Tag Archives: homeschool math

Homeschooling Math with Khan Academy and a Whiteboard

KhanAcademy SkillsProgressSince my son has already finished his Brain Quest 4 Workbook and we still have a few months left in our current school year, I decided to find another resource to help him brush up on some math skills. I’ve long wanted to try using Khan Academy, and even had my two children try their programming course some months ago. They didn’t stick to it so we left it at that.

Just a few weeks ago, I logged into my parent account in Khan Academy and started tinkering with it again. I also read up a bit on how some homeschooling families use Khan Academy and I learned about choosing missions according to grade level. The default setting as goal or mission is The World of Math, and all of the skills in that world was too much for my son and me (who aren’t exactly math lovers). So I tried assigning my son the 4th-grade mission for math and that made it much more manageable (not so overwhelming) for us. Yay!

KhanAcademyMissionWarmUp The mission warm-ups are a few math questions every time you log in to determine which are the skills you’ve mastered, need practice in or have not yet learned. It helps the website in suggesting lessons for practice and mastery. Since my son is a gamer, what he enjoys about using Khan Academy is how he earns points and badges for completing practices and answering consecutive questions correctly. And right now, he is motivated to earn several thousand more points because he wants to unlock the Johnny avatars (Johnny is a cool-looking robot avatar).

Homeschooling with Book and WhiteboardMy son has struggled with doing mental calculations for some of the math exercises, and using the scratchpad option in Khan Academy is quite hard since he has to use a mouse to write (not using touchscreen). I brought out our trusty old whiteboard and markers and suggested that he use them for computing. Just like before, the whiteboard was a success (yay)! My son doesn’t really like handwriting, and I think the space to write boldly and colorfully and the ease of erasing things make the whiteboard a more fun way for him to write and learn.

I may soon start shopping around for a new math book for the next school year, but for now (and maybe in the future), it looks like Khan Academy and the whiteboard are a winning formula for my gamer homeschooler.



Life of Fred: Fractions

After several years of using various math textbooks from the Philippines and Singapore, textbooks that emphasize drills and rote learning (she hated having to memorize the multiplication tables), my daughter has developed a dislike and fear of math.  So much so that, when we started doing unit studies for our homeschooling, math ended up taking a back seat.

I know that she still needs to learn her math skills.  So I scoured the Internet for a more child-friendly yet affordable and effective homeschool math program.  Thankfully, I found Life of Fred 🙂

Although my 11-year-old daughter has learned about multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals before, I want her to try “unlearning” them first, learn about them again in a more pleasant and effective way.  So after a few weeks of refreshing her memory of the (dreaded) multiplication tables, she recently started on Life of Fred: Fractions.  She’s been working on it independently, doing one to two chapters a day.

I’m happy to know that even though she sometimes finds the questions in the book to be tricky, she eventually figures them out and mostly gets them right too.  And thanks to Fred, she seems to actually be enjoying math now 🙂  I think that is the best thing that Fred has given my daughter (and me).  Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a beautiful learning journey.

Life of Fred: Fractions

Life of Fred: Apples

My 6-year-old son started Life of Fred: Apples last week.  He’s been doing one chapter a day for 3-4 days a week.  It’s great that he reads most of the text on his own (needed help with the word deciduous in Chapter 4), so doing Life of Fred helps him practice math AND reading at the same time 🙂

The chapters are short enough to manage within 15-20 minutes, including answering the 3-5 questions at the end (Your Turn to Play).  Short enough to not be tedious. He also likes checking his own work.

The story is engaging and entertaining for my son and even for myself.  My son loves role-playing and making up stories with his toys so he can appreciate Fred’s interaction with his doll Kingie.

The first 3 chapters talk about simple addition, e.g. 3 + 4 = 7.  My son went through these chapters smoothly.  What made me so happy though was how he really understood the concept and applied it spontaneously, outside of “doing schoolwork.”  When we were out a few days ago and I said, “There’s four of this and four of that.”  He quickly  and excitedly commented, “That’s eight, Mama!”  Talk about a proud and happy Mama 🙂

In Chapter 4, at first he couldn’t understand what counting forward by fives meant.  When I drew a number line on a white board and showed him how we skip numbers to count 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, etc., he immediately grasped the concept and was then able to continue skip counting by fives to 100 all by himself 🙂  We both had big smiles on our faces after that!

I’m so glad I discovered Life of Fred, thanks to the many homeschooling forums and reviews all over the Internet.  It’s an accessible, affordable and engaging way to learn math.  Looking forward to more chapters, more books and more learning with my son!

Life of Fred: Apples