Math eCourse Coming Soon

Principles of Mathematics eCourse

Well, it’s finally public: I’m working on an eCourse to go alongside Principles of Mathematics: Book 1.

The eCourse will feature a short video to go with every lesson in the textbook. The videos will walk through the material covered in the curriculum, making it a perfect supplement for auditory or visual learners, or any student who needs a little more guidance in math.

Anyway, this video offers a very short overview!

Please leave a comment with your thoughts. The eCourse is also now available for preorder at a special price of $49.99. This price will grant access to the eCourse for the 2016-2017 school year.

[thrive_text_block color=”light” headline=”Bonus: Color, Light, and Math”] I recently posted a blog about Color, Math, & Light over on The Creation Club website. Hope you enjoy! Color, Light, and Math[/thrive_text_block]

 

 

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Review: Make It Real Volume 2 – And a 25%-Off Coupon Code at Make It Real Learning

Some time ago, I reviewed Make It Real Activity Library, Volume 1. Recently, they released a volume 2. Volume 2 is very similar to volume 1; once again, I appreciated how the series, designed as a curriculum supplement, provides numerous, stand-alone, real-world application problems for students. The series does not claim to be Christian, so Christian parents/teachers will want to discuss some of the lessons with their students, examining how we interpret the results or topic in a biblical worldview. Again, please see my previous review for more thoughts, as well as for a 25%-off coupon code good on all of the publisher’s products through the end of 2012.

Note: I received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy disclosure.

Mammoth Math Curriculum – And Free Worksheet Generators

Math Mammoth Review

Note: Please see these general guidelines and thoughts to help you as you choose math curriculum. Please also see our review policy disclosure, which is to comply with FTC regulations and explains our review policy.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Mammoth Math curriculum–a unique curriculum with lots of options (you can purchase it by grade or by concept, and it comes as either a download, physical CD, or printed material). Its flexibility could make it a good fit for those looking for a way to review or teach a specific concept or for a flexible textbook approach.

Whether you’re looking for a curriculum or not, you may want to check out the wide variety of free worksheet generators Mammoth Math/HomeschoolMath.net offers. The generators cover concepts ranging from the typical (such as addition and fractions) to the more unusual (such as foreign currencies and scientific notation)–and they’re all quite customizable. The ones on foreign currencies especially might be a fun supplement to use alongside learning about different countries. You could even cut out the coins from the worksheets, making them into pretend money, and then set up an imaginary store and buy things in the foreign currency. Make it even more challenging by looking up the exchange rate and estimating the cost in U.S. dollars!

The site also offers a downloadable sample of the curriculum that includes a generous amount of materials (more than 300 pages) when you sign up for their newsletter or their “Math Mammoth Tour” (an e-mail a day for seven days on the curriculum).

I’ve put my entire review below. If you’ve used the product, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment!

Disclosure: I requested and received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy here.

Math Mammoth ReviewReview of  Math Mammoth

Publisher: Math Mammoth (written by Maria Miller)
Grade Level(s):
Curriculum series covers grades 1-6; worksheet series covers grades 3-8.
Price:
$32/grade for the complete curriculum as a download; downloads on individual topics are available for less than $7 each; worksheets only (no teaching text) and discounted bundle packages are also available. Print versions are available (prices vary) through LuLu.
Where to Obtain:
www.mathmammoth.com

Math Mammoth offers both a complete curriculum series for grades 1-6 (their Light Blue Series) and the same basic material arranged by concept (their Blue Series) for those looking for a workbook on a specific concept as opposed to an entire grade. They also have just worksheets without concept presentations for grades 3-8 available, although these Golden and Green series would be more suitable for tutors or classroom teachers than for homeschoolers.

The material is available in either a digital format (either downloadable or on a CD) or a printed format. The digital format cuts down on the initial cost, although you will need to print out the worksheets yourself.

This curriculum is designed to be extremely flexible—the author, a math teacher and homeschool mother from Finland, encourages users to use the books as a “framework,” spending as little or as much time as needed rather than focusing on finishing the entire book. In her “User Guide,” she explains that while some pages are filled with drill problems, parents only need to assign the number the child needs—even if that is only one half or two thirds of the total ones given (a suggestion I heartily echo, no matter what curriculum you use).

