I am a firm believer in the saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” Although I love **routine **and **structure**, I dislike falling into **academic ruts**. There is really no reason to have boring homeschool lessons. There is so much out there to learn and a limitless number of **ways **to learn. If lessons are boring, it’s because we are getting lazy.

When math falls into a rut of “**read the textbook, do the workbook exercises, rinse, and repeat,”** it may be time to implement some math lesson CPR.

### 1. Create the Problems

Instead of doing the workbook problems, have your child **create his own problems** based on the math lesson. Writing a good math problem is actually quite difficult. Of course, he will have to **solve **his problem so that he can test **you **with it.

The problems could be word problems or numeric problems. Silliness is very encouraged in word problems. (Math does not need to be boring. If some humor makes it more fun, then encourage that.)

If you see that your child’s problems are all very *simple *and do not incorporate **all **that you learned, you can point that out with some probing questions, “I notice that all your problems…. Why did you do that?” Then remind your child of *tougher *problems to use and encourage her to add on a few “extra credit,” challenging ones.

### 2. Math Journaling

Write about your math lessons. Use **words **in sentence and paragraph form to explain the math topic of the day. Diagrams and illustrations are great additions to a math journal page. But try to avoid numbers as much as possible.

Using **words **to do math accesses another part of the brain and offers a real mental workout. For children who love words more than numbers, math notebooking may be a real relief.

### 3. Read a Living Math Book

There are so many great living math books to enjoy. Don’t discount picture books because you think your child is too old. All the picture books I’ve seen about math have been *far from childish*. On the contrary, the pictures are wonderful aids to help us visualize the concepts.

Don’t worry if you can’t find a living math book to fit the *exact *math topic your child is working on. You will either be reviewing something he has already studied or introducing something that will come later. Both possibilities are good.

### 4. Write a Math Poem

Writing a math poem is a double duty assignment. Check off your language arts **and **math for the day. Use a prescribed form (haiku, diamonte, or acronym) so that you can focus on the ideas and words.

### 5. Read a Biography of a Mathematician

I use the math history lessons from Livingmath.net which take us from ancient history up to modern day mathematicians. It gives children a healthy perspective of math when they realize that math has been **discovered **incrementally throughout history. Math isn’t just a way to torture people. It is actually a *science*.

The *Mathematicians are People, Too* books are great. Each volume has about a dozen short chapters, each covering a famous mathematician.

The beauty of each of these ideas is that you’re taking math beyond the strict realm of “math” and combining it with history and language arts. Encouraging those connections across disciplines is something that helps our children **learn to think**.

This post is featured on The Massive Guide for Homeschooling Math. Click to see more great math posts.

Mary says

Great ideas! I love the clock for the notebook!

Ticia says

That clock is a great idea. I’ve got a mini-math notebook to help kids with concepts, but that clock……. Hmmmmm, now I”m thinking…..

Mary says

Thanks for the ideas, Jimmie… as I’ve told you before I have a nine year old who is a bit reluctant with math. I think this year we’ll try the journaling and Life of Fred (per your suggestion). She likes to reteach the lesson to her brother and I on the white board, so we’ve hit on something there!

I always gain something when I read your blog! 🙂

min says

Great ideas and I love the clock too!

Penny says

Great ideas! I have a math whiz but he hates writing. I never thought of having him journal to use a different part of the brain. Thanks!

Joyce says

I love the livingmath site, but found it a little confusing, maybe that is because I need to spend more time there. Incorporating history into math is a wonderful idea. I have one question maybe you can answer, the books they list where do you get them?

Peace, <

Joanne says

Hi Jimmie,

I just wanted to congratulate you on winning my book over at Amy’s blog.

I pray it blesses you and your family!

Warmly,

Joanne

Mother of 3 says

I love the idea of studying a mathematician! That is not something we’ve ever thought of doing before.