Math with Picture Books

For several years now I have been determined to gather a collection of math picture books and use them to add interest to our math studies. I have failed to accomplish this each year, but this year I actually did it! I’m going to share our reading list in a minute, but first I’ll tell you how we’re using math picture books in our homeschool.

 We read a picture book each week.

 That’s it. Everyone reads a math picture book each week, from the 14 year old down to my 9 year old (my 16 year old is trying to finish up Algebra 2 while doing Geometry, so she’s excused).   Some will be overly simple for my older kids, or go over the head of my younger one.  Others may give a little food for thought, or explain a concept in a way that finally makes something click.

Our Math Picture Book List

1. Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book

2. Shape Up! Fun with Triangles and Other Polygons

3. Multiplying Menace

4. Multiplying Menace Divides

5. Full House: An Invitation to Fractions

6. What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?

7. Actual Size

 8. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Early Mathematics

9. Mummy Math

10. Apple Fractions

11. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

12. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

13. A Remainder of One

14. On Beyond a Million

15. Math Potatoes

16. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

17. Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra

18. Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

19. Math Curse

20. One Grain of Rice

21. Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone

22. Cut Down to Size at High Noon

23. If You Made a Million

24. The King’s Chessboard

25. How Big is a Foot?

So far, this is a great success! I have my youngest choose a book for me to  read aloud to her each week. That way I get to experience them all too. Math with picture books is one of my very favorite things about our new homeschool year.

Till next time!

The Great Math Debate Part 1

I am in a new position this year as I choose our materials for next school year.

I need a new math program.

Math has been our one constant through all our years of homeschooling. Every child so far has started Rightstart A in kindergarten and continued on in it each year. In another month or two though, Grace will be finishing up RightStart Level E and while there is a Level G (why no F?) I don’t think we are going to use it.


It is a whole year of geometry, with a bit of review thrown in- at least from what I can tell. RightStart recommends that you combine Level G with Videotext Pre-Algebra, thus stretching the level out for two years and preparing the child to go into algebra in either 7th or 8th grade. I wasn’t able to find very much information about using the program in this way, so I am reluctant to try it. I like to see at least a few reviews of a program and know that kids have succeeded with it before giving it a try. 

Also- RightStart isn’t going to take us up through high school math anyway. I think it’s probably better to get a year of non-algebra math from another program under our belt and then progress (hopefully) with that same program up through high school level math. A year to cement things and make sure we’ve got basic arithmetic down.

Ideally this will be the first and last time Grace switches homeschool math programs. Math is the one thing I really hate to jump around with- so I’ve had to nix Math Mammoth, because it doesn’t go past sixth grade. My top contenders as of last night were Teaching Textbooks, Math-U-See, Saxon, and Singapore. I spent almost two hours last night reviewing the Teaching Textbooks website and reading threads about it over at The Well-Trained Mind. I have come to the conclusion that Teaching Textbooks would probably be great for me (as a non-mathy person) but may not be challenging enough for Grace (who is definitely mathy). My initial feeling is that Math-U-See may fall into the same category. But I need to do more research.

Right now I am leaning towards either Saxon or Singapore. I need to do more research on both of these. My initial concerns are that Saxon may feel a bit too intensive or dry and TWTM recommends that Singapore be supplemented (though it seems Singapore may sell supplementary materials). So off to do more research!

Either way, I am seriously considering using Life of Fred as a supplement to whatever sixth grade math we decide on.

My Favorite Homeschool Resource


The first answer that came to mind was our library cards. I honestly don’t think I could homeschool half as effectively without the library. But then I thought: “Nah, too obvious.” So I’ll share another of my favorites. It’s hard to narrow down to just one favorite, but this one is definitely in the top five. 
It’s the RightStart Math Games Kit. We have had soooo much fun with this over the years. The manual consists of instructions for lots and lots of different games. They are all organized according to topic and then according to difficulty level. There are sections for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, clock games, money games, percents and fractions, and numeration. Each section starts out with instructions for the easiest games, with subsequent games getting gradually more difficult. 
You can purchase just the math card games manual from Rainbow Resource, but you must also have the game cards to use alongside. The cards are fairly sturdy. Most of them are laminated. I did purchase an extra set when my third child started math because we were missing some and there was some damage since the cards had seen so much use. This is one homeschool purchase that has definitely been worth the cost, though.

My kids love to play the math games; it is the highlight of their math lesson! Some of these games are included within the RightStart lesson books, but the manual includes many, many more.  The kit could would work well as a supplement to any math program,to help reinforce concepts.

Most of the games have been hits with the kids, with very few “flops”. And if one game doesn’t do the trick, there are many more to try. Our favorites are “Sum Rummy” (multiplication), “Corners” (addition), “Clock Memory”(telling time), and “Go the Dump” (addition). Even my three year old enjoys playing the games!

The Rightstart Math Games Kit-  a huge hit in our homeschool!

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to visit The Homeschool Classroom on March 15th to check out other responses!