When my children were younger, I tried to find ways to make learning fun. One of the things we did through elementary school was to play a math game a few times a week. We found great math games in Family Math. It is a $20 book that is appropriate for multiple children, kindergarten to 8th grade. You can find it at curriculum fairs, but also at regular bookstores and the library. It is a book of games and activities for teaching and improving math skills for K-8th grade. All of the activities are low-cost or no-cost. It has reproducible games to copy. Having dice is helpful. We used dry beans or macaroni for our game markers. Each game indicates whether it is for primary, intermediate, or middle school kids. My kids played the same games together. You can play it with your child, or have them play together after you show them how. Some of the activities are "games" with a winner, but other things are just learning activities (like determining surface area and volume using sugar cubes.)Each week when I made their math assignment, I figure out what topic was being taught. I looked up the key words (one week I looked up pi, circumference, and geometry) in the index of the Family Math book. There is usually a selection of games and activities to choose from. This way they are doing math manipulatives that are about the lesson they are learning. One of my frustrations with geoboards or cuisinaire rods was that they are not applicable to most of the lessons they are learning. One week my older son began proportions, and I found a game called "Gorp", where you roll a dice to determine different proportions for the gorp ingredients. For younger kids, there are lots of fun games for learning place value, and using basic math facts. It also has activities for money, time, calendar and measuring. One word of warning - the games look a little intimidating in the book sometimes. I took a class on Family Math when I first began homeschooling. The teacher recommended that when you begin a game that you are not familiar with, force yourself to follow the directions just as they are written, and by the time you are near the end of the directions, the game WILL make sense. I did not have the "Gorp" game demonstrated to me, but I followed the directions like she said, and it worked. It became their favorite game!
The HomeScholar www.TheHomeScholar.com
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