New for Jack this year is daily written math practice. By the end of last year he was doing written math practice about twice a week. And he hated it. A lot. Last year I randomly made up practice sheets based on what we were currently working on. This year I'm using the free year of arithmitic facts practice sheets found at the Making Math Meaningful site. I reviewed that wonderful book previously here. The sheets are designed as a year long progression and the download has a great introduction to using them.Every couple of days I copy a few more days into Jack's math practice book. Who doesn't love a composition notebook?

Because they start off so easy, he is feeling very successful in math so far this year, and more willing to tackle difficult problems. I'm loving exploring all the different ways to understand math that I was never taught. Who knew math could be so much fun? Off to update that math notebook now!

Between Marsha Johnson's wonderful and free files, this fabulous Qualities of Numbers lesson from Littlest Birds and Our Little Nature Nest I haven't had to purchase much in the way of math resources. I will own all three of these though, by the end of summer. I think I'll be set for the next few years.

My friend Krista recommended Making Math Meaningful to me last summer. I am so glad that she did. It completely changed my approach to math for 2nd grade and going forward. Instead of looking at math as simple algorithms one must memorize and learn to compute with, it spends the beginning years of math with a focus on really understanding and grasping how the number system works. For example, it delays learning how to carry and borrow until third grade because if right away you learn to add 52+34 by adding the 4 and 2 and then the 3 and 5 you aren't necessarily having the experience of what 52 and 34 are. Even this was a radical approach for me, the idea that there was more than one way in math to get to an answer. The book opened me up to thinking about math in a whole new way.

From their website the book gives:

- curriculum guidelines for first - fifth grade
- overview of child develoment in each grade
- specific ideas for every math main lesson
- step by step progessions for learning math facts
- ideas for teaching math successfully

I just noticed this page on the website that has sample main lesson work as well as math practice downloads. Also, don't miss the math curriculum overview link, it is very good for planning.

Do note though, that it is not a math curriculum, rather it is a curriculum guideline. You still have to formulate your own lessons, but I found it very easy to do given the standards in this book. It does give you ideas for blocks. Also make sure you get the books by Jamie York, there is another curriculum by the same name with a very different content.

Games for Mathby Peggy Kaye is subtitled "Playful Ways to Help Your Child Learn Math". Even though I found it at the Steiner Library, it is available at most public libraries, and for a mere $1.34 on Amazon. I found it really helpful last year (2nd grade) and I anticipate using it again this year for first grade and third grade. It is designed for children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade, and I found the suggestions to be appropriate for each grade (i.e. Steiner won't roll in his grave if you play them with your kids).

*Games for Math* includes movement games and table games, plus doesn't require you to have any special equipment besides common things you already have around your house. Most importantly for us homeschoolers, every game in here can be played with one child and one adult (or two children once they learn it). Jack and I found ways to incorporate Lucy as well, even though the games weren't really for her - she could roll the die, move the counter, etc. It was discouraging to read all these great suggestions for math games in Waldorf resources only to realize that I would need a whole class full of kids to make it work. I found this book especially helpful for practicing math facts (boring without games, and we can only throw a bean bag so many times) and exploring place value in a concrete way. For me this book is a "must have" for math.

Vol 13 Mathemagic Childcraft The How And Why Library I haven't used this book yet, but I can tell it is going to be great. I wonder that there wasn't a Waldorf teacher involved in designing it, because it seems amazingly matched to the Waldorf math pedagogy. I read it mentioned in this blog post, and ordered it right away. It even has a quality of numbers section, who else does that? This year I plan on using it extensively for new quality of numbers ideas for Lucy, telling time (calendar and clock) and measurement. I especially like how it roots math in the lives of real people (long ago and today). The only problem with this book is that for some bizarre reason each chapter has a large picture of a real life freaky looking mime/clown.

These aren't books, but I want to list them because I found them so helpful in our math lessons.

The Concept and Teaching of Place Value A bit of a tough read (at least for me!) but I came back to it time and time again last year. His basic premise is that a deep and concrete understanding of place value is needed to truly be successful in mathematics.

Think Fun Math Dice We have had so much fun with this simple little game! It lends itself to being reinvented to whatever level your grades school child is with math. Like the Games for Math, this was an easy way for us to bring some fun to math without having a big group of kids.

Now, don't say I didn't warn you!