Ways to do Homeschool Mathematics (without a Textbook)

Maths concepts can be taught mentally very well and without textbooks until about 12 years old.

  • times tables – rap rote, skip counting … also divisionmathpostcard

  • Rolling dice and getting him to visualise the number rather than counting them individually.

  • mental arithmetic is excellent :: if i have this many and you eat this many … how many left?

  • Use fingers to show patterns, skip jumping/counting, read stories with maths concepts in them, read recipes.

  • Baking

  • Make a pizza pie together, make symmetrical patterns with toppings? and teach basic ideas of fractions. 1/2 pie – 2 pieces the same size …

  • MEASUREMENT (give them a real tape measure at 5/6 yo, with the OSH talk)

  • tape measure – arms, legs, strides; door posts, table height, step treads, etc ..

  • How long is your thumb in centimetres? how long is your cubit? stride? doorway

  • estimation  … sensible answer?

  • How many wheels on those 3 trucks and 4 cars …? How many legs on those bugs …?

  • gardening, planting, design …

  • patterns and series, eg diff types of leaves, 10×10 (100 block) colour in …

  • map / atlas reading – note scale, NESW, distances/time, latitude / longitude, poles …

  • bus timetables – how long to go from A > B… every how many minutes …

  • for fun, learn to count to twelve or twenty in 5 different languages

  • draw shapes w/ruler, pencil, protractor, and compass

  • Big and Bigger numbers : what does 1000 look like? 1,000,000 …

  • consider big counting questions. How many chickens killed every day in NZ/the USA? How many trees in a particular forest? How many glasses of water before a particular water reservoir runs out?

Keep mathematics as an everyday part of life. The siloing (isolating or separating off) of maths and other disciplines is what sucks the joy, discovery, and relevance out of them. http://learning-reimagined.com/conrad-wolfram-maths-reimagined/

Of course you could use YouTube and Textbooks, but keep the interest and fun factor high.








Stand and Deliver



“Stand and Deliver”

  1. Topic is chosen – timekeeper selects adjective and noun or short phrase

    (maybe contributed to by other speakers in group)

  2. Speaker stands up, ready to be given topic by timekeeper

  3. Once topic is given, speaker has 15 seconds to think of an outline, then has 60 seconds to speak.

  4. Timekeeper ‘tings’ when time is up and speaker stops.

  5. Feedback : first comment is general and positive (pick out one good thing),

    1-3 comments of improvement/to work on,

    finish feedback with 1-3 positive comments and encouragements for future.


  • Connect with the audience – smile, speak their language on a topic they can relate to

  • Careful with “throat clearing” activities just before you start speaking, eg. um…, well…, fiddling with papers, not looking calm and collected

  • Connect the ideas within your talk

  • Give details, be specific – think 5 Senses

  • Inject gentle joy and humour

When reading,

  • Hold out your book (in one hand, if possible) so the top of it is below the level of your chin

  • Relax, smile, and use some eye contact

  • No affectation or pommie/plummie accent

  • Be slow and purposeful

  • Open your mouth, use your lips

  •  “nice round vowel sounds”

  • Use phrasing to help meaning

  • Project your voice from back of throat

  • “superb sage sausages searing in the sizzling seas”

June 2014

New to Homeschooling?

Find a way to enjoy family life.

Go for walks and have fun discussions, ask questions.

Instill the love of learning and discovery, rather than a rigid school-like ritual.

Invite yourself around or invite other families around to mix life up a bit.


Why Do Mathematics?

As a new high school teacher a couple of decades ago, my 15 year old students asked me (with all the dramatic tones of that age group) : “Why do we have to do maths?”f orbiting

My brain raced – we didn’t cover this at teacher’s college! Momentary panic. Deep breath. Quick prayer: “Give me a clue, God”.

My response was like this ::

I believe in a created order and in that order, there are patterns, sequences, cycles, relationships, and series. There is a rhythm to life. A coming and going. People and living things grow old and die, then there’s another cycle that brings new life and fruit.

There is a time for the sun to shine, then the moon. The moon goes from new to full moon every 27 days. The tides ebb and flow because of the gravitational interaction of the earth and the moon.