Each chapter covers a concept and includes an overview for the parents, a list of related online resources, and presentations and worksheets for the students. The author has also created online worksheet generators (see www.homeschoolmath.net/worksheets) parents can use to generate additional worksheets if needed (although there are an ample number of worksheets in the books themselves).

As far as content goes, I appreciate how the curriculum tries to explain concepts with understanding and brings in practical word problems or examples. The program also uses a lot of pictures to help students connect abstract numbers with real-life objects. I did not notice examples of math in science, historical information, or any mentions of the Lord. The program includes a lot of game suggestions and links as supplements. Parents will want to selectively use the links and supplement the material with more science and history examples, as well as bring in the biblical perspective. The program also contains a lot of problems for each concept, and I definitely would echo the author’s reminder to only use what you need.

I see the program’s greatest strength as an inexpensive way to review or teach a specific concept. For example, if your child is struggling with fractions, you could purchase the fractions material from the Blue Series and work through some of the pages. I know a mother who is using it that way and really liking it. Since the material comes as a download, you only need to print out what you need. It could also be a good fit for those looking for a flexible textbook approach.

Free Online Workshops on Math and a Biblical Worldview – Next Week

I just found out that the Homeschool Channel will be streaming workshops by James Nickel, author of Mathematics: Is God Silent?, next week (April 11-15). I’ve copied below the schedule.

If you’re able to listen in, I’m sure they will be filled with thought-provoking ideas. Mr. Nickel is an incredible mathematician who has spent years exploring how math can be taught from a biblical worldview. It was his book that first opened my eyes to God’s handiwork in this oft-misunderstood subject.

Monday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 203 – Algebra: The Language of Science
Tuesday, 4 p.m. EDT  Ep. 210 – The Third R – Restoring the Rudiments
Wednesday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 219 – Mathematics: Is God Silent?
Thursday, 4 p.m. EDT Ep. 232 – Study Habits from the Proverbs
Friday,  4 p.m. EDT Ep. 245 – A Truly Christian View of Education

To watch, just visit www.thehomeschoolchannel.tv at the specified date and time.

Note: If you miss these showings, I was told the videos will be played again periodically (check the program guide each week to find out when). The videos will also be available for sale; you will need to designate the episode number and name in the notes section of the web  order form.

Make It Real Learning Activity Library

Make It Real Learning Library

11/28/2012 Update: Make It Real Learning now has a Volume 2 as well. This post was originally a review of Volume 1, but I have added information on Volume 2, as they are very similar. Look at the bottom of the post for a 25%-off coupon good at Make It Real Learning through the end of December 2012!

I recently had the opportunity to review the Make It Real Learning Activity Library–a collection of e-books filled with practical worksheets that truly give students the chance to use math in real-life scenarios. While they do not come from a biblical worldview, their format lends itself to the parent picking and choosing which scenarios to use as well as discussing them further and could be a resource for those wishing to bring in practical examples.

I’ve put my entire review below. If you’ve used the product, please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment!

Review of  Make It Real Learning Activity Library

Publisher: Make It Real Learning
Grade Level(s): K-College (Volume 1)/K-Grade 3 (Volume 2); see first paragraph below.
Price: $39.99/each volume of e-books (11 in each volume). Note: The publishers have offered a 25% discount (good through the end of 2012) for readers of this blog; this is not an affiliate code, and I do not get any commission on it. I am just passing it along in case any of you wanted to use it. To use the discount, enter christianperspective25 as the code during checkout at www.makeitreallearning.com.
Where to Obtain: www.makeitreallearning.com

Like its name implies, the Make It Real Learning series by Frank C. Wilson seeks to make math real for students, answering the question of “when am I ever going to use this?” Each volume in the series consists of 11 e-books, each one of which contains 10 real-world scenarios. The e-books range from one on fractions, percents, and decimals to e-books on more advanced topics such as geometry, algebra, linear functions, and quadratic functions. The majority of the e-books deal with upper-level concepts. The website offers a general mapping of lessons to grades for volume 2, although homeschool parents should be aware that most homeschoolers are not required to follow these standards* (many homeschool curriculums vary from them) and thus will want to look at the lessons to see if their student knows the needed skills.

