Guest Post by Maria Miller
Summer math…. what should you do and where should you turn for resources?
There are lots of choices, and the first one (we could title this number zero) is…
(0) Do nothing…. Perhaps your child doesn’t need to study math during the summer and it’s simply time to take a break and enjoy the summer!
However, if you want to engage your child with math at least for part of the summer, consider these 7 suggestions.
(1) Spend time with brain teasers, puzzles and solving interesting problems. Do them together! They will develop your child’s (and your own) logical thinking and problem solving skills, which will help with math. Find a list of resources at www.homeschoolmath.net/online/problem_solving.php – and also google “brain teasers for kids”, “brain puzzles for kids”, or similar.
(2) Surf into one of the math websites filled with interactive tools, activities, simulations, and games, and let your children have a blast with them. Here are some:
* http://www.explorelearning.com/ – you can sign up for a free trial, or try each gizmo for free for five minutes.
(3) Go offline and play some math games with cards, dominoes, dice, and so on. Here’s the ultimate math card game, as you can use it for topics from simple addition to fractions & negative numbers:
Acing Math is a 69-page book filled with neat math games for grades K-6 that can be played with a standard deck of cards:
And here you will find lots more offline game suggestions:
(4) Buy or get from a library some math readers – story books that have math topics weaved into them. Check the “Reader lists” menu item at the top of the page at http://www.livingmath.net for book lists by math topic.
(5) Review the previous year’s math. I have authored Review Workbooks for grades 1-6 that provide a comprehensive review of a specific grade level of math, and include both topical and spiral review worksheets. They are available as inexpensive downloads ($5.50 apiece) or as printed books ($10.50 apiece). Check them out at http://www.mathmammoth.com/review_workbooks/
Here is a zero-cost solution for review: Get your student’s last year’s math book, or borrow from library a few math books for the grade the child just finished. They can even be ancient (such as from the 1980s); it won’t matter too much. Just get a book that contains review and/or test pages at the end of the each chapter. Then, every once in a while let your child work through those review pages in the book.
(6) Subscribe to an online math practice program for the duration of summer break. They allow your child to practice unlimited math problems and give you detailed reports. Typically, you pay $10-15 per month, which is quite reasonable if you are only doing it for 1-2 months over the summer. Examples include: IXL, Splash Math, Mathletics, DreamBox, DigitWhiz, K5 Learning, Kidscalculate.com, and Explorelearning.com. Most of them include a free 2-week trial – so one option is to use all of them in succession. 🙂
(7) There exist summer math programs specifically designed to hone children’s math skills just over the summer. Very few of them are online programs, but here’s one such:
For a list of resident summer math programs, go here:
Then, Problem of the Week programs are excellent if you’d like some variety and challenge, because they involve more difficult problems than what school books typically have. Math Forum offers a three-week free trial to the Problem of the Week programs they host (or you pay $15 for a year):
That’s it! I hope you found something useful to spice up your summer with math. 🙂
author of Math Mammoth books & website