Living Math with Miss Creativity

by Jimmie Lanley on May 27, 2011

math notebooking
Why “Piranhas eat mostly decayed antelope skin?” Because “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” is just not good enough for the non-conformist, creative child.

She must create her own mnemonic device.

No matter how odd it may be.

On the math front, we are still using Teaching Textbooks (TT) math. Sprite wrapped up level 5 and moved directly into level 6 which is already ¼th complete. (No, we are not “behind.” We are moving at Sprite’s pace.)

We have just finished Unit 2 of lessons, most recently reading about the invention of decimals, John Napier, Order of Operations, and the googol. We do the computer math (TT) and the math history lessons side by side, and I’ll continue that pattern for next year (7th grade).

The combination makes for a very well-rounded math curriculum, one in which a very creative child can find room for expression.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy May 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

I love letting the kids show their creativity. That’s great!

Looks like good herbs there too? Yum.


Bon Crowder May 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Good for her!

I was compelled to change the poem about dividing fractions to be:
When dividing fractions
Don’t bat an eye
Just flip the last
And multiply.

I couldn’t take telling my students “don’t ask why.”

My other fav:
‘Tis popular hobby of mine
A new value of pi to define
I would fix it at 3
For it’s easier you see
Than 3.14159.

That last one I swiped from someone else. I’m now inspired to create my own mnemonics!


Mary May 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

So here I’m finding another TT user. I am considering switching Anna (who is completing Horizons 4 now), and trying more of the approach you are using. She loves history, so maybe studying math historically along with the textbook approach will work better. She just doesn’t like math, and I’m hoping to make it more interesting for her. It also doesn’t help when your six year old brother is a math whiz (multiplies, divides large numbers in his head better than mom can). Ugh. I’m stuck. Any advice? She really MASTERS concepts with Horizons and doesn’t complain about it, but I’m wanting her to like to more. Am I making sense?

I’m looking at the Living Math site you are linking to, as well.

Another great post – I learn so much from you!


Joyce May 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

My 12 year old currently uses Horizons also and for the most part he likes it. One thing I don’t like is the teacher’s manual is really no help. However if it is not broke don’t fix it. Oh, and this is the one that does math in his head better than mom.

My 14 used TT this past year for pre-algebra and loved it. For the way he learns it was a perfect fit.

In the past we have used Saxon, Math U See, Bob Jones, ABeka, Rod & Staff and the Key To Series.


Joyce May 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Brett will be working on 7th grade next year also. Do you have any ideas about what else you will be using? We are eclectic so only the Lord knows what the fall holds, except for math.

Peace, <


Julie May 28, 2011 at 6:39 am

Thanks for reminding me that we work at our child’s pace. I’m always stressing a little here and there about math. We changed DD8 to TT3, and so far we are loving it. Not sure what the workbook is for yet, but maybe as she gets more into it she can do her work on there. So far she doesn’t need to write to find answers, but we just started.


Sandwich in Wi June 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Both my kids have tended to get burned out on the computer mode about half-way through the year and then have switched over to just using the book. The computer method is fun and novel at first, but after a while they tired of it and wanted to move more quickly and write their answers down more efficiently (rather than on scratch paper and then transferring to the computer).

So in our house, that’s what the book is for!



Penny June 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

Thanks! I love the living math ideas! I too have to remind myself that we go at the child’s pace not where the book says he needs to be. Always a great reminder.


Sandwich in Wi June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Jimmie, I read Sprite’s very funny mnemonic to my rising 7th grader and she laughed and laughed. The next day was order of operations in her algebra book and she totally lifted it for her own use!

So thank you, Sprite!



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