Each real-world scenario stands on its own and can be printed and handed straight to the student. Duplicate worksheets containing answers (and often detailed solutions) are included. The formatting is professional and clean. The scenarios could be used as periodic assignments to both provide a refreshing break from everyday math lessons and to teach students to use math practically. The e-books do not typically present any of the math itself (so you will want to make sure your child knows the information needed to complete the scenario); they are designed for the student to apply what he has learned or is learning to real-life scenarios.

The scenarios themselves vary greatly. Some of them rank among the most excellent, well-thought-out activities I have encountered. For example, students will get to find the cost of keeping a pet (using real petsmart.com data), make cell phone comparisons and investment decisions, examine different pool designs, and understand the math behind various pieces of data all around us we take for granted. On the flip side, the books also include scenarios mentioning topics I found unnecessary, such as AIDS and teen pregnancy. I would plan on finding some great scenarios, but know that you also might find some you would not want to use or would want to discuss. Many of the topics, such as those on health or population issues, warrant discussions and explorations of a biblical worldview of that topic. Others, such as those that examine aspects of God’s creation (such as the phases of the moon or the order in sound waves) just need a reminder that God is the One who put this incredible universe together. Since the material comes as an e-book, you have the ability to select just the scenarios that will work for your family by screening them on the computer and printing only those you want when you want them.

The thing I loved about many of the scenarios is that, unlike a typical word problem, they really take the student into the scenario and let them experience the decision in a way few math books even approach. When used selectively, I can see them being wonderful ways to present math as a practical tool, especially in the high school years where textbooks focus more and more on abstract math.

25%-Off Coupon Code

The publishers have offered a 25% discount (good through the end of 2012) for readers of this blog; this is not an affiliate code, and I do not get any commission on it. I am just passing it along in case any of you wanted to use it. To use the discount, enter christianperspective25 as the code during checkout at www.makeitreallearning.com.

Disclosure: I requested and received a free copy of this product to review. See my review policy here.

* For information on homeschool laws by state, see www.HSLDA.org. This is not meant to be legal advice. Requirements vary state by state.

An Article on Mathematics Education Worth Reading

A reader recently shared with me an article on teaching math titled “A Generous Education in Mathematics” (by Alice Horrocks). I found the article refreshing, as it echoed many of my own sentiments.

Written by a Ph.D. in math who has taught at the university level and is now homeschooling her children, the article encourages parents to see math as much more than memorization and skills. It shows how teaching math in a way more connected with history and life–which I would add is the natural outcome of embracing a biblical perspective toward math–leads toward the type of math education we ought to be providing.

After discussing what constitutes true education in math, the article explores what math is (including a paragraph about how “math is a description of the order God has put into His creation”) and some practical ways to truly educate children in math. I particularly liked the article’s comparison of math to music. Much as you would not want to just teach children musical scales, you would not want to just teach children to memorize times tables. Math, like music, should be more than drills.

You can read the article in Volume 1, Issue 3 of Magnanimity: A Charlotte Mason and Classical Education Newsletter. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

(To Mrs. P, thank you again for sending me this link.)

Free Videos: For All Practical Purposes

For All Practical Purposes

For All Practical PurposesFirst of all, thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the cover! It was VERY helpful. The graphic designer was able to make a few changes based on the concerns raised, making what I believe will be both a catchy and meaningful cover (I love the final design). Now it’s time to make some updates to the inside material and get it off to the printer : )

Secondly, I’d like to let you all know about a free video series that’s available on Google Videos: For All Practical Purposes. This series of 26 half-hour episodes does an excellent job presenting math’s practical uses in a fun and meaningful way. I was blessed by watching them several years ago when I was first beginning my  research, but I didn’t realize they were still available online until a website reader e-mailed me this past week with the news. (Thank you, Angela!)

