Livingmath which I don't know why I ever stopped visiting from time to time in the first place. I asked what to do when you know what is best but lack courage and wisdom to take the step.
I know I had to leave for a while or for long, the MEP curriculum with my oldest because she simply is hating math and I know there has to be other way to learn this wonderful discipline. I know some of you find the livingmath approach in exclusivity to be somehow radical, but if you devote a constant time in your day, week after week, to propose the games, read the living math books, and do the hands on math activities that go with the concepts being presented in any more linear or formal curriculum, it does not have to be that costly, laborious, or weak in any aspect.
MEP Reception, while the oldest of seven thrives with Life of Fred which I recommend, the many living math books that I only used to read from time to time and that now are read daily in our math time for the day, and games I'm learning with her. These are some of the games we are playing:
- Mancala. You can watch this video that explains how to play. We made this one with an egg cartoon. I used the top to make what they call 'store', where each of the two players collects some of the stones or marbles. You can easily use beans. The color doesn't matter here, they can be several colors or just one. Our marbles are from a book called Board Games that I bought for 33 cents. I made this one with the egg cartoon because the board in the book for Mancala is flat. At the end of the game you can count your pieces and knowing there are 36 in total, find out how many your opponent has. I remember that watching a BBC documentary about math, I saw the conductor and math teacher play Mancala in a Middle East place where men played it with total mastery, and he did not stand a chance. We are playing this with no strategy, finding out things about it as we go. The fun part is that, whether you know about it or not, it is enjoyable from the first round.
- Backgamon: you can see our picture from the same Board Games book.
- We also played Battleship, but that one was not as quickly picked up by the girls, so it will have to come later. You can play Battleship with a square grid paper.
- Yatzee. What is Yatzee? It happens to be the game we always played when I was a girl. With five dice and three turns you need to get the most ones, or twos, or threes... each time you decide on a number, and after six rounds, or the rounds of three turns you decide, you see who got more points. It's excellent for multiplication.
- Cyberchase. It's a nice cartoon program that homes on a math concept per chapter.
There is much math you can learn in terms of stories, making up your own, reading about numbers in books, playing games, etc. I have the worksheets, that's fine, I can always look at what they propose, but not having to fill up one is making a wonderful difference in my oldest girl. Now I'm committed to keep up with this way of teaching and be faithful and committed to keep it up.