By Michael Hartley
Welcome, home-schooling moms, dads and kids! This site is all about
creative and interesting ways
to help kids with their math - and who wants that more than you?
On this page, I've collected together a few articles on home-schooling that I think are particularly useful.
Also, just to help you out, I've gone through all the
games on this site, and evaluated them with you, the home-schooler, in
It's my sincere hope that these resources will make
your home-schooling a little more joyful - or a little less burdensome
- wherever you may now be in your home-schooling journey.
First, the articles
There's so much information on the net about
homeschooling. I've picked out some articles I particulary like, and with the author's
permission, I've reproduced them here.
- Pamela Connolly has written an excellent three-part series on
"Learning Styles". Each child is unique, and each learns in a different
way. That's one of the main points about homeschooling, of course - you
can tailor your teaching to each tyke's temperament. The big question
is how? Pamela answers
by showing you how to understand your child better, and giving tips on
what kind of activities will really gel the most well. Start at Part 1, or skip forward to Part 2 or Part 3.
That's all for the articles (so far!). Now for the games!
Not Math, But Awesome: My local museum had an exhibition recently, called Dinosaur Discovery - Lost Secrets of the Cretaceous. As part of the exhibition, they had prepared a special smartphone app (available for Android or iOS). You'd load the app, point your phone at some special barcodes, and you'd suddenly see a three-dimensional dinosaur pop out! On my own Dinosaur Discovery
page you can read more about the exhibition, and also find links to download your own dinosaur barcodes, and the app you'll need to use them. I also made a short Dinosaur Discovery Video
that you might like to see!
Alice Oglesby's Cross-Number Puzzle
is actually a crossword puzzle - but the clues are all arithmetic sums. How is that possible? Once you've worked out each sum on a calculator, you turn your calculator upside down
, and each number becomes a letter. You can download and print Alice's puzzle, solve it, and then make your own upside-down calculator cross-number puzzle with the help of the long lists of calculator words linked from the puzzle page
A Magic Hexagon Worksheet
is just like a magic square worksheet - students need the same set of skills to solve each one - the difference is that most students will never have seen a magic hexagon before. This website has a Magic Hexagon Worksheet Generator
that lets you generate randomized magic hexagon worksheets with the answer key
. The worksheet will be different each time you come back to this site, so you know there's no way for students to drop by themselves and cheat by downloading their own answer key.
On this site, I provide graph paper to download and print
for the archimedean tilings (tesselations)
. There are eight different ways to fill a plane with a symmetrical pattern of regular polygons, some different, but all corners identical. This page explains what they all are, and provides links to pdfs you can print out and color in any pattern you like. You can download these beautiful tesselations in a variety of sizes, from 1/24 inches or 1mm to 1 inch or 1cm. Let me know how you plan to use them!
Design and make your own Paper Polyhedra
right in your web browser with this java applet. You can design beautiful symmetric shapes with an interactiove 3D view, then print out a plan to help you make a model of the shape out of cardboard or paper. Finally, you can share your net with your friends by email, facebook, or whatever, so they, too, can enjoy your masterpiece.
, or Ostomachion (literally Bone Fight) is a puzzle like the Tangram
, but invented by the ancient Greeks. It has twice as many pieces, so there's many many more patterns it can be arranged into. Download and print yourself a set
, and start by seeing how many ways you can form the pieces into a square!
Do you like Logic Puzzles?
On this page, you can get a never-ending feast of brain-busting logic puzzles to train your logical thinking skills. In each puzzle, the police have rounded up some suspects in a crime. The evidence has given you some clues of the form If A is guilty, then B is innocent
and so forth. There's only one conclusion - but what is it? Who goes free, and who will be detained? Only your logical brain can solve the mystery! Hop over to the Simple Logic Puzzle Generator
and start cracking cases! Or cut and paste the puzzles to share them, with your friends!
In Roman Attack
, you defend the world against an onslaught of numbers! The game helps you practise converting numbers between Roman form and the more usual "Arabic" form. The game has three subgames - converting Roman to Arabic, or Arabic to Roman, or a mixed attack of both conversions. The game tracks your high scores, so you can challenge yourself to improve every day. Try it now!
Dice of Destiny
is two games in one! There's a simple game (Dice War) for kindy or pre-K kids to learn counting, and the much more complicated battle game that it morphed into when I was play-testing Dice War with my (pre-teen, not pre-K) son. All you need is some dice and (for the complex game for older kids) a pack of ordinary playing cards. Read the rules of Dice of Destiny
here, and have a quick game now!
