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Math At Home? Noooooooo!

Try to have fun with the most painful subject for most high schoolers? Absolutely! Make it a game with no winner but your students (children)! For several years I taught high school algebra, but the textbooks just didn’t do my students justice. I also taught remedial algebra for kids who struggled like I did in high school. (My husband-to-be tutored me through the hardest parts) BUT, I had a teacher who told me I would never be smart enough to take college math. That was a real bummer because I was taught to respect my teachers; I believed her. God rest her soul, she is gone now, but I often think back and promise myself that I would never make a student feel inferior.

So, I managed to get a wonderful instructor in college and voila! I loved teaching math because I knew how they felt when they didn’t get it. We put away the text book and built things. One of the most successful was a motorcycle!

IDEA #1. We got a schematic from Harley Davison, pulled out all the individual parts, and created the equations for parts and cost. We took our own ‘schematics’ to a Harley Davison plant and the workers there showed us the bike we ‘built’ and went over the process with us. It was a blast! Think about all the boat manufacturers and dealers we have here, or the cost of fast-food your family spends. Even more simple, plan a garden and plot the costs of seeds and ‘labor’ each day. Anything that you can analyze, simple or complicated, is a teaching tool. Be creative and use what interests your children!

IDEA #2. Another project we did was to measure their bedrooms, or another room in their home, and then derive the parameter, volume and other formulas. Then we downloaded Google SketchUp for 3D illustrations and a little blueprint reading.

IDEA #3. Below is a link that will take you to some basic printable worksheets (which I detest because they can be just busy work) However, it is also easy to make them into a game. DO NOT make them a challenge for a winner. Kids learn differently and their learning curves are timed very differently as well. They should only compete with themselves. It’s like golf! When you are learning golf, you try to improve your score each time you play. If you are trying to learn your multiplication tables, take one number at a time and build on it. Look for patterns that will help, especially with your 9’s.

IDEA #4. Make a memory game out of the individual problems on the these worksheets. Match the problem with the right answer.

IDEA #5. Go here to to download a free Family Feud template.

IDEA #6. I have attached the template for Jeopardy that uses Google Presentation. If you don’t have a Google account or Google email, set one up ( 30 seconds tops) at It is by far the easiest I have found to edit and plays anywhere. I have given you the template so all you have to do is fill it out! Use it for any subject, or have your children make their own as a learning tool. Teachers learn to have the kids do the heavy lifting because kids are the learners!

IDEA #7. If you are learning algebra, practice equations that are simple, remembering ‘what you do to one side of the equal sign, you do to the other.’ Remember your ‘order of operations’ PEMDAS. Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction performed in that order. ALSO keep in mind that the majority of your mistakes will be in adding/subtracting and with negative numbers. Just watch your basic counting and don’t confuse that with the procedures. You won’t be quite so frustrated. Send me any problems you are stuck on and I will help you work them out.