Homeschoolers are a little obsessed with books, and rightfully so. Who can blame us, because books are beautiful, engaging, and contribute to great conversations. But I wonder what would happen if we worked as hard to build our family culture around math as we did around reading?
Math scores in the US show that priorities lie with reading over math. In 2020, even before widespread lockdowns, US teenagers ranked 9th in reading and 31st in math.
But what if we could change our priorities just a bit to help our children do better in math and enjoy it more?
I posted about this on Instagram not too long ago, and got some great comments about building a family culture of math. I hope this post will inspire you to bring more math appreciation into your home!
Related: Candy Math: A Homeschool Tradition
Building a Family Culture Around Math
Play with numbers- One mom said they played and interacted with numbers so much, that her children didn't open a math book until 5th grade! Count things, make up addition problems in nature, talk about what costs more or less in the grocery store, etc.
Read books- Living math books aren't exactly a Charlotte Mason thing, but there's no reason we can't read them in our daily lives! Math-related books can help familiarize your child with math concepts. We've had a few math books from Usborne that are really helpful!
Make it a tradition- One mom said that growing up, her family had a tradition of putting a certain number of birthday candles on the cake, and then having the birthday person figure out a math equation that equaled their birthday age. So, maybe there were 10 candles on the cake for a 24th birthday, and the birthday person would guess that 6 x 4 = 24.
Related: Math Resources For Your Homeschool
Have a dinnertime problem to solve- It's not unusual to talk about books that we've read around the dinner table, so start doing the same with math concepts! How did you encounter math in your day? Were there any interesting problems in your math curriculum? Recently, Hadley had a math problem that asked her to find people's weight on Mars. She thought this was fun to try with the whole family. My Little Robins' Math Conversation Cards are perfect for this!
Add math to your morning time- Our morning time tended to be language heavy, so a few years ago I created a math curriculum that's perfect for morning time: Family Time Math. This is a multi-age curriculum that brings in mental math problems solving skills and also introduces new concepts. This will get your kids talking about math together! There is also a monthly family activity that centers around math.
Study mathematicians- Mathematicians like Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, two of the famous female mathematicians highlighted in the book and movie Hidden Figures, could inspire anyone when it comes to math. Study some of these famous mathematicians through movies, biographies, and autobiographies.
There is no wrong way to incorporate more math into your family culture, but you do need to start somewhere!