My oldest son hates math. Period. Every day when it’s time to do our math, his face gets sullen and he digs in his heels. He would rather do any other subject in the world than math. But, unfortunately for him, math is one of those subjects that you have to do every day.

He used to enjoy math. Back in the days when we would use counters to add and subtract, he enjoyed math. When we used pattern blocks and an abacus, he loved math. But now that he’s in 5th grade and having to complete math worksheets, he hates math.

Both of my sons prefer hands-on learning. Neither of them is the type of child who wants to sit at the table and write anything, let alone fill in math worksheets every day. Worksheets are easier for the teacher but most students find them very tedious. Because of this, we’ve had to come up with different ways to supplement my son’s math to make it more enjoyable.

**Try these Tips for Teaching Math Creatively:**

**1. Jump Around** – One thing we’ve done is to jump around in our math book. We use Bob Jones math and their books contain different chapters which concentrate on themes, such as multiplication in one chapter and geometry in the next.

Ben doesn’t dislike all math. In fact, he enjoys the chapters in his book which focus on anything other than adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. So instead of making him complete two pages which concentrate on the same subject, causing great angst, I’ve been giving him one page to do with regular arithmetic and one page which focuses on something else.

If you look in your child’s math book, you’ll see that there are lots of other activities encompassed in math, such as Roman numerals, logic, geometry, fractions, measurement, and time. If your math curriculum also focuses mainly on one topic per lesson, try combining lessons to give your child more variety. This has helped my son to be able to almost enjoy math… although he wouldn’t yet admit it!

**2. Computer Math** – Another idea we’ve tried is letting the boys use a computer math game as a supplement to their math book. There are lots of programs out there, depending on your child’s grade level. Jumpstart.com and multiplication.com are free websites which allow your child to play games while practicing their math skills.

You may also want to check out the software which is available from www.encore.com. They produce the Elementary Advantage, Middle School Advantage, and High School Advantage computer software. We have found their products to be very fun and the boys pick up a lot of information without realizing they are learning.

**3. Get Dad Involved** – Another idea which was very successful for us was to leave math until dad got home at night. There is something about Dads and math which go together. When I start to encounter extra resistance from my boys with math (or any other subject, for that matter), we start having the boys work on it with my husband at night. This works on a couple of different levels.

First, my husband is able to explain things to our boys in a way that they more readily understand. They communicate using man language. It sounds like the same explanation to me; but, somehow when the words are coming out of their father’s mouth, it is more understandable to them.

Second, the boys would rather be doing anything other than math with their dad when he gets home from work. This encourages them to try harder to complete their math during the day, with the rest of their subjects, so that they can have free time with dad when he gets home.

**4. Math War** – Try getting out a couple decks of cards and playing war with the kids. If your child is very young, you can play the regular game of war, where each player flips over one card at a time and whoevers card is the largest captures the other player’s cards.

If your child is older, you can give the game a twist. Instead of merely flipping over one card per player, flip over two per player. Everyone then either adds, subtracts, multiplies, or divides their cards to determine the winner. This game is fast paced and adds a lot of fun to what would otherwise be drudgery to some kids.

**5. Remove the Writing** – Some kids hate to write anything down. The mere act of writing causes them to go into anxiety attack. If you remove the writing from math, this will help you to know if it’s really math that they dislike or if it’s the writing that they dislike. Boys, especially, lag behind with their writing skills.

If you act as a scribe for your child, writing down their answers, showing all of the work, that is enough for some kids to transform their math into a positive experience. Be sure if you try this method, you require your child to tell you exactly what to write down. Try not to lead them through solving the problems. You want to be sure they are doing all of the thinking and you are merely being their hands.

Try thinking out of the box when it comes to math. **Any time you can get your kids DOING something versus simply sitting and writing, you’ll find that the enjoyment as well as the learning will go way up.**

SusannaI use Horizons math curriculum by Alpha Omega Publications for my 8 year old and in each lesson there are about 5 or 6 topics covered which does keep it interesting. But I do notice that he gets irritated on many days when there are say 14 triple digit subtraction problems in a row! So what works most of the time is to time him. He enjoys setting a goal for himself, seeing if he can complete those problems in under 10 minutes for example. I’m going to try some of the ideas you have above like math war and being his hands for a day, thanks for the great ideas! Now to put them in motion!

Michelle CaskeyTimers work wonders sometimes, don’t they?!? Thanks for sharing the idea, Susanna! 🙂

Erin @Nourishing My ScholarGreat suggestions! My son loves the free online math game called Prodigy. It’s been great for him. Sometimes though, I have to tell him to stop and just jump up and down or go outside and run! All that pent up energy does not a good mathematician make.

Michelle CaskeyI haven’t heard of Prodigy. Thanks for the tip! And you’re certainly right about the pent up energy! 🙂