Both Roots and Wings

Reinventing My Life, and The Tumbleweed Report
Homeschooling Uncategorized

Math miracles!

Doesn’t the idea of teaching math to your children give you warm fuzzies?






Well, it should!


After 20 years of successfully homeschooling my children, and tutoring a couple hundred others more short term, (along with coaching countless moms how to teach,)  I definitely have a favorite pathway to teaching math.   This pathway has worked for all the kids I have personally taught/Tutored, and most of the ones I have helped other moms learn to teach. 


It is simple, and pretty painless, to be honest! Even fun!


It is a 3 step process.  Let me share with you my method of teaching math that works!


Before you learn about it, let me say this first.  A child should know how to count to 100 , and understand what numbers mean.  (The number 5 means five items…one, two, three, four, five.) If you are struggling to get your student ready to learn, I have some suggestions for you HERE.


Eventually your child is ready to learn to add, and that is were step 1 comes into play.  Young kids can start this way, and older struggling students can use the steps to catch up by really cementing the basics they may not have mastered!  Do steps one and two then transition back to their grade.  I have known adults that did this with their kids, and were amazed at how well it worked!  Wipe your child’s tears, (or yours) and tell them they can learn math far more easily.  Even have fun doing math!



I bought a CD.  (Yes, a CD,  but you can likely download the music too.) 

My kids listened to it as they went to sleep at night.  We sang it in the car, all of us!  Yes, even me.  It is a Christian based CD, and if that isn’t your thing just know it doesn’t do anything but refer to bible stories.  And it works!!  Each song counts by a number, most of them to 100, by different numbers!  One song counts by twos, another threes.  Fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, and tens also each have a song.


Why is this important?  It teaches them 2 plus 2, 6 plus 6, and so on.  Also, it teaches them to count by all those numbers which really helps in later math when they forget what 7×9 is, and they hum the tune and count by 9’s to reach the answer.  My kids tell me they did that even in college!  I now do this too.  It makes multiplication and division so easy to learn and master!  This is just a fun thing to do in the car, laying in bed, playing legos, or practicing the counting around the table. 

Find THIS CD  and it will amaze you at how well it works.  You just have to play it a LOT and sing with them.  That is it! 


Kids learn naturally and easily through music!  It is practically painless! 


I have seen little 2 year old siblings learn these songs along with their older siblings.  It’s a math miracle!  This is a one time purchase, and works for all your kids, and grand-kids!



A good “Base Ten” set. There are many types of sets.  May I give you some advice?m Do NOT by foam or soft base ten sets.  They get grimy, sticky, chewed on, and generally messed up.  Buy hard plastic.  Chances are, you will use them on more than one child, pass them to a friend, or save for grandchildren. You want them to last!  You want them to be hardy, sturdy, and easy to clean.  Let’s face it, children are going to spend time with them.  This is one thing I would not skimp on.


Base ten starts teaching kids from almost any learning style how to learn about numbers.  What does a 10 mean, how many tens in a hundred?  Is 16 just a 10 stick plus 6 squares?  what are place value columns? This teaches them these things, including seeing how buying, selling, and giving change work out.  They learn what the columns are in numbers…  Ones, tens, hundreds, one thousands, ten thousands, etc.  I have not yet met the child this set will not help.  I like to play games with it for a while every day for a good few weeks before I start kids in a formal math curriculum.  I recently was tutoring some children that were terrified of trying multiplication and division, and when I told them they already had been doing it with base 10, their jaws dropped.  They easily transitioned to worksheets in a matter of an hour.  No stress!  No more anxiety! Do NOT worry about how to use them, they all come with a super easy booklet on how to use.  Look at it, take their suggestions, and add more.  Do not try and make it a classroom lesson.  Make it a game!  Kids love to learn if it is fun!  Fun is always the goal in teaching kids.  So relax, have fun, and play math games with your Base 10 set.  No stress.



I like THIS ONE. 

I like THIS ONE too!


Math-It.  It is a fun game. They compete only against themselves!

