Tag Archives: math help

Old Dogs, New Math – book review and give away

26 Nov

Old Dogs, New Math: homework help for puzzled parents

Many thanks to The Experiment Publishing for sending me this book to review and offering to give a book away to one lucky reader!

Now onto the juicy bits…

I was a bit worried at first, but very curious. Math is NOT my strong point. And, following the principles of unschooling, I pretty much let my kids try to figure out a lot of stuff on their own after pointing them in the right direction. Plus, my husband is a whiz at math. So I manage to avoid a lot of painful questions by directing them to their father. But there are times when they ask me questions and I try to answer. They don’t know that I am struggling, but it is awkward and frustrating for me.

I was pleased to discover that this book was VERY easy to read. I mean, it was like reading a joke book or a choose-your-own-adventure book. Really easy. I was surprised. They made my difficulties seem rather brainless with simple explanations and examples. There are even little puzzles and games.

And what’s really fun for educational geeks like me… they explain how things used to be taught, how they are taught now, why teaching methods have changed, and why those changes make it difficult for parents to help their kids.

They also have test questions with real life kid answers and point out facts that help you discover how the kid got the answer (Nothing trickier for the parent than trying to figure out how and why the answer the kid came up with the wrong answer!)

My teenager even started reading it. He didn’t get very far because I kept hiding the book from him. (Oops) But he keeps bugging me for it. So that’s a pretty good sign too.

It is broken down into nice little sections:

Preparation – this is mostly for the parents covering such painful topics as “how do I overcome my own fear of math?” to “why do they do it differently these days?” as well as everyday tools that can be used for math education and an approximate grade/age guideline for math education in schools.

Arithmetic–And How It Has Changed – this goes into basic mathematics. There are nice simple to understand explanations, examples, and pictures, and even games to play.

Beyond Arithmetic – now we start getting into fractions and decimals and a little bit of geometry.

Questions and Answers – this not only has the answers to the puzzles that they give you throughout the book, but it also covers questions your kids will encounter throughout their schooling along with the answers (with or without a calculator). The best thing is they explain HOW to get the correct answer (and if there is more than one way to come to the correct answer they show that too).

And finally – of course there is a glossary and index and stuff.

Now, the big test. My daughter asks me the question “How old where you when I was 3?” So I pull out this handy little book and launch into an explanation of number lines and stuff. Not sure how much it helped her, but I sure felt a lot more confident.

Sure Math and fun didn’t seem to go together for me either. But let’s face it, math is a reality of school life. And we all want to help our kids to succeed. How can we help them if we don’t know how to play? This book makes that math nightmare less scary and much more fun.

And now for the give away!

The Experiment has agreed to send out a book to one of my readers. So how do you get one?

1. Mention this contest in your blog/tweet/Facebook status/forum. (Please don’t spam forums and groups. Only post on a forum or group if it is allowed and you are a regular member.)
2. Leave a comment on this post with a valid email address and a link to your posting. Please use a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.
3. Comments must be received by Sunday December 12, 2010 at midnight CST. Anyone who comments more than 3 times forfeits their chances. The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on Thursday December 16, 2010.

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New Math – Fun with Cards

14 Oct

I’m reading Old Dogs, New Math by Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew. It inspired me to try out some ideas with the kids to encourage math learning. So, today we spent some time playing cards.

First we played “13”. A solitary card game my mother taught me when I was a wee young lass. You start out by making a pyramid with the cards. Seven rows, with the top and bottom rows face-up, starting with one card in the first row and ending with seven cards in the bottom row. All cards are face value numbers, with the Jack for 11, Queen for 12, and King for 13. The objective is to clear the cards by matching up pairs to equal 13.

Even the five year old was counting and subtracting, trying to figure out which cards he would need to equal 13. The eight year old quickly figured out the 6+7 ALWAYS equals 13. And they all had fun.

After lunch we played “21” (which is really just Black Jack without the gambling debt). I’m sure most of you know the rules, but just in case – you start out with two cards (for older kids, one face-down, and the second face-up). And you hit (for more cards) or hold to try to get as close to 21 without going over, or “bust”. As you can see, the five-year old was all about the counting.

And we got to incorporate the number line into the whole fun as we tried to figure out what cards we would need to get close to 21 without going over. There was also the added bonus of aces being used for 1 or 11 added to the math fun.

Stay tuned for more on this interesting book. The teenager is reading it right now to see what all the fuss is about and I will be writing a review in the next few weeks. The publisher has also agreed to send a copy of this book to one of my lucky readers so stay tuned for more math fun. (Is that an oxymoron or can math really be that interesting?)

*Thanks to The Experiment Publishing for sending me a copy of Old Dogs, New Math to review.