The Goal of the OgleBoro mazes
is to get from home to school - and back - obeying all the traffic signs along the way. The "no right turns" and "one way blocks" will have your pencil - and your brain - tying itself in knots! These puzzles are an awesome challenge for upper elementary kids. Download and print the mazes
, and try them in your class today.
The 249 Sided Polygon Puzzle
is not a single puzzle, but a whole bunch of pen-and-paper challenges packed into a single download. It was created by Mac Oglesby, a retired math teacher, who kindly sent it to me to make available to you. Grab a pen, and Download and print the puzzle sheet
and see how many of the challenges you can crack.
The Tangram Puzzle
is a simple jigsaw puzzle that originated in China over 1000 years ago. Despite its apparent simplicity, there are a huge number of patterns the pieces can be arranged into. This site has a Printable Tangram Puzzle
for you to download and cut out.
This page has a whole bunch of different graph paper
, including this square graph paper
in different sizes. Download and print as many as you want, and use them for all the things you use graph paper for - practicing spacing math problems carefully, drawing plans and maps, flowcharts, making crossword puzzles - even for drawing graphs!
is a game to train up your mental arithmetic skills. Arithmetic problems descend from the top of the screen, as you solve them you score points. The longer you play, the harder the problems get and the more points they're worth. There are seven sub-games;
each individual operation can be practiced separately, or you can practice addition and subtraction together, or multiplication and division together, or all four operations at once. Have fun!
"What is it?" It's a Tizit!!
A Tizit is an impossible figure, an optical illusion. On this site, I've uploaded 30 Tizit puzzles designed by retired math teacher Mac Oglesby. Download a Tizit, and you'll see a scattering of labeled dots, and instructions showing which ones to join. Join the dots carefully with a ruler, and an amazing, eye-twisting figure will appear. Get your kids to draw and color a Tizit
now, then send me a copy of their mathematical artwork, so I can make a gallery of Tizits on this website!
This is a printable puzzle based on Latin Squares
. The goal is to arrange the colored shapes on the grid, following certain rules. For example, each row should have one of each shape, and one of each color. Likewise, each column. Click through to the puzzle page
to get a full list of the rules, links to downloadable, printable puzzle boards, and ideas for how to play this game with an ordinary pack of playing cards!
Times Tables Memory
is a memory game that will help transfer times table facts from short-term to long-term memory. It can be played solo, or with a friend.
These Sight Number
exercises, inspired by "Salisbury Sight Words", are designed to help your kids memorise their addition, subtraction and multiplication tables in the optimal way.
Print out as many foldable number sheets
as you want, and use them to explain our "number system" - why the 8's in eight thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight all mean different things, even though they look exactly the same! There are three sizes of printable sheets, and also a movie showing one time I used them with my son to explain a point that was troubling him.
Does someone need Practice Multiplying Or Dividing By Ten, Hundred or a Thousand?
This worksheet generator lets you create as many practice questions as you like for manipulating powers of 10. Create easy or difficult worksheets, long or short ones, or even create individual worksheets for each member of your classroom to prevent copying...
These Math Mazes
are good for puzzle-loving kids as they learn their 7 and 8 times tables. They may look like ordinary mazes, but knowing your times table will help you reach your goal!
An Advent Calendar
, besides being a great Christmas tradition, helps teach younger kids counting and calendars in a fun, exciting way. Download and print this free advent calendar, make up up with a trimmer and glue, and enjoy the Christmas countdown with your child.
In the Math Architect Online Game
the goal is to design an apartment with the given area. The catch? Each room is a square, and you must have as few rooms as possible! This makes the game challenging enough to keep kids occupied, and deep enough to keep them learning as they play. There is also a high scores table showing the best players each month, year and for all time, and some ideas for playing math architect as a paper and pencil game
Print these Magic Number Cards
, learn how to use them, and with a bit of practice you'll be able to amaze your friends with your number guessing skills! This page provides the traditional version of this trick, as well as a few variations of my own invention. Full instructions and a video example are available at the web page.
To solve the 2 to 9 Makes 16 Puzzle
, you need to arrange the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 into the grid shown, so that each outer row and column adds up to sixteen. On the puzzle page I've provided a printable downloadable puzzle sheet so you can try the puzzle out on your class, friends, family or colleagues. Grab it now, and get puzzled!
Dots and Boxes
is a classic two-player pen-and-paper game. Start with a grid of dots, and take turns to join dots. If you complete a square, you get an extra turn. The player with the most squares at the end is the winner! My Dots and Boxes
page has some game sheets to download and print, some strategy tips, and some suggested variations on the traditional version. Care for a three-player game of Dots And Hexagons
, for example?