You have a board of numbers that are answers to little flash cards made in a certain order with a color scheme to help your child learn them easier.  The object is to put them down on the answers as fast as they can, and they are allowed to look at the back of the card if they cannot remember the answer.  Once they are kind of getting them, I play the game with a huge bonus!  Each day they beat yesterday’s score, they get a dollar!  You can use computer time, some privilege, a tasty treat, what ever motivates your kids!  I paid out 3-5 bucks a week per child, and they mastered the first game, then the second, and then the third! 


Addition, doubling and halving numbers, multiplication, and so much more!  We made this a fun game, the kids tried to beat their score 3-5 times depending on their level of patience or excitement.  If they beat it first try, we would see if they could do it again as a bonus!


You can find Math-It HERE.  Again, this is also a one time purchase that you can use on all your kids, and anyone else that you want to teach!  Some sets actually come with a cassette.  But don’t worry, I never listened to it, and you don’t really need it.  It is pretty straightforward in the directions!


I had one or two students over the years that I had to add a couple steps.  Going through the few cards you add at a time, saying the problem and the answer several times before they started, for an added boost.  I paid out dollars only for beating scores without peaking, but a struggling student may need quarters each day if they are still peaking at the answers, for keeping their interest and for encouragement. Then move on to dollars.


The biggest things its, keep this fun!  Make it fun and cheer wildly when they beat their score!



I used Saxon Math.  My favorite books were the second and third editions, but you can use whichever you want.  My advice, however, is to stay with the same edition all the way through.  I am going to be honest, I purchased the 1st through 3rd grade workbooks from Saxon without the teachers keys.  It was something I didn’t struggle with, so I didn’t feel I needed them.  I also didn’t give them all those timed tests, and endless pages of just addition or subtraction problems.  They already had mastered them, or were working through them with Math-It while doing step 3.  Our philosophy was not to bore them to tears with what I call Twaddle.  (Extra worksheets to keep them busy.  UGH!) Twaddle is hard for the child, and hard on the parents.  Teaching your child should be easy!


I started working them through first grade worksheets.  If you have an advanced child, skip some of what they have mastered, by skipping pages, or doing 2 lessons but not all the problems.  A struggling student will do each problem with you there to explain or assist when needed.  Sometimes I would create another math problem like the one they struggled with to be sure they understood how to do a problem. 


Saxon is fabulous at giving lots of repetition and review to be sure a child has mastered each concept.  It is incremental so there are never huge leaps to cry through!  If you have one child that is not moving fast enough because he has mastered what he is practicing, you can skip some of what they know well by only doing a few of such problems. I have done two chapters some days for accelerated students, but only do the odds or evens. 


Long ago, I chose Saxon because my greatest homeschooling mentor recommended it, and because at that time, kids who used Saxon outscored all other kids on the SATS.  My kids aced the running start math portion, and started college at 16 in Pre-Calculus.  This trio of math tools, truly has been the fuel behind my kid’s math success, and I am still so grateful I!  I put together the pieces to this pathway to math.  Honestly, I have seen some kids jump right into the 2nd grade workbook, and seen some kids master things slower and not get through all the textbooks by 18,  but they mastered well what they learned!  This curriculum ROCKS!  You can find Saxon books by following the links below.

The 100 Sheep CD can be found HERE!

Math-It can be found HERE!

Saxon 1st grade workbooks can be found HERE!

Saxon 2nd grade workbooks can be found HERE!

Base 10 HERE!

(Find Saxon textbooks above these levels by clicking any of these links, and then searching for that grade once you get to Amazon.)


This path sets your child up for success, and puts them on the road to being able to learn and use math far easier through mastery.   I have never found anything I liked better than these three things.  I used them for my kids, used them with other kids, and have recommended them to everyone!


You will be amazed at what your child can do! I was, and I really do believe it was a miracle for our family. 


Good luck!  You can do it!


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Disclaimer:  At NO cost to you, I may receive a small compensation for any purchases you make through my links. 

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