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I love math, and I love teaching math. I also enjoy math materials and manipulatives. Math can be lots of fun! Here are my favorite resources for teaching math, and making it enjoyable:
Math-U-See. This mastery-based math program uses manipulatives through high school to make math easier to understand. Students are taught to understand the why behind math, as well as the how. We’ve used it since my daughter was in Kindergarten, and she will be doing algebra with Math-U-See this fall.
Life of Fred. While Math-U-See is my favorite full curriculum, I have added the Life of Fred books to my son’s math curriculum. Life of Fred is very different and may take some getting used to. I also recommend starting with the lowest book if your child is in elementary school, even if he or she already understands the concepts. Life of Fred uses a right-brain friendly approach that speaks to my sons creative learning style.
Pattern Blocks. My favorite math manipulative, pattern blocks can be used for all kinds of early learning math activities. Patterning, addition, subtraction, one to one comparisons, geometry, spatial reasoning… They are also a lot of fun! While plastic and foam versions are available, there isn’t anything quite like the feel of the good quality wooden pattern blocks.
Base Ten Blocks. A physical, 3-D representation of base ten, from ones to thousands. These manipulatives are very helpful for explaining the concept of large numbers to younger students.
Games for Math. This book is an outstanding resource. It has a number of easy-t0-create, low cost games for use with children working in grades K-3.
Times Tales. Another great right-brain math item, but it would be helpful for any student learning the multiplication tables.
Right-Brain Multiplication Flash Cards. These cards use pictures to help the student remember their multiplication facts.
Touch Math. While I haven’t used this exact program with my children, I am familiar with it from teaching in the public school. They now have a homeschool version as well. It works great with kinesthetic learners and helps children make a transition from manipulatives to holding the problems in their head. Even the homeschool version is a bit costly, but they do have several resources online that you can look at before purchasing, and if your child is struggling with math, this program might be a valuable help.
Math Their Way. Another program I was introduced to when teaching Kindergarten, there is a sample copy of the book online. I love this gentle, manipulatives-based introduction to mathematics for young people.
So, there you have it, my favorite math products. While I could list many more manipulatives, I’ll save those for a future post of their own. Check some of these products out and see how math can be fun for you, too!