Saturday, September 5, 2009

Living Math Resources

I've been talking all summer about Living Math and how we are leaving Horizons Math behind for a more hands on approach. I did find a curriculum that will help us along called Math on the Level which I will give a post all its own.

Other than that, I've been searching out and collecting living math resources all summer long. I've found lots of websites, books and blogs where you can find out what living math is about and how people are using it.

So, what exactly is Living Math? I found this quote from the Living Math website and I think it sums things up pretty well.

"Beauty in mathematics is seeing the truth without effort."

-George Polya

~ Insisting a child must be taught traditional, scope-and-sequence arithmetic to learn mathematics is like saying one must learn classical notes and scales before one can learn music. You might get there, but you miss out on the inspiration of beautiful music created by the masters along the way. We need not master all the "basics" before being able to experience the appreciation that carries us through the hard work of learning. Think of applying living math principles as developing a "mathematical ear" while working toward the mastery of basic theory. ~

This describes R9 exactly! She loves to appreciate the cool things about math. You can often find her pouring through a living math book and enjoying it and she easily engages in math discussions and knows her stuff. When it comes to doing gobs of practice problems, though she is accurate, she loses heart and it is a tough proposition to get the job done.

I found myself wondering why I was torturing the both of us. I mean it's not like she can't do the math. The endless daily rounds of gobs of problems were too much for both of us and since she had mastery it didn't make a whole lot of sense. I worked for a few years at tweaking the lessons, but most programs are just practice problem heavy. A complete lesson, with all the bells and whistles needed to be done three or four times at our house daily. I had begun to do the old "go and do this page" routine which is not an engaging way to learn math. All the way around something needed to change.

Since making the decision to move beyond Horizons, I have been collecting various resources. There are so many I will need to do this in multiple posts. Here a few books to get us started.

Gobble Up Math- I picked up at our local library sale. Cooking is a super way to apply math. You can never go wrong there.

The original Family Math- I bought this one in a pair with the middle school book and then found it at the consignment store and snapped it up. This book has a treasure trove of math activities for the family and it is perfect for the homeschooling environment.
This one is a gem. I bought it from a woman on I only go there occasionally but I've gotten some really excellent deals by taking the chance. There is a lot of living math at the older student level- very much oriented toward algebraic thinking.

Great for preschoolers and kindergartners- found this at the local consignment shop for just a few dollars!!! I'm excited to use it for J4's preschool and for certain concepts I know that I-7 and even R9 will benefit from it.

I really like the idea of using the living math approach and it allows us all to sit down together at math time. We talk about the same concept and the kids work at their own level on the problems that go with it. It has been very enjoyable. We have lots of time for applied math along the way.

I can't wait to share more details about these books and others as we go along.


SC said...

Thanks for posting this, I've been reading a lot about this but haven't found any great books yet, this is a big help.

Kylie said...

Thanks for all your Living Math posts. I have started gathering books. Have you prepared some kind of plan? Are you still using a Math program as your spine? I'm just wondering how to atually get it all going and still make sure we are covering everything.

Heather said...

I'm working on some more posts Kylie! Stay tuned!

Kylie said...

Oh fantastic I am waiting with baited breath......