A far cry from a boring classroom presentation, these videos make math both interesting and exciting through real-life examples and footage. I loved how the series made complex concepts simple, enabling the viewer to learn without even realizing it. One or two of the videos have very brief sections that discuss evolution from a non-biblical perspective, but on the whole the videos stayed clear of the topic of origins and focused on math’s practical uses. Since these videos were produced in the 1980s, a few videos feature rather archaic computers; however, the principles the videos present about math in action have not really changed.

This series is great for high-school students (or younger with assistance). One idea would be to watch a video a week as a supplement to your middle school or high school math course as a way of showing math’s usefulness in real-life situations–a usefulness that’s only possible because our consistent, faithful God holds all things together! The company that made this series has also produced a full sized high-school/college textbook by the same title. I was able to purchase one through AbeBooks (http://www.abebooks.com) for $3.99, including shipping.

Free Geometry Resource

Cornerstone Curriculum, publishers of the Making Math Meaningful curriculum series, is offering a rough draft of the first several hundred pages of their geometry course for free online. Based on a quick look at the course, it seemed to present geometry as a useful tool. I have looked at some of the author’s other resources and know he strives to help students really understand the concepts he presents and not merely memorize formulas.

Here’s a quote from one of the opening pages:

Geometry is all about measuring lines, angles, surfaces, solids, velocities and their interrelationships. In this study, you will act as a consultant, designer-planner, and builder. The projects will range from designing a tree fort in your back yard to planning the construction of a sidewalk and home on the hilly streets of San Francisco to charting the path of the earth around the sun. In the process you will learn the principles as well as the vast usage of geometry in everyday life. Geometry is used by graphic animators, artists, photographers, interior designers, engineers, architects, builders, construction teams, surveyors and doctors just to name a few.

The draft copy online does not contain answers to the problems, nor is it an entire course, but you could certainly use some of the application ideas or concept presentations from the free download. If you do, I’d love to hear how you liked it–as I’m sure would the author.

Math and Gardening

Gardening

Spring has arrived! The azaleas are in full bloom, reminding me it’s time to head outside and do some planting.

While working in the garden, you have a wonderful opportunity to have your child apply those math concepts he’s been learning! Graphing, multiplication, addition, measurement, area, perimeter–these and other concepts prove helpful in the garden. Why? Because math is a way of describing God’s creation! We can use math in real life because God created man with the ability to “subdue the earth,” and because He faithfully holds all things together in a consistent fashion.

Kidsgardening.org offers an entire section filled with ideas for teaching math while gardening. While written for school teachers, most of the ideas can easily be adapted to a home setting. Be sure to take a look at page 2, which offers a variety of simple ideas on how different concepts apply (you may want to print this page to consult throughout the summer). The other pages offer more detailed ideas.

The suggestions offered, as well as others you might think of, could be used or adapted for a wide variety of ages–a young child can help you count the number of earthworms in a section of soil (or the number of seed packets you need/the number of seeds to plant in each hole, etc.), while an older one can start a plant business or calculate the surface area of leaves.

Don’t let the ideas limit you. Even if you aren’t planning on growing a vegetable garden, you can still have your child grow some plants indoors or on the patio and measure their growth–or design a pretend garden on paper.

Speaking of designing on paper, you may want to use graph paper, letting each square represent a foot. The graph paper should aid in visually seeing how much area each plant needs.

Lastly, here’s a page with handy math formulas. It explains how to find the area of your yard, the amount of mulch and fertilizer you’ll need to cover it, and more.

Hope you have fun using math in the garden! Please let me know how your gardening applications go.

Math While Traveling

Traveling…and math? Most of us don’t couple the two in our minds, yet a lot of math goes into getting from one place to another. Here are just a few examples, along with some links to resources you can use with your children.

Math is used to help design airplanes, to find a plane’s capacity, to schedule flights, and more. See www.planemath.com for some engaging, interactive activities illustrating some of math’s aeronautical uses. NASA also has some more activities and lessons on aerospace topics, many of which show some of the math involved.

Whether your travels involve air or auto travel, this page titled “Mathematics on the Go” offers some simple ideas of how you can illustrate math’s usefulness while traveling. Some of the ideas would make great family games on your next car trip!

Math’s applications in traveling is just one example of how math serves as a real-life tool–a tool we can use because of God’s faithfulness in consistently holding all things together.