Living MatH  

"Beauty in mathematics is seeing the truth without effort."  -George Polya


~ Insisting a child must be taught traditional, scope-and-sequence arithmetic to learn mathematics is like saying one must learn classical notes and scales before one can learn music. You might get there, but you miss out on the inspiration of beautiful music created by the masters along the way. We need not master all the "basics" before being able to experience the appreciation that carries us through the hard work of learning. Think of applying living math principles as developing a "mathematical ear" while working toward the mastery of basic theory. ~

This site is dedicated to sharing resources for math learning,
exploring and enjoying math in a dynamic and holistic manner, for all ages.

I want to build a bridge. I'd like to close the gap between math and history, science, literature and humanity created by the isolated way we traditionally approach math education.

In teaching my own children, tutoring and furthering my own self education, I've seen the results of early exposure to realmathematics in natural settings, without requiring mastery of arithmetic on a set timetable - this has been a key to the ease with which my kids attain mastery when the time is right for them. I've also found that math literature and history humanizes math, makes it come alive, and provides a context to enjoy and retain learning.  Patricia Kenschaft of Math Power refers to a goal of preserving the "rage for learning" that every child has inside of them. I believe that the way we isolate mathematics learning with the contrived, unrealistically applied arithmetic our children are traditionally taught, without real context and the human drama that created it, has caused much of the math phobias and illiteracy ("innumeracy" to use John Paulos' term) our generation of educators, whether in home or classroom, experienced and pass on, as they know nothing else.

On Topic E-List - The Living Math Forum: Dedicated solely to discussion related to living math and science methods and materials. See Articles for some topics. The Forum concentrates discussion related to non-traditional math methods and resources in one location. The archives are extensive and searchable by key words.

You may join via the web address, or send a blank email to and respond with a brief description of your purpose for joining.

Book Recommendations: I am an unabashed book junkie, as you can see from my Math Reader Listings. I encourage you to use your local library, but if you decide to build a home library, using my links supports this site, and allows me to preview more books for you :o). I also review new listings on Bookcloseouts periodically on the LivingMathForum list.

Family Math History course:  A series of lesson plans with materials for all ages are being developed. These lessons have been used in our homeschool and cooperative classes. It is currently being published via .pdf file with notifications via email as additions are published. The material will eventually be incorporated in a 2 to 4 year guide for those wishing to apply this approach to their homeschool or group learning experiences. More info.

Check back frequently to review additions to the site. Feel free to email me with comments and contributions as I build this site.

Julie Brennan, CPA, homeschooling parent
San Diego, California

This site is being developed on "Mommy Time" 

Many updates and revisions are being made with the 2017 rebuild to the website. Changes made to the site are announced on the LivingMathForum elist

Radio Free School Interviews Pt 1 3-22-06 / Pt 2 3-29-06


We've chosen to keep this site uncluttered, free of pop-ups and paid advertising. 

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Living Math wouldn't be what it is today without these kiddos.

Living Math wouldn't be what it is today without these kiddos.

Julie Brennan with her girls today.

Julie Brennan with her girls today.