Practical Math - It’s Everywhere!
September 13, 2017
Mercy Every Minute  

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we have the time to teach mastery of math concepts, and we can teach math in an engaging way. It doesn’t have to be boring. We don’t have to use textbooks every day. In fact, when we teach our children to use math in real, practical ways, we will be serving them well for their adult life.

Our children can take as long as necessary in order to understand a concept before moving on, and we can use tools, real life experience, and games as we wish. In fact, homeschoolers are great at using more than one type of learning activity to cement a concept. 

I have an eclectic approach when it comes to math resources, based on each child’s ability and learning style. Some are decidedly block learners, only able to master one concept at a time, and some prefer a more spiral learning program. Some need a computer-assisted program as they can hear a tutor explain things. 

There are a myriad of resources for hands-on learners, visual learners, auditory learners, etc. and a huge list of reviews of these math resources here .

God is an orderly God, and numbers and order are important to Him. Creation is orderly and full of mathematical concepts. The heavens declare His mathematical genius. Math is not just a necessity for life, but also a means of better understanding God’s creation and character.

Do you need wisdom for math curriculum? Are there tears at your home over math? Pray, and ask for God’s insight into how your child learns best and what would be the best program for him. God promises to give wisdom to those who ask (and keep asking!)

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4, 5).

~ Deborah

Do you have our free TOS app? There are literally hundreds of articles on math in the current and back issues of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Get it here: . Here are a sampling of those math articles:

Finding Joy in Math , by Katherine Loop

A Down to Earth Education , by McKenzi Knapp

Castle View Academy is a home education site focused on the ex-pat life and teaching through culture, crafts, nature, and living on a shoestring budget. Stop by for curriculum and book reviews, homemaking ideas, and life's adventures.
Castle View Academy
Math can be a subject that not every student excels at, but if they come to understand just how important it is, they may try harder to understand it. Math is all around us, so let's use real life to help our students come to a better understanding of how it works. Sometimes that's all it takes-- just knowing how it works in real daily life. Here are a few practical ways to bring math into your everyday life lessons.


My children love going through a shop and adding up a running total of our purchases. Then they compare their math with the total at the till. They pick out and hand over the payment, as well as mentally calculate how much change they should receive back. The kids also count their change to ensure it's correct.

Exchange Rates

With the world economy shrinking, making purchasing goods from around the world easier, it’s a great time to do some cost-comparisons. Is there a price difference between purchasing a Lego set in Canada, the USA, or overseas?

Take the exchange rate into consideration, as well as the shipping charges. And/or don't forget about any taxes and or duty you may be charged when it arrives. Where can you get the best deal?

Travel Times

Put those old math problems to use, and go for a Sunday drive in the country, and see how far your destination is and how long it takes you to drive there, and then calculate your average speed. It's an interesting project, especially in areas where there are mountains, or windy roads and/or heavy traffic. Such calculations are needed for creating public transport timetables, long-haul shipping infrastructure, and much more.

DIY Projects

The next time you're doing a DIY project have your children do the calculations to figure out how much it will cost. How much grass seed will you need to cover your lawn, how many floor tiles, how much paint for the bedroom walls or the fence? This is an excellent way for children to learn why they need to know about perimeters and areas. If you're brave enough, make your purchase according to their calculations, and let them find out what happens. And don't forget about incidentals! 

So the next time your student says math isn’t needed; use these projects to reinforce that math is in all areas of life and is, indeed, very important.

Crystal McClean is a Canadian expat raising her family in Northern Ireland. She loves teaching her home educated children about world cultures, nature, crafts, and how to live on a shoestring budget. You can connect with her through her blog, Castle View Academy .
Summer is winding down, but prices are still hot at Educents. Find the curriculum you need this year at a great price! 
Jodi Riddle

Why do I love math? Because it is practical and it’s everywhere ! Besides the Scriptures, it is the one thing that I can count on in my life to be factual and true each time I use it. Math is basic, logical, and useful! Now that I have half of you sitting on the edge of your chair looking angrily at the screen because of your dislike (or even hatred) of math, let me explain.

Like it or not, you do use math every single day! Have you done any shopping recently? If you are like me, you have a certain amount of money you can use to purchase your groceries. I am using an algebraic equation as I am working my way down the aisles: a+b+c < d (a,b,c being the needed items and d being the amount I have to spend!) But wait, I have coupons for some of those items, so I must consider the discount I will receive at the checkout! I also must also calculate the tax my state places on some items. While most of us do not even realize it, a trip to the store is quite a math lesson!

Assuming you drove to the store, you have no doubt measured distance, time, and gas prices! Once again, all math principles! How far is the store from your house? How many miles did you travel per minute? How much gas did you use? What was the cost for the gasoline you used? These are all real scenarios of the practical use of math that we often do not even consider!

There is probably still a skeptic or two who are thinking to themselves, “I don’t go to the store very often or drive very far.” That’s OK; you are using math all the time as well! Have you baked anything recently? More likely than not, you have pulled out a measuring spoon or cup. This is math, and you are even using fractions! Have you done any canning? You probably have weighed out tomatoes, beans, or other items to accurately fill your jars. Or maybe you used freezer bags. Have you noticed they come in “pint,” “quart” or “gallon” size, also? Those are all mathematical terms!

Don’t fight it; just embrace the fact, that math is a good thing! After all, God is the Creator of this absolute! Colossians 1:16: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as a Human Resource and Operations Assistant and is also the Homeschooling with Heart blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three boys. She has homeschooled for seventeen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!                                                                              
Building Faith Families 
I would like this article to be a catalyst for your family to discover how much math we use and encounter on a regular basis. I will give you ideas to stimulate your thinking, and guide you in your discovery of how practical and useful is the study of mathematics. 

