your child, you’re showing them what it’s like to be curious. You’re showing them that it’s not just okay, it’s good to wonder about things. Then seek to find the answers together.
Learning Math Through Play In Your Homeschool
Now that we’ve taken a lot of pressure off of homeschool parents everywhere, how do we take this exploratory approach to math with our children?
It is obviously important to be able to do 5+7, but the greater question is how can we make math a connected and positive time like we do reading together? Is it even possible?
The answer is an enthusiastic, “Yes!” We do this through playing games, making crafts – taking the same multisensory approach to learning math that we do with so many other subjects.
I never wanted my own feelings about math to influence my children’s perspective on math. I wanted them to be able to have their own feelings about math, independent of me. Providing support and tools to parents like me, helps to do just that.
It’s why I am so happy to share this wonderful resource with you today. It is called the Beast Academy Playground.
Watch on YouTube:
Playing with Homeschool Math: Beast Academy Playground
Beast Academy Playground features a collection of games, crafts, magic tricks and other fun and engaging ways to inspire learning.
When your child is playing these games, they may also be practicing some basic addition, subtraction, skip counting or whatever is appropriate for their skill level. Maybe not. Some of the games are just purely strategic, but that’s valuable as well in your math time at home. There is room for just playing together.
One of the benefits is that when your child plays a game, they want to win, or at least want to figure our how to win. This allows the learner to stop worrying so much about whether they’re adding correctly and instead focus on their next move and how they can best win against mommy or daddy.
They’re practicing addition, that’s math. But strategy and trying different things? That’s also math.
It’s the problem solving mindset that we want our kids to have, whether they’re “math people” or not.
You can add Beast Academy Playground to your homeschool math without the extra pressure of trying to finish the math book or worrying about keeping math absolutely sequential. Give yourself permission to simply bask in what you learn.
When you learn a new reading skill, you don’t then move to the next most difficult book and never return to those other books that maybe you loved. You let yourself enjoy that you can read those and you do it over and over again. You wonder about them. You ask questions.
When you learn a new math skill, it shouldn’t be the end of the story.
Adding games is valuable curriculum-wise and learning wise, and in terms of making lifelong learners who love math. Before you rush on to the next skill, let part of your math time be playful. We don’t have to just rush onto the next skill. We think of math as being totally linear and we master one thing, check off the box and move to the next thing. When we approach math this way, we’re just thinking of a list of skills that need to be mastered instead of kind of this practice that we can do every day. Math is a wonderful thing that we can explore together.
Make Math Playful In Your Homeschool
Head to Beast Academy Playground, and take a look at their fun and engaging collection of games and crafts. You can sort by age, skill level, and even the specific math skill you would like for your child to work on. It’s a perfect way to bring relationship and joy to math in your homeschool.
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