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Teach math in a non-traditional relaxed no fear way!

Alison "rhmmom"
The list author says: "I'm not really interested in my children being math "whizzes"...I want them to have a good understanding of everyday math...to be able to do mental math and not have to rely on a machine to do it for them. I want them to really understand the math concepts we use in our everyday lives. Math is really cool...who knew? Hopefully my kids will.

My new favorite math curriculum is Teaching Textbooks, which is not available on Amazon.

We do use a regular math curriculum in a relaxed way, but as with all subjects here, we choose to supplement with literature, games and life related activities. Often it is through these non-tradition ways that my children learn and retain mathematical concepts! This list contains mostly books, I also have a list of games that we play in our relaxed homeschool as well. Some of the books here are about life skills...after all, math IS a life skill with real application...isn't that the real point of teaching it in the first place?

I hope this list might inspire some to rethink traditional math teaching."
Everyday Math for Everyday Life: A Handbook for When It Just Doesn't Add Up
Everyday Math for Everyday Life: A Handbook for When It Just Doesn't Add Up
"Great book for real life math application...I like to look up different ways to introduce a new concept."
Arithmetricks: 50 Easy Ways to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide Without a Calculator
Arithmetricks: 50 Easy Ways to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide Without a Calculator
"Without a calculator, oh my!  This is a fun book...my kids enjoy knowing little tricks, and I've learned some things too!"
Ten Sly Piranhas
Ten Sly Piranhas
"Funny and cute...counting backwards from 10...you can adapt this to other concepts as well."
One Hungry Cat (Hello Reader! Math Level 3)
One Hungry Cat (Hello Reader! Math Level 3)
"The illustrations in this book make me laugh.  Great for introducing fractions, dividing and multiplication"
The Grapes Of Math
The Grapes Of Math
"Great book to sit and cozy-up on the couch with, laugh a bit and do some math...really!"
Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving
Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem-Solving
"math and art at the same time!"
Family Math (Equals Series)
Family Math (Equals Series)
"my highest recommendation...many ideas to implement here!"
Measuring Penny
Measuring Penny
"Wonderful book...girl measures her dog in all kinds of ways"
Millions to Measure
Millions to Measure
"Fun...great book on measuring and history of measuring"
Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books)
Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books)
"Nice book with tangrams included."
Hannah's Collections
Hannah's Collections
"This came in a kit from our library (see mother goose kit or what's the big idea)...in this story Hannah collects all kinds of things and organizes them in many ways (patterns, same vs different, big, small etc...)."
The Button Box
The Button Box
"Really love this book....great for how things can be organized, how are they the same or different.  Start your own button collection and start "classifying", discuss venn diagrams.  Also can then discuss taxonomy.  Right after we read this my son found a jar of buttons at a thrift shop.  Now he is hooked!"
Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever!: 130 Delicious Cookie and Dessert Recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields
Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever!: 130 Delicious Cookie and Dessert Recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields
"A huge benefit of homeschooling is that we are able to teach in a relaxed, loving atmosphere, real life skills that also promote family closeness.  Make cookies with your kids (or just cook with them).  Practical, useful, needed math that will serve them a lifetime!"
Melissa & Doug Pirate's Bounty Floor Puzzle- 100 Piece
Melissa & Doug Pirate's Bounty Floor Puzzle- 100 Piece
"Yes, my 6 yo son is "into" pirates....puzzles are fun, interactive (when you do them together) and spatial.  Talk about shapes, patterns, etc..."
Crazy Machines: The Wacky Contraptions Game
Crazy Machines: The Wacky Contraptions Game
"I'm not a big fan of electronics, but this software is excellent.  Fun for the kids, problem solving and logic."
Let's Try It Out with Towers and Bridges : Hands-On Early-Learning Activities
Let's Try It Out with Towers and Bridges : Hands-On Early-Learning Activities
"This was another Big Idea kit from the library.  Build with blocks and other supplies, explore strategies used in civil engineering...What shapes increase the strength of structures?  Kids learn and can then implement in their everyday play."
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book)
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book)
"Title looks daunting...but this is a very practical life-skills type of book that will serve your children well."
Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