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin

I suggest each person in your family keep a record when they observe numbers. Do this for one day; then report the findings to the assigned chronicler in your family. Select a day to be the “Math Day” and encourage everyone to notice when they read, consult, or use math and numbers in any capacity.

Here are some examples:
Telling time, reading page numbers, consulting a calendar, cooking, measuring, reading mile markers and road signs, keeping score, shopping, discounts, finding out what the date is on a calendar, money, reading a gas gauge, chapters and verses, contributing the tithe, and reading a thermometer.

Then after you have compiled your list, decide what skills were needed in each situation. If telling time is on your list of observations, you have to be able to count to twelve and skip count by fives for the minutes. To use money well, you need to understand place value in the base 10, or decimal system, and comprehend decimals. To leave a tip at a restaurant, you should be familiar with decimals as well as percents. When measuring using a ruler or tape measure, a knowledge of fractions is essential. 

If this exercise has been helpful, consider surveying friends and family about how they employ math in their occupation. When you have compiled all your observations from your own family, and then expanded it to include friends and family outside your home, sit down and read through your data, and discuss your conclusions. I think this will be an enlightening experience for all who participate; for math is very practical and is all around us. 

May God open our eyes to numbers,

Steve Demme is the author of  Math-U-See  and the founder of  Building Faith Families.  In addition to his weekly podcasts, he produces a monthly newsletter and other resources to strengthen and encourage parents. Learn more about these at .
Everyone knows that cells are the basic building blocks of living things. Many organisms are made of only one cell, but most of the ones we know are made of many cells. An adult’s body, for example, is made up of about one trillion cells. You can’t see those cells, however, unless you have a microscope. Why is a fully grown person made up of microscopically tiny cells? Believe it or not, math gives us the answer.
While cells come in different shapes, many of them are nearly spherical. Geometry tells us that the volume of a sphere is (4/3)(π)r3. So to get the volume of a cell, you take 4/3 (1.3333…) times the number called π (3.1459…) times the cube of the radius. The things contained inside that volume need certain chemicals in order to function, and the cell takes those chemicals in through its outer surface.

Well, geometry says that the area of a sphere’s outer surface is 4πr2. So to get the area of a cell’s surface, you take 4, multiply by π, and then multiply by the square of the radius. Think about what happens as the radius of a cell gets larger. Its volume increases as the cube of the radius, but the surface area increases only as the square .

So what? Let’s suppose a cell doubles in size. That means its radius is multiplied by 2, so its volume is multiplied by 2 cubed, or 8. However, its surface is multiplied by only 2 squared, or 4. The cell has eight times as many contents, but only four times as much surface over which to absorb the chemicals those contents need. For large values of r, the contents become too much to support through the cell’s surface area. As a result, cells must stay small to ensure they have enough surface area to pull in all the chemicals they need to supply their contents.

Math is everywhere in nature. That’s why Galileo once wrote that the world “cannot be read until we have learnt the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word.”

Dr. Jay L. Wile holds an earned Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry. He is an author, international speaker, and adjunct professor at Anderson University. His award-winning elementary curriculum teaches science using history as a guide, and he recently published a new high-school chemistry course, Discovering Design with Chemistry. You can see all of his books at Berean Builders Publishing, .

Share this newsletter with a friend, and be sure to let those 
CONSIDERING  homeschooling know about the enormous  FREE  info-pack which awaits them here: .
Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! 
No limits.

Is math necessary? Only if you want to be able to buy, sell, cook, navigate, plan for the future, leave a tip, live frugally, handle home repair, calculate material yardage, know how much carpet you need or whether the couch will fit along the wall, play a board game, take a trip, or do almost anything else. In short, the answer is YES!
Fortunately, members have access to core math courses like Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus as well as supplemental workshops to help sharpen skills in handling things such as fractions, decimals, and multiplication. Every course is included in membership. Plus, there are no per-child fees or additional fees for textbooks.
If you’re not already a member of , we would love to have you join us. If you or someone you know is interested in designing lessons for our site, please contact Director Bonnie Rose Hudson at .
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of September

If you are looking for a new tradition for your kids during the Thanksgiving season, let me encourage you to look into the Turkey on the Table Kit. This is an adorable stuffed turkey decoration with the mission and purpose to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness in children and families.

The Turkey on the Table Kit comes with the turkey, a storybook, a pen, and the decorated paper feathers that family members can write something on that they are thankful for each day and stick the feather into the turkey for display. Our family put this out as a centerpiece on our table and encouraged the kids each morning at breakfast to think of something that they were thankful for and write it down. At first, the answers were things like Legos and ice cream, but as our discussions grew in depth over the days and weeks, their answers became less superficial as they were noticing the bigger and richer things to be thankful for such as living in a country that is free to worship God, having full bellies, having running water, etc. The creators of Turkey on the Table give a portion of the proceeds to help feed the hungry in our country, which is an added bonus.

It is encouraged to keep the feathers year after year as a reminder of all the things that we have to be thankful for. There are refill packs of feathers available on the website. The retail price of the Turkey on the Table is $39.99, and the refill pack of 13 feathers is $8.99. Considering the fact that this will be a sweet Thanksgiving tradition for years to come, I think that is a good price. ( Read the review here. )

YOU can WIN this set for your homeschool!

TO ENTER : Email Kathleen with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, “ Turkey on the Table ” for a chance to win it for your family!
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