We often hear about the “good old days” and bringing them back, but for the most part we go about our daily routine and somehow don’t think that it’s possible to do that. It does seem like the pace of modern life is speeding up beyond all recognition, and we all wonder where the good times went. We ask, where is the glue that holds family and friends together? Fortunately for those who are homeschooling and/or working at home, you’re already more than halfway there, since you’re spending a lot of time together and at home, rather than at school or work.
Though it may seem difficult at first to recapture this strength of feeling and bonding among family and friends, it’s not really so out of reach. It’s similar to establishing an exercise routine. At first it’s a major struggle with every run, walk, bike ride or swim: a seemingly huge mountain to climb. But once a momentum is built up, it seems strange not to exercise!
Just so with good old fashioned family fun. You can struggle through the first, difficult times of coaxing everyone away from the TV or the Wii or the video game, but eventually the benefits of your efforts will pay off. You and your family and/or friends will find yourselves having a good time and loving it, wanting more and more of it. And you can also use the games to make a seamless connection with your homeschool curriculum.
These are two of the most favorite family games, and they’ve been math-adapted so you can have fun with them and can also apply them to your homeschool math curriculum.
Math Charades (2-12 players: the more the merrier)
Players are divided into two equal teams. Each player from team #1 writes an equation on a slip of paper (like 7X8=56 or 32-14=18), and gives one equation to each member of team #2. Each player on team #2 acts out his or her equation for the rest of the team, indicating the operation with crossed fingers for addition or multiplication, a horizontal index finger for subtraction, and the same for division with two dots indicated). Answers are shown with fingers. Correct answers are acknowledged with a silent nod, YES and incorrect answers by a silent shake of the head, NO. Play continues for each equation until the correct answer is given. If needed, paper and pencils can be used by the players, and/or a large times tables chart can be posted on the wall. Use a clock or watch to time the teams, and the team with the shortest total time wins that round.
Bingo! (2-12 players and a caller: the more the merrier)
Use small squares of paper to write numbers 1-75, with the following letters: 1-15/B, 16-30/I, 31-45/N, 46-60/G, 61-75/O. Write these letters and numbers on the board or a large piece of paper on the wall as well. All players make a Bingo card with 25 squares, 5 rows of 5 squares each. B I N G O is written across the top, one letter above each of the 5 columns. As s/he consults the list of numbers and letters, each player chooses random numbers from every letter’s group, writing them in numerical order down each row, while leaving the center space (a FREE space) open. Markers (buttons, stones, glass gems) are given to all the players (25 each). The 75 squares of numbered and lettered paper are placed in a bowl for the caller to call, one at a time. The first player to spell BINGO, across, down, or diagonally, wins. For an extra challenge, fill up all 25 spaces!! Players can total their columns at the end to earn extra points for correct sums.
Music is a natural partner with math, and you can further enliven your homeschool math curriculum with old favorite songs. Find songbooks at your local library or search the Internet for lyrics and/or sound tracks. Here’s one to get you started. Try your songs in rounds as well!
‘Tis the gift to be simple,
‘Tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
‘Til by turning, turning we come round right.
Have fun playing and singing and know that your homeschool math and all other subjects along with the well being of your family and friends will reap the rewards of your efforts!
By: Marin Lipowitz
This article has been written by an expert associated with Math By Hand, a leading company providing homeschool math curriculum ships worldwide.