"Math history!  Interesting and inspiring.  My husband also loved to listen as I read along."
The Mary Frances Sewing Book: Adventures Among the Thimble People
The Mary Frances Sewing Book: Adventures Among the Thimble People
"Any sewing books could be added here...the point is that sewing is a life-skill that requires math."
Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects
Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects
"Oh, such lovely little projects that do require math and a lot more...reading and following directions, attention to detail, art, patience and fun!!"
Buckles & Bobbins: A Beginning Sewing Book for Boys
Buckles & Bobbins: A Beginning Sewing Book for Boys
"And another sewing book for boys...include this with button collecting and sorting"
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth
"Wonderful picture book...math history.  After reading this look up Erastosthenes project on the web and do an experiment!"
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks)
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks)
"And yet another cook book.  I want my children, as grown-ups to be able to take care of themselves.  Again, bake together...teach them measuring skills, baking skills and just what is yeast and why does it work (math, science, life skills, nutrition)"
Woodworking with Your Kids: Over 30 Projects for All Ages
Woodworking with Your Kids: Over 30 Projects for All Ages
"As with sewing and cooking, building things together with your kids will teach them valuable life skills and math that sticks! Look for project books that suit your needs...I particularly like bird feeders and  houses....kids learn math while building, then learn about birds and develop a love that lasts a lifetime!"
Follow the Line
Follow the Line
"This is a cool book we borrowed from the library...reminds me of etch-a-sketch drawings...follow the line and on each page there are things to count."
Seven Blind Mice (Reading Railroad)
Seven Blind Mice (Reading Railroad)
"This book, in it's simplicity, can be used in so many ways...introduce days of the week, colors, numbers,parts vs whole, sets, ordinal numbers for math.  I've also used it as a starting point to discuss history...how seeing things from one side gives an incomplete picture."
Anno's Magic Seeds (Paperstar Book)
Anno's Magic Seeds (Paperstar Book)
"Really love this book...it is deep in the math concepts it teaches and will grow with your child. Ordinal numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying...within a story that speaks to taking care of yourself and others, love of family...even mentions God.  Wonderful!"
Magnetic Poetry Add & Subtract Magnets
Magnetic Poetry Add & Subtract Magnets
"My 6 yo son enjoys these...magnets and math facts."
Learning Wrap-ups, Multipication Wrap-ups
Learning Wrap-ups, Multipication Wrap-ups
"My daughter used these when she was memorizing her multiplication facts.  We own all the operations and have used them with both children."
Cuisenaire Rods Kit for Fractions, Wood, Grades 4-6 (12 Trays, 1 Set of Overhead Rods, and Book)
Cuisenaire Rods Kit for Fractions, Wood, Grades 4-6 (12 Trays, 1 Set of Overhead Rods, and Book)
"Cuisenaire rods are an amazing and versatile tool for teaching years of mathematical concepts.  Highly recommended!"
Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail
Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail
"horrible title, but the math teaching is very solid and makes more difficult concepts very easy to understand.  My daughter and I both enjoy this book."
Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks
Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks
"GREAT book...tricks here that I've not seen elsewhere.  Very cool."
Algebra Survival Guide: A Conversational Guide for the Thoroughly Befuddled
Algebra Survival Guide: A Conversational Guide for the Thoroughly Befuddled
"Great easy to understand first algebra book, get the workbook as well and Pre-algebra Blast-off for a fantastic introduction and explanation of negative integers"
Card Game Roundup - Pre-K to 1: Math Games the Roam the Concept Range
Card Game Roundup - Pre-K to 1: Math Games the Roam the Concept Range
"math related card games for k-2, 2-3 with extension concepts.  Fun!"
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra As Serious as it Needs to Be
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra As Serious as it Needs to Be
"Just discovered this series.  Funny!"
Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss
Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss
"Another great book from Danica."
Hot X: Algebra Exposed!
Hot X: Algebra Exposed!
"And yet another.  My daughter does seem to "get" her explanations better than any other.  These books also include practice problems.  I also like her inclusion of essays from math-minded smart women."
Zoombinis - Mountain Rescue
Zoombinis - Mountain Rescue
"As math-related software goes, Zoombinis has had longevity in my home."
World of Goo
World of Goo
"Addicting, requires logic and perseverance."
Sumoku
Sumoku
"wonderful, adaptable, multi-age math game"