Maths 14/15

Maths is an area that has come together at last.  One of those just keep going subjects from last year.  All I have needed to do is photocopy, write out the problems and patterns, and  make and gather resources.  Taken several days but all prepared until February – I hope!

We are using Saxon.

20140731_22It is expensive (we’ve bought second hand though) and American (deals in imperial measurements, US money and annoying scripts) and I think the level is considerably below that expected in the UK (do not expect Grade 3 to anywhere near cover the UK yr 4).  Also the paper of the workbooks is horrible, thin and scratchy so I end up photocopying it all which is costly and takes ages. But for us all those negatives are outweighed by the positives.

The gradual introduction of ideas and repetition works for Sam, the lower expectations help his confidence as he is generally within his comfort zone and the hands on/short tasks work well as he doesn’t get frustrated/lose interest.

Each session starts with a ‘meeting’, where the date and temperature is recorded, practice on reading the time, working out patterns and skip counting and a ‘problem of the day’ is covered.  We don’t use the meeting book/strips that come with the course, we have a door!


Calendar and temperature charts.
20140730_7 Patterns are printed and in the maths folder.

20140731_16 Skip counting is done running round in circles (backwards when counting backwards obviously).  Problem of the day is written in a little box – I wrote 70 of them on Monday so they will definitely be used all the time this year. I got fed up of writing them last year and we stopped using them but as they often introduce a new idea first I want to use them hence the mammoth writing session.

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After the meeting comes the lesson.  This is usually only about 5 minutes and usually hands on.  I refuse to follow the script so I skim read and pick out the important bits.  Sometimes we’ll skip altogether if he obviously understands or it is not relevant/doable in some way (try getting gallon/half gallon containers easily and cheaply in the UK).

Have been making or printing the resources that we need for the lessons up until February,  Here’s just a selection.  Really pleased with the ordinal cars 🙂


The lessons round off usually with a practice of some simple Maths facts.  We use an online bomb timer for the fact sheets which appeals to Sam.

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Then there is a practice sheet (we only do 1 the course has 2, one for later in the day) which brings together some of the things from previous lessons to practice and jog memories.


Maths resources.

Over the years I have bought and got rid of a lot of resources, these are the ones we do use.


Pattern blocks – far and away the best ‘manipulative’ I’ve bought.  Useful for maths (and used a lot in Saxon although we had them for a long time before) and great fun for making pictures and patterns.

Snap cubes – close second to the pattern blocks.  Fantastic for adding, multiplying, volume, area, perimeter, building guns….



Balance scales – lots of fun to be had comparing weights that just can’t be had from standard kitchen scales.


Base 10 – we don’t use much any more but Sam still likes to play with it and as the base 10 system is so important we’ve found them very useful for adding and carrying etc.


Geometric shapes – tbh these are mainly used for playing in the sink and mixing potions, but they are used a lot and we do talk about the shapes/edges/vertices sometimes so I hope some unconscious learning goes on 😉

20140731_4Newest addition.  Not anticipating a great deal of play value from this but saw it on a blog and thought ‘more fun then flashcards’.



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