So summer is almost here, and it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy life. And if you’re like me, you’re hoping for a chance to get to all those fun projects and activities you never found time for during the school year. For us, those activities will hopefully include crafts, swimming, nature hikes and nature journals, art, and of course, reading lots of good books just for the fun of it.
And then there’s math…..!
Yes, I’m hoping to keep the kids sharp in their math skills over the summer, so they aren’t too rusty when we start school full-time again in the fall. Finding and keeping a math curriculum that suits me and works well for the kids has been a moving target ever since we began homeschooling four years ago. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve switched math programs, BUT….this past school year we used one curriculum the whole year, and I’m not planning to switch any time soon, because I love it!
You may have heard about it. Its name gives you a clue as to the unconventional nature of it –“Life of Fred Mathematics.” Here’s a description of it taken from the Life of Fred web-site itself:
“No other textbooks are like these. Each text is written in the style of a novel with a humorous story line. Each section tells part of the life of Fred Gauss and how, in the course of his life, he encounters the need for the math and then learns the methods. Tons of solved examples. Each hardcover textbook contains ALL of the material – more than most instructors cover in traditional classroom settings. Includes tons of proofs.
Written by Dr. Stanley Schmidt with the intent to make math come alive with lots of humour, clear explanations, and silly illustrations that stick in the mind. The student will learn to think mathematically.
Completion of this series prepares student for third year college math.”
The kids enjoy this math curriculum, especially the funny stories — which we get to hear at the dinner table! But there is real work and real problem-solving included along with the funny stories. The work is even challenging enough to produce frustration in the kids at times, just like any other math curriculum — even the ones that claim to be a “no more tears” math curriculum. (I don’t believe such a curriculum exists, after trying several myself. 😉 ) What I love about this curriculum, though, is the way it makes a math concept stick in your mind through the use of a story, a technique which I believe fits very well with the rest of our literature-based Charlotte Mason curriculum.
The sub-title on these math books is “Math — as serious as it needs to be.” I know one thing for sure, if they’re going to have to do math over the summer, my kids would rather learn math through stories than through a sheet of practice problems any day, hands down!
If you’re interested, check out the link above for more information and to see sample lessons. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.
(I really will get to all the fun stuff in my next post!)