One of the largest areas in education today has got to be in the field of homeschooling. Regardless of why you choose to homeschool your children, the fact remains that you want them to have the best educational experience possible. Math has always been a huge challenge for students, so it should come as no surprise that it remains such for parents trying to find a way to communicate the curriculum to their homeschool students. For years, teachers have known that games and play activities are a great way to get math concepts across to children. Here are some ideas for using these activities with your children:
- Board Games. Yes, board games are fun for a Friday night game night. But they can also be educational. For younger children, bring out Candyland or Chutes and Ladders and reinforce basic numbers and counting. With older children, get out Monopoly and work on their money skills. Don’t forget a game like Clue that reinforces the counting skills but also teaches a very valuable skill that many people overlook—logic. Finally, you don’t even have to use the whole game. Just get the dice out and have your child add up the dots when they roll them to learn basic counting skills.
- Online Games. I know that many parents may think this is heresy, but online math games have a lot to offer the homeschooled student. These games can reinforce not only basic math concepts, but also advanced mathematical skills such as algebra and geometry. And, they do it in a way that holds the student’s attention and makes math cool and fun.
- Cooking. One of the big ideas I have always advocated is using cooking as a means of getting math concepts across to students. Let’s face it: Kids love to eat. So have them help you bake a batch of cookies and teach them a life skill, but also reinforce measurements, fractions, ratios, and addition while you are at it.
- Sudoku. If you’ve never tried a Sudoku puzzle, now is the time to do it. These addictive games can be found in the crossword puzzle section of every newspaper and online for free (Many tablets including the iPad even have free Sudoku apps you can download). These puzzles help students with number skills as well as logic, sequencing and patterns while helping to keep the brain sharp. You can find them in ultra simple versions for the youngest children in your household, or, for the real experts, try looking for the dreaded Samurai Sudoku puzzles that really test your logic.
Math does not have to be dull and boring. One of the great things about homeschooling is that by spending time with your children you can give them the one-on-one attention that they need to keep it exciting and interesting. And one of the greatest ways to do this is to incorporate play and games into your child’s curriculum.