Summer 2014: Summer Math Skills - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Summer 2014: Summer Math Skills


Last week we talked about the importance of summer reading, and today we want to devote a little time to keeping those math skills sharp, too! Next week we’ll move on to fun summer activities…

Just about every teacher will recommend working on math facts over the summer as well as reinforcing skills learned throughout the year. While we may not want to make our kids sit down and “do math” every day during the summer break, we do want to incorporate math facts and mathematical thinking into our days when possible. Here are a few ideas on how to accomplish just that:

  • Make it a Game: You probably already have several math games using cards, dice, dominoes and things you have around the house. Our Singapre HIGs include several math games. If you're looking to freshen up your repertoire, here are lists of a few card gamesdice games, and domino games.
  • Family Math book series: These books offer games and activities families can do together, which might fit in well with summer vacation plans. Remember that many board games use math skills too.
  • Stackable Facts: This link shows another great idea that taps into the cup stacking craze, using paper cups to practice math facts and build towers. (You can use this to practice sight words for early readers, too!)


(Re-use those cups and play Dunk It Dominoes)

  • Our Math Mania games: You still have these, right? Get them out and play them!
  • Get out the sidewalk chalk and write math facts on your driveway, then have fun hosing them off or squirting them with a spray bottle as you learn them. This way you also get in a little water play on a warm day!
  • Fact Family Albums: This was an idea posted on Down Home a few years ago, so here it is again! Primary students can practice writing their fact families using this handy fact family album. Download the following pdf files, cut them apart, and slide them into an inexpensive plastic 4×6 photo album. Students can use a wet or dry erase marker to write out the four equations that make up the fact family.

Download them here:

Addition/Subtraction fact families

Multiplication/Division fact families

  • Unlock the Code: This game idea is from Help your child recognize numbers and think critically by appealing to his love of mystery. Write out all the letters in the alphabet on a sheet of paper, leaving room underneath each letter for a number. Under each letter, write the numbers from 1 to 26. In other words, a=1, b=2, etc. Practice writing coded messages using numbers rather than letters. You can use the code to leave simple messages from one another.

Another way to use this code is to try to find words whose corresponding numbers add up to a specified target, like 25, 50, or 100. (Here’s one word to get you started: ‘cousins’ = 100)

  • Good old Singapore mental math strips: We already have these in our HIGs, so why not sprinkle them in here and there this summer? It’s easy, if not the most creative or fun method. Flash cards are another standby that can be used occasionally to mix things up. You might offer a chocolate chip for each correct fact, or some other incentive to help ease the pain of practicing math over the summer. smile

And then there’s always technology to help us when we need it…

  • Bedtime Math is a “nonprofit that helps kids love math like playtime or dessert.” This website delivers a different, interesting math challenge each day. It starts with a story and then offers a problem to solve, with three levels of difficulty for “wee ones, little kids, and big kids.” These engaging math problems are fun! You can have the daily math challenge sent to your email, view it on their website, or download the mobile app. They now have a book as well.
  • Play math games on the computer: If the kids want “screen time” they might as well be honing their math skills! There are SO many sites out there that offer everything from straight math fact practice (like Math Fact Cafe or XtraMath), to skills practice by grade (like IXL), to interactive math games at sites like Fun BrainSheppard SoftwareABCYa, and Math Playground, to name a few. 
  • Get some Apps: This is along the same lines as above, only sometimes apps are more handy when you want to squeeze in a little math on the go. Earlier this year Down Home posted several links to homeschooling apps, including a handful of math games. Here are a few more apps (among the many that are available) that focus on math. If you have a favorite, please share in the comments below. And again, these are for Apple products – if you know of some great Android math apps, please share in the comments too!):

 My Math Flash Cards (FREE for iPhone and iPad)

This is a basic flash cards app for practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 

 Mathmateer (FREE or there is a $0.99 version for iPhone and iPad)

Go on math missions to practice arithmetic, time, money and 3D sha

 Sushi Monster (FREE for iPhone and iPad)

This one is aimed at ages 9-11, and works on strengthening reasoning strategies for whole number addition and multiplication by helping monsters make a target sum or product. 

 Marble Math ($2.99 for iPhone and iPad)

Another great one for older kids – solve a variety of math problems by collecting numbers as you roll or drag your marble through a series of fun mazes for ages 9-12 and up.

 Medieval Math Battle  (FREE for iPhone and iPad)

Here’s an app that conveniently fits into our history theme for next year! From the developer:

PARENTS PLEASE NOTE: Medieval Math Battle addition is free to play, however, subtraction, multiplication, and division cost $.99 each, or you can unlock all for $1.99. Your child will earn gold from battles, but you also have the option to buy gold with real money. If you do not want to use these features, please disable or password protect in-app purchasing in your devices settings.

What are you favorite ways to work on math skills over the summer? Please share your ideas in the comments!

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned websites or businesses.

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