## Learning Math Naturally

Okay! Now for the nuts and bolts, how do you teach math without worksheets?** **There are a number of websites, books and sources out there that provide suggestions for teaching math beyond a strict . I’ve noted just a few of the many ideas that can be used to teach concepts.

Dr. Wright's Kitchen Table Math: Book 1 has many practical ideas to teaching math naturally through about age 8. Marilyn Burns has written a number of books as well for teaching math, including About Teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource, 3rd Edition

Patricia Kenschaft’s “Math Power” is a great book to read to understand from a more mainstream author why each of these ideas are important. Frank Smith’s The Glass Wall: Why Mathematics Can Seem Difficult is another source of understanding the “leaps” children make in understanding what we consider to be very basic mathematical ideas.

A number of children's math readers include extension activities in the text of the reader, or in the back. Series such as MathSmart Readers by Stuart Murphy and Hello Math Readers by Marilyn Burns are good for teaching ideas, and each reader includes suggestions for games and activities that relate to a given concept. Amy Axelrod's Pig-Math Readers and Loreen Leedy's math books are also well-loved here. Many readers by concept are listed here at the site.

Greg Tang books such as Math For All Seasons are magnificent for demonstrating the rich mathematics that can learned through very simple counting activities. Following the rhymes and pictures in the books shows children and parents unique ways to go about counting that facilitates grouping, skip counting and multiplication later.

You can provide counters out of anything such as paper clips or dried beans and ask your child to count out amounts. Very young children can make groups of tens and ones to match place value names. For example, 2 sets of ten items and 4 single items are called "2 tens, 4 ones" and represent 24.

A Chinese or Japanese abacus/soroban is a fun way to count and begin learning the rudiments of counting and eventually place value. If you don't know how to use one of these ancient calculators that are still in large use, learn how! Instructions are plentiful on the internet and books.

An early game all my children have played for hours to gain sense of the pattern of counting all the way up to 100 and beyond is to bounce-count. I would have the child start with 1, I’d count 2, she’d count 3, etc. If the child starts the count, then you can teach them the pattern of 20, 30, 40 etc. which is difficult for many children. As they become comfortable, you can switch to starting so they practice recalling the pattern of the tens.

To gain number sense as to what numbers are larger or smaller than others, play "Guess My Number".You write or think of a number that your child must guess. For young children start with numbers up to 10 or 20. For older children, go as high as you both agree to. Your child guesses a number and you say "higher" or "lower." Your child adjusts the guess and tries again. Continue saying higher or lower until the number is guessed. Then switch roles with your child. For older children, you can add a limit to the number of guesses, such as 5 or 10 guesses. You only switch roles if your child guesses the number.

As children’s mathematical abilities grow, begin talking about ways to make better guesses by comparing unknown quantities to quantities you do know. Practice estimating large amounts by taking out a portion such as one quarter and counting it, and then multiplying the amount by four to approximate the amount.