Category Archives: elementary mathematics

Flower Power Patterns

The second day we were using 
to conquer
Multiplication Facts,
we discovered another benefit.
Notice the amazing patterning of numbers!
While counting by 4’s, the ones digits will follow this pattern.
By understanding patterns of numbers,
you also can recognize if your answer is correct.
The flower s were fun to make,
‘cuz you know I love me some cut and paste,
but I knew they were successful when Beka asked today,
“Mom, can I work on my 4’s multiplication?”
Yea, sweet.

Don’t Skip Skip Counting, Let Skipper Skip

Skip Counting
 is a long, lost skill.
When modern educators thought rote drills were too monotonous, 
boring and unproductive,
they stopped having the kids chant in class,
The multiplication tables weren’t chanted, either.
They even came up for a name for it…
“Drill and Kill.”
You can research all the arguments. 
They use a lotta’ big words and catch phrases I didn’t understand,
but I know this,
some things have to be repeated over and over to be learned.
How many times have you told your kids to flush the toilet?
How many times do you go in a find a toilet full of…
well…um….ah… you find the toilet is unflushed?
My point exactly.
Repetition is good.
Anything valuable has to  repeated over and over  to get through their
knuckleheads, peabrains, noggins,
their precious little minds.
Skip counting is valuable in addition and multiplication.
Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations
is an amazing teaching mommy.
Generous, too.
She offers many, many free printables and ideas to make your
teaching rock.
She inspires me so much I think I wanna’ be her when I grow up.
Start by printing out her
If you do this, drop a comment and thank her.
Did I tell you how amazing she is?
2,700 followers think so.
I put mine in clear page protectors in a binder,
but they could also be laminated.
Thanks to Jolanthe blogging about a great deal on a laminator,
I got one for Christmas.
Back to Skip Counting.
Here’s where my little touch comes in.
Remember how I love toys?
I really, really, really love toys.
Just like a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,
toys make any lesson better.
I thought we needed Skipper to help us Skip Count.
Since we’re trying to learn the 3’s in multiplication,
we hopped through the list a few times,
counting out loud.
Then, we began working on the facts,  beginning with Skipper on zero.
If I said,
2 x 3
Skipper hopped twice up to the six.
I made Rebekah repeat the problem and the product,
yea, that would be the answer in multiplication.

Skipper landed on 27. 
what math fact did I call out?
Yea, yer’ so smart, 3 x 9.

3 x 4 = 12
Yea!  Got another one right.
Then you introduce the commutative property.
If 3×4 = 12
It’s a two ‘fer one kinda’ deal.
You memorize a lot less facts when you understand this concept.
Then, just when I was really patting myself on the back about
our amazing math lesson I had presented and the blog I was gunna’ write
Skip Counting With Skipper
Rebekah said,
“But, Mom, this doll’s name is Stacie.”

Bear Necessities of Rounding

Counting Bears have been a bear necessity for our home school.
I remember eyeing them in Wal-mart,
waiting for the day I could afford them.

When I found another set at a garage sale,
I was ecstatic. 
It felt better than that dream
of picking up money in the streets,
cuz this was real.
Doesn’t take much to make the
Momma of home-teached kids happy,
does it?

I said that on purpose – remember the name of my blog?

Any-hoo, we were trying to learn the
concept of rounding to the nearest ten.
As always, the first time a concept can be introduced,
it can be confusing.

First time mastery brings confidence and enjoyment to any subject.

I pulled out my pile of tricks from overstuffed and underorganized shelves and got to work.

We started with the laminated number line that goes from 1-100.

A small bear was placed on the number 18,
the number we needed to round.

Rebekah had to tell me the two tens her number was between,
in this case 10 and 20.

Large bears were placed on the tens.
If your items aren’t different sizes, you could differentiate with colors.

At a glance, she could tell the 18 was closer to the 20.
(double-click to enlarge and print)
We repeated with different numbers,
emphasizing the rule~
numbers ending in 1-4
are rounded down,
numbers ending in 5-9
are rounded up.
Yep, counting bears
are the bear necessities
of a hOme tEaChEd life.


Playing In Math Class

Beka and I love to play together.
We play dolls, store, raft, school, restaurant, store and servant.
She always lets me be the boss and she’s the servant, isn’t she sweet?
It’s hard to do school when you wanna’ play,
so we like to play during school.
It greatly improves math skills.
So does scratching your head, we learned.
In 2nd grade, Beka is learning money skills.
The worksheet introduced the concept of counting back change.
Having a cash register with a calculator and a change drawer that
“dings” when you open it, is a must for math class.
The worksheet was  kinda’ confusing.
It was kinda’ boring, too.
If Teacher Momma Mindy is bored,
I know my student is bored.
When the head scratchin’ didn’t help enough,
We opened a store.
While Beka priced her toys, I scribbled quick cards for each item.
The box on the left is the price, the bill used to pay is in the middle.
She had to use $5, $10 and $20 bills.
First, she had to figure out change, using the lease amount of each coins.
 Then, I came into her store many times, in character,
buying gifts for nieces, spoiled children, brats, and kids having birthdays.
She recommended an item, took my money, and counted back my change.
After I bought out the store, she had nailed the concept.
We went back to the boring worksheet, and finished it in a few minutes.
I’m thinkin’ boring doesn’t always mean just boring.
Confusion can bring on boredom.
When you are confident and understand,
math isn’t boring, it’s exciting.
Then, we played, because that’s what we like to do.
We play.

Keeping Place Value in Its Place

Place value can be a mystifying concept to young children.
Place value can be a mystifying concept for adults
trying to teach  young children.

I like to use various methods to help my kids gain understanding.

I found this old place value chalkboard,
that gives a great visual of the place value columns.
We write the numbers with the digits in the correct column.
When comparing numbers, it is easy to see which number is the least
and which is the greatest.
It also comes in handy for learning to carry,
or regroup, as some curriculums call it.

Plus, it is just fun to write with chalk,
isn’t it?
To utilize a place value chart,
you can make paper charts,
they’re easy to find on the internet.
You could also make your own gridlines
 on a chalkboard or a dry erase board.
Anybody else have any great ideas for teaching place value?