Look at the seasons. We can closely guess what weather to expect in August because there is a pattern throughout the years.

We can not get away from maths concepts.

We use maths to get to our friend’s house, buy food and clothes, to decide if we can cross the road so as not to get run over by the bus coming, to get ready for the party on time.

So, why do maths?

1. Because the school says so.

2. Maths Certificate tells employers you can multiply and add and a bit more.

3. More importantly, maths teaches you to solve problems, follow logic, find relationships between number-based ideas, and to make real-world decisions based on known and unknown information or data.

4. It;s fascinating.

Let’s start being number detectives. 😀

Articles online ::

http://jerry.praxisiimath.com/whymath.html – one of the clearer and more succinct articles “why”


Occupations ::
There are uses of mathematics in all the “hard” sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; the “soft” sciences, such as economics, psychology, and sociology; engineering fields, such as civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering; and technological fields such as computers, rockets, and communications. There are even uses in the arts, such as sculpture, drawing, and music. In addition, anything which uses a computer uses mathematics,

Mathematics is used for biomedical engineering, food technology, building technology, chemical sciences, civil and structural engineering, graphics and computer-aided drawing (CAD), electronics, environmental health, mechanical engineering, mining technology, nuclear medicine, occupational health, petroleum technology, prosthetics, forestry and wildlife, robotics, and surveying. it is used in so many other subjects.

HS Science links

This in NO way is a comprehensive list. I’m not a scientist, but a curious home educating mother.353px-Monarch_Butterfly_Cocoon_6708

These are some of the what-I-think-interesting sites that I’ve stumbled on in my 10 years of homeschooling.


General or All

https://www.youtube.com/user/bozemanbiology – more than biology, science in general (high school level)

How Stuff Works – also http://science.howstuffworks.com/

Science from the Beeb – 4-11 yo
+ Teacher resources – 9-10 yo
Teacher’s (or home educating parents’) resources : scienceclips

+ teachers : 3 pages of lesson plans and worksheets

3D Papercraft – see the Science section

Krampf Experiment newsletter – www.krampf.com


Exploratorium – www.exploratorium.edu/educate/index.html

Science resources – http://camillasenior.homestead.com/resources.html

Janice VanCleave’s Science Fair Handbook (Scientific Method, topic research, sample project/report, display, presentation and evaluation) – http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/handbook/index.html

(thanks to Gin at Bryant Academy – bryantacademy@comcast.net)



Biology for kids

Some anatomy printables


NZ Science Learning Zone – earthquakes, volcanoes, ice house

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTL_U_K1eP4T885-JL3rVgw – GNS Science channel : earthquakes, volcanoes, tectonic plates, ice + snow, fossils


http://www.squidoo.com/physicslapbook – Jimmie

Life Sciences

Life Science downloads – parent and student copies –

http://eequalsmcq.com/elem%20life%20science%20websites.htm – extra resources, mainly BBC
parent and student copy – better on dsl for 2-10 MB download.
Great resources for topics like: sense, human body, classification etc.

Dinosaurs –


http://www.webelements.com/– click through to further info on each element

Can sign up for ‘Elements’ email at: www.howtoteachscience.com – Teresa

webquest – http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolingmommaof4/Chemistry

Science Fairs

Don’t know where to start?  (by UGA)  – www.libs.uga.edu/ref/scifair.html

Science Fair help

More project ideas for elementary projects – www.uga.edu/oasp/gsef/sources.html

Middle School Science Fair basics – www.uga.edu/oasp/gsef/gsef/basics.pdf

Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge  –

Discovery Channel Schools (Science) Curriculum Center –

NASA lesson plan search – http://questdb.arc.nasa.gov/lesson_search.htm#search

Newton’s Apple teacher’s guides – www.tpt.org/newtons/alpha.html

Cyber-Fair (a resource elementary students) – www.isd77.k12.mn.us/resources/cf/steps.html



Freaky Ice Hand

I know my DS8 will enjoy doing this!  Check out the rest of the website – for budding scientists or the plain inquisitive.