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Kathy Ceceri

Do You Suffer From Mathphobia?

By November 15, 2012

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Cuisenaire Rod play

For many homeschooling parents, the scariest subject to tackle with their kids is math. (And not just us, judging by the complaints of public school parents when their kids need help with their long division.)

I'm lucky that I always liked math in school, and -- at least until we reached trigonometry -- it's been easy to call it up again when I need to explain something to my kids. But one thing always bothered me: Even though I could always apply the right formula, I didn't always understand why it worked.

For my family, the answer was math manipulatives -- counting tokens that help make abstract math concepts concrete. They really help you visualize what's going on when you multiple three fours to get 12. My favorite are still Cuisenaire Rods, which come in graduated sizes to help demonstrate everything from simple addition to exponents. (They're fun to play with, too!)

Do you have a stumbling block with math or another subject? How do you get around it?

Image: Kathy Ceceri


November 20, 2012 at 4:25 am
(1) Felicia Jones says:

Im pretty good in math but still had difficulty explaining it to my daughter, until i bought math u see. My daughter loves it and she understanda it like never before.

November 20, 2012 at 6:42 am
(2) Lynn says:

My daughter loathed math until we tried Teaching Textbooks through Sonlight. We still use some elements of Sonlight in highschool but Teaching Textbooks is always on my list. With different learning styles for all three of my children this is still my go to for math. My daughter is actually enjoying Algebra 1. I did not know that was possible before.

November 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm
(3) Kathy Ceceri, About.com Homeschooling Guide says:

It’s interesting to see how different series suit different kids. And I’ve found people get very passionate about the one that works for them!

December 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm
(4) Tonya M. says:

IXL.com offers a free daily drill. We liked it so much we eventually ordered a year’s subscription at a discount through the Homeschool Co-op. Sometimes, the drills tend to seem too long and I have to motivate my daughter to finish them but the automatic record keeping feature really saves a ton of time for me to devote elsewhere.

Of course, children’s encyclopedias of various types have been wonderful. There great when you need a quick reference, in addition to days when the Internet might be down. This summer we took advantage of a 50%-80% off sale at a large, national bookstore chain and stuck with the basics that I knew we’d use for several years.

When I have a few extra bucks, I check out our local Sam’s Club book section. I have found some really good workbooks which includes several subjects. These are types that are usually geared for parents to use with their children over the summer break or to supplement their school’s curriculum but I’ve found some great ones for about $4-$7 cheaper than the national bookstore chains.

I hope this helps. :)

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