Is Charlotte Mason Math Different To Other School Math?
Did you know that there isn’t really such a thing as Charlotte Mason Math? She didn’t have much to say on the topic.
Her main comment was:
Mathematics depends upon the teacher rather than the textbook and few topics are worse taught; chiefly because teachers seldom have time to give inspiring ideas…which should quicken the imagination. How living would Geometry become in the light of the discoveries of Euclid as he made them!” Philosophy of Education p.233
So she encourages us to be good teachers aand give inspiring ideas however it’s still OK to use a textbook as well.
Living books can be used for homeschool math to encourage your child to see math in everyday life. Practical lessons are also very beneficial.
Teaching Homeschool Math
Math is a core topic to teach to children. It is easy to test as there is a clear right and wrong answer. Some children are maths geniuses and they will rip through the textbooks quickly and effortlessly. I’ve had one of those (but I take no credit for it as it came naturally to him). My others have needed much more instruction.
I have always used textbooks for my children’s homeschool math lessons. I’ve also supplemented their math lessons with math games, cooking activities, measuring and money counting. You can also use good living math books for reading.
There are many opinions on how to teach math and it’s not my specialty. I don’t want to sway you toward a particular maths program as I have jumped around a lot myself over the past 18 years. You will need to research how you want to teach this topic.
Using manipulatives for first math lessons, practical hands on items that your child can manipulate to find the results, helps your child understand the concrete concepts of maths, before they learn how to use the abstract ideas of numbers on a piece of paper. Many things can be used as manipulatives for counting such as, marbles, forks, spoons, pebbles, dried beans etc.
After working with real objects, you may also help your child to make a mental image of real-life objects to help them do their addition and subtraction. For example: “If we have six people for dinner tonight and I have already put out 3 plates, how many more plates will I need to get out so everyone has a plate?”.
It’s usually best to start all of your lessons with concrete example – not just addition. For counting and addition Charlotte Mason encourages counters, using buttons, beans and dominoes. For adding money use real money. Introduce textbooks but make sure children grasp counting and addition by testing them yourself with questions
Learning the timetables can be a struggle. Kids need a lot of practise with this and once they know them maths becomes easier. Flash cards, verbal drill, and speed drills. You can usually begin teaching a form of multiplication using skip counting. 2-4–6- 8 etc.
Charlotte Mason Math Uses Short Lessons
This is an area that can differ to many homeschool math lessons. Charlotte wanted lessons kept short and for young children you will be a wise to listen. In the early years keep the lessons short around 10 to 20 minutes. Have children apply careful attention to their lessons.
Don’t overload your child with a range of different concepts in one lesson.
Drill and Revision
Children do need revision of concepts, formulas, and measurements. I have found that a short daily drill book on things they have already learnt to be an essential part of their math lessons. I use these in addition to their textbooks. For primary school you can usually find these types of books in bookstores stores and newsagents.
Suggested Curriculum For Homeschool Maths
Before you choose a curriculum please consider this important detail, you must pick a maths program you can confidently teach. What I mean by that is if you do not feel confident teaching in your math ability you will probably struggle with a maths resource that doesn’t have a lot of instruction.
Math is also a subject that may need tutors in high school if you do not feel confident in this subject.
Homeschool Maths Curriculum
- Alboe – Year 7 Maths Worksheets are great for maths revision. These 100 lessons are perfect to use with an online program. Written specifically for homeschooling. Grade 7 or Year 7 in Australia. Ages 11-13
- Alboe – Year 8 Maths Worksheets are great for maths revision. These 100 lessons are perfect to use with an online program. Written specifically for homeschooling. Grade 8 or Year 8 in Australia. Ages 12-14
- Singapore Maths curriculum. I used this till 6th grade for all my kids and I really liked it. They do follow the Australian curriculum quite well and they use the metric system.
- Saxon Math (America) is very comprehensive and will give your kids a good grounding but lessons take a long time (up to an hour a day in later primary).
- Life of Fred (American) I do like this program but it’s really best used as a supplement. The terms used are often advanced and the measurement and money problems require extra effort to solve.. The story of Fred’s antics and his ridiculous math problems delighted my children and they read them for fun. Get it here.
- Right Start Math is also American and popular.
- Teaching Textbooks is quite popular because it is a computer based course. Many homeschoolers use this. They recently updated their program in 2019.
- MEP – A free British math primary program. You’ll find the website here. It looks a bit overwhelming at first but it’s very good.
- Khan Academy is another place to go for particular lectures on concepts. It’s free to join.