Today’s iHomeschool Network Hopscotch topic is math instruction. At the middle and high school level we are all about problem solving- taking basic skills and applying them to a problem whether the problem is higher level math like trigonometry or a practical issue like building a project or creating a pattern.
Strategies for Teaching Middle & High School Math in Our Homeschool
- LEGO NXT– programming and using the LEGO Mindstorms kit to perform tasks. Our family is a FIRST LEGO League family, but at home our NXT kits get a lot of use
- Computer programming– With online programs such as Scratch and Alice, we can broaden our students’ experience with computer programming. Our 8yo actually program simple commands in C++ and is working his way through a book on Java.
- Games– We are still a family of game players. Playing fun games that require spatial reasoning or simply hardcore calculations is a fun diversion. Equate is a math crossword game that goes way beyond Smath.
- The Crafty Side of Math– A big part of our 8th grader’s homeschool is her sewing. She will work out math as she needs it in her sewing and works hard to see a problem get solved. Two links to explore sewing math: The Making of a Wizard & The Crafty Side of Math and Jules Verne– R13 is making a fabulous steampunk gown for her American Girl dolls. Keep in mind that R13 drafts her own patterns and designs her own apparel.
- Test Prep– I can hardly believe we are at the point where Ethan is practicing his test taking skills for the PSAT. He has practiced in a mock testing situation twice and we’ve been going over things at home.
- Applied Math– Need more ideas? Try some from the list I made for Uzinggo.
What about Upper Level Math in Your Homeschool
Probably one of the main concerns of homeschooling parents is how to handle high school math when they don’t consider math their strong suit. We tackle this in a few ways.
- First, the curriculum we use is written to the student. So, the first pass at the concept is from the text.
- They try out the problems and check their own answers. If they get stuck, we’ve got a few options.
- I help them sit and take another look at the problem– I’ve had math through Calculus, but I am not an expert. However, I am successful at helping our kids to look through a problem and see where to go next. I can often look at their work and see where they strayed in their process. This helps them to get back on track.
- Reteach– if they really are struggling, I take some hints from my Math on the Level manual and teach the concept in a different way. I rarely have to do this, but when I do it helps a lot. Of course, once we enter high school math MOTL is not the go to resource. It works very well for middle school math.
- Dad can save the day! Dan is an engineer and he is confident in his math abilities. He steps in when the kids are really stuck.
- Kahn Academy & Uzinggo– We also pull from online tutorials to get back on track or to have something explained in a different way than their textbook offers.
Our Favorite Middle & High School Homeschool Math Curriculum
- Math on the Level– A lovely living math approach which allows you to teach math concepts when your student is ready not when a publisher tells you to do so. This one goes from Pre-K through 8th grade pre-algebra. I have a detailed post on how we use Math on the Level in our homeschool. It’s a home base where even I can check on a concept before teaching them to my kids.
- Life of Fred– Our primary math program for high school is Life of Fred. I get a lot of questions about this and you can read about our decision to use Fred and how it’s a fit for our family by clicking on that link. It’s one of my top 3 posts here at Blog, She Wrote.
- Family Math: The Middle School Years– Love this book for fun, practical, hands-on activities for middle schoolers. There is plenty in this book to help students with algebraic concepts. I can’t believe this one is out of print, but I cannot find it on Amazon.
- Yummy Math– This is one of my favorite sites for picking up instructional packets on applied math. You’ll see a math activity which applies to any number of everyday/headline type stuff. There is an endless supply of applied math activities devoted to middle school students.
Join other bloggers in the iHomeschool Network for a look at teaching math in your homeschool. You’ll see how moms of gifted and special needs children approach math at home.