I had a mom ask me a great question. “I don’t want my son to become rusty on his math facts. I want to do school 2-3 times a week, but I want it to be fun. How do I do that?”
I believe in the power of fun! Turn reviewing math facts into a game and it won’t seem like “school” at all.
Math Facts On the Go
Why not review math facts while in the car? This requires 2 or more players. The caller (mom or an older sibling who knows the math facts) calls out a math problem to be answered by the opponents. The first person to answer correctly receives 1 point. This is fine if you have two students who are at approximately the same skill level. But, if they are not and let’s say John is pretty good, then give Jane a handicap of 5 points. The first one to reach 10 (you pick the number) wins the game. Challenge your children to beat you. My kids made excellent progress with their multiplication facts and they started beating me. I had to review my facts! This game can also be played with flashcards if it will only be you and your child. The card gets turned over to reveal the problem and each of you see it at the same time. If you choose this option you better wait until you are in a parking lot instead of while you are driving! This game can be used for all mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division).
Create a Puzzle This will require a little bit of your creative juices to make this game. It can be a single or multi-player game. I have included pictures so you have an idea of what I am thinking.
How to Make the Game: Using 10 index cards, (You can pick any number you wish) lay out the cards and draw a picture on the front of the cards. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
Turn all of the cards over being careful to keep the design as it was when face up. Write math problems on each of the cards.
Write a small number on the problem side in the right hand corner beginning from the problem on the left hand side and going to the right and so on until you have numbered each card. The player may put the cards with the math problem facing up without your help, using the numbers in the right-hand corner as a guide to do so.
When the math problem is answered correctly it may be turned over to reveal the puzzle piece on the other side. The game continues until all math problems have been answered correctly and turned over to complete the puzzle.
How to play the game: Put all of the cards in the puzzle problem side up. Your scholar looks at each math problem and answers the math problem. If your mathematician answers the problem correctly (s)he may turn it over to reveal the design on the other side. The review is complete when all of the design has been completed. Make this self-checking by providing a list of the facts with an answer key. Your older students may enjoy making these problems for your younger students by designing the puzzles,writing the math facts and making the answer key. They would be reviewing math facts too 🙂 Store in a plastic bag so the game can be reused. You can make additional puzzle games with new designs and new math problems.
This game is used to review a specific fact family. It can be played with two or more people. The leader chooses a number between 2 and 9. The leader says 1, the next player says the 2, and so on. When they reach a multiple of the number chosen, the player says “buzz” instead of the number. If a player forgets to say buzz or says it at the wrong time, he or she is out or you begin again if it is just two of you playing. Play continues until you reach the last multiple of the number times 9. (12×9 for example)
Playing Doubles You will need dominoes to play this game.
Learning multiplication facts with 2 as a factor can be fun and easy with dominos. Use domino doubles to demonstrate that multiplying by two is the same as adding doubles: 3+3=2×3, 4+4=2×4, and so on. Have your scholar either tell you or write both addition and multiplication fact families for the various domino combinations.
Websites and Online Computer Games (Supervise younger students on the computer if necessary)
I found a website that has a great number of online math games that your children will enjoy. It even has awards and a game board that the student fills in online as activities are completed! It is called ixl and is for ages Pre-K to 8th grade. I looked at the Pre-K counting dots activity as well as middle grade activities. If problems are missed explanations are given as to why the answer is different than the one your student chose.
Mad Dog Math
Do you have a scholar who loves animals, dogs in particular? Here is a review of an online computer game: Heartfelt Homeschooling
At Math Play there is a wide variety of fun online games to sharpen or reinforce skills. There are games for elementary through middle grades. They are organized by grade level, content, and game type.
Hi Lisa! I loved your recommendation of More Picture Perfect Science Lessons by Ansbury and Morgan. Do you have any recommendations similar to this for Math and Literature? I know there are lots of individual books/lessons to be found, but I am wondering if you know of any great ones that come in a big old book all together like More Picture Perfect Science Lessons.
Thanks for all the work you are doing. I am loving the website and your recommended tools!
Blessins, Sarah Barr
Thank you for asking that question. I actually have a blog post that is scheduled for tomorrow called Mathematical Literature! The books that I mention can be purchased, but can also be found in the library, helping to save you money 🙂
Thank you for the kind words; I am glad to be of assistance. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.