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Using Children's Literature to Enhance the Homeschool Mathematic Curriculum

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Are there any tricks I might use to simplify difficult math concepts for my teenager?

Using Children's Literature to Enhance the Homeschool Mathematic Curriculum

Children of all ages love read-alouds, processing the sound of language with the visual pictures, growing both visually and audibly as they travel through the story. Throughout history, stories have been the medium used to pass down history, fairy tales, life lessons and other stories of make-believe. Today, children's literature has expanded into all areas of the academic curriculum, using picture books to teach mathematics, science, language arts, social studies and art. It is not uncommon for many middle school teachers to utilize children's picture books as a medium to teach character, plot, point of view and other writing fundamentals. Taking a seemingly simplistic children's picture book and dissecting it with teenage students allows for a simple yet ultimately complex group of ideas to be broken down into smaller pieces that can be processed without fear. For many middle school students, the “dismissal” of using a children's book also frees that same teen from believing the concept being discussed is complex. It is easier for the teen to believe the ideas being discussed are simple because they are in a “kid's” book. A perfect example is Math Curse by Jon Scieszka. As a children's book, this is a fundamental piece of math literature that is perfect for any homeschool math curriculum. The book takes the simple daily activities of a young child and provides detailed descriptions of every type of math problem that is encountered in the daily life. It is funny, simple to read and yet it packs a “powerful punch” that shows how important math is in reality. Not only do children, teens and adults enjoy the overall humor of the text but also in the powerful revelations on how many times we work with math without even thinking about. It is an excellent book to read for someone that is intimidated or struggles with math as it clearly shows how everyone uses math to some degree on a daily basis without even realizing it.



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Lynne Christen