Tag Archives: math

Math Makeover (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Part 1, Math has not been a favorite subject for my two girls. On the other hand, my almost four year old totally thinks he has mastered it (he perceives himself to be a master of many things). The following is an actual conversation I observed between my three children:

S&S: “What’s 1+1?”
C: “Two!”
S&S: “What’s 2+2?”
C: “Four!”
(me: getting excited about his math prowess)
S&S: “What’s 3+3?”
C: “Fire engine!”

He was looking right at them when he said this. There was no fire engine in sight. This is actually a fairly typical conversation with my son. No one really knows what he will say or do next. Anyway, back to math.

This year, I wanted to “heal” us a little from the bad math vibes from last year. I wanted to give my kids confidence in their skills so that they could realize math can be fun.

That’s when we discovered Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

Just as it says, Bedtime Math makes math fun, relate-able and relevant. It transforms numbers from something kids dread into something they can really look forward to, (like staying up late for a bedtime story). While it isn’t a curriculum, it is a fun stand-alone story book that my kids ask to read. Each short story has three different math problems at the end, geared toward three different knowledge levels. Sometimes my three year old can answer the first question, and my older girls can usually get all three, so these are really geared towards younger children. My youngest likes to flip through just looking at the silly illustrations about food and animals. If you use any similar math “storybooks” please let me know in the comments!

Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred)


At this time, we are using Life of Fred as our “core” math, but we’ve been supplementing heavily. Personally, I’m hesitant to endorse this yet but the reviews are excellent. There is definitely a lot to like about it: well-rounded stories with lots of educational rabbit trails (skimming into topics like geography, vocabulary, and anatomy). A silly, yet substantial introduction to math subjects that gives kids the basics while also introducing much more advanced concepts. It’s definitely the gentle approach I was looking for this year but it remains to be seen if I’d be comfortable using it all through elementary school.

2 X 2= Boo!: A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories

We picked up a book from the library that all three kids enjoyed, so I wanted to mention it as a fun supplement. 2 x 2 = Boo! Although witches and creepy-crawlys have never been a favorite in this family, we thought it was a fun read. We enjoy how the author combined story/poetry elements with multiplication. Just like we expose our children to many different kinds of literature over the years, I’m starting to see the value in exposing them to math from multiple angles and formats if I expect them to enjoy it. This book definitely fits the bill. I hope you enjoyed our Math Makeover! Check out Part 1 here!

Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred)

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

2 X 2= Boo!: A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories

Math Makeover (Part 1)

This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products that I use or want to try for my own family.

For multiple reasons, math has been a struggle for the girls so far. This year I am making math a high priority so that it can become more natural and less painful. My main goal was to approach math from different angles and to dissolve some of the number-angst that had become habitual; basically, integrate math into our daily lives in a fun way. IMG_6392

If these goals appeal to you, I’d like to recommend a few tools and products that I have been super pleased with this year. The first one is Times Tales, for multiplication facts memory.

Times Tales DVD

We just got this DVD last week and I am already blown away by the progress we’ve had. At first the girls were apprehensive but after watching part one only twice they have been able to complete all the worksheets quickly. To sum it up, each number has an accompanying picture, each problem has a story and they are all introduced in such a way that they are easy to remember and reference. Not only that, but they move immediately from multiplication to division so the relation between the processes is very clear. Over two days, my kids became confident with the number stories and began working on the worksheets unprompted over the weekend. To be clear, this is not typical math behavior in this family.

times tales
Times Tales DVD

Times Tales DVD

I am thrilled with this program and I have to recommend it very highly. I would buy this one again and again! Please check out Part 2 for more Math Makeover ideas!