Flashcard Stepping Stones
is a simple game, quick to set up, and helps make flashcards more enjoyable. Be as theatrical as possible, and create an imaginary playful world for your child, as he or she recalls the math facts they need to rescue the princess, or destroy the evil robot, or arrive at adventureland!
These timetable worksheets
will give your child practice reading timetables, schedules, itineraries and the like.
Wishing that there were educational arcade games? Well, Mathteroids, the math asteroid game
is the next best thing! This is an action-packed asteroid shooter game where you must sharpen your math skills to know which asteroids to shoot! Good for grades four and up.
Try the Fractions Card Game
if you have children who need to practice adding and subtracting fractions. There's a set of playing cards to print and cut out, and suggestions for at least three games you can play with them. In one, the aim is to find groups of cards that add up to one, so kids will pick up skills in addition and subtraction of fractions, as well as reducing fractions, as they pit their wits against one another.
If your kids like more action, and they are at the same level with their times tables, try Times Tables Snap!
Try the Magic Square Puzzle Worksheets
on this site. Almost 40 magic square puzzles to try, as well as ideas for how to use it in a classroom. Good for grade 3 and up.
In one famous puzzle, you must make as many numbers as you can
using only the given four digits and the basic arithmetic operations. I've worked out which sets of four digits make this puzzle the most interesting, and provided worksheets on this page. Good for grades four and up.
The Arithmetic Math Game
is a game where players roll special dice and do arithmetic based on the results, hoping to reach a specific number goal. It is most suitable for grades four or five, but you can modify the rules to make it easier or harder.
"I shall now discern how many cards you have!!!" My dad taught me this Magic Card Counting Trick
when I was a kid. It's simple, easy to perform, and always amazes even smart kids. On the web page I explain how to do the trick, including the math behind it. I've also included a video so you can see the trick in action. Pop over now, watch the video, read the tips, then start planning your next mathemagic show!
One of these addition and subtraction worksheets
is especially designed as a learning tool, not just a revision exercise. The sums are ordered so that the child working through them will discover for themselves the relationship between addition and subtraction, and other important points. There are some plain vanilla revision worksheets too!
Print out and make this set of Fractions Dominoes
. It's a fractions activity designed to help kids recognise how much of a circle each fraction represents. Unlike some other math games, winning is not just about being better at math - but the game nonetheless provides great learning opportunities.
Traveling with kids aged 10 to 99? Take along this Math Card Game
and keep them up to speed on their arithmetic! Good for grade 4 and up.
The 1 to 9 game
is a game where players have to collect three numbers that add up to 15. It will help teach arithmetic to younger kids. For older kids, it will help them with strategic and logical thinking. The game's page shows how to vary the rules to make it suitable for any elementary school grade.
is a game that can be played with an ordinary pack of cards. It's based on a common card game, Cassino, that already is good for kids learning arithmetic. Good for grades 1 to 3, maybe even 4!
This Math Board Game
will ensure kids get a lot of mental arithmetic practice! Good for grade 4 and up. This site also has a Times Table Board Game... see below!
Try Fish Plus One
for kids who need to practice their basic addition skills. This game can be played with a normal pack of cards, once the picture cards have been removed. Once your kids get good at Fish Plus One, move them on to Fish Plus Two, Fish Plus Three, and finally Fish Plus Plus!
This Set Of Tiles
can be used to help teach kids how to add and subtract numbers of more than one digit. Good for, say, first to third graders, or anyone who just doesn't 'get' the idea of carrying and borrowing 1's.
In a Cryptarithm
puzzle, each digit of an arithmetic sum has been replaced with a letter of the alphabet. The aim of the puzzle is to restore the original sum. These puzzles are sometimes called alphametics
. You can get many more such puzzles from the resources available at www.cryptarithmania.com
To complement the online version
, I've prepared a Printable Version of Color Switcher
. Color Switcher is a puzzle game - you start with some beads on a board, and the goal is to change the colors of all the beads using a series of jumps. This web page has ideas for how you can prepare your own color switcher puzzle set, and has links to printable puzzle booklets with dozens of puzzles to try to solve.
In this puzzle, the goal is to cut a Heart-Shaped Biscuit
into three pieces, so that each piece contains only one color of
sprinkles. The cuts will be very twisty and wiggly, but that's fine for this puzzle. Because of the shape of the biscuit, this puzzle is perfect for around Valentine's Day, but it can also be used at any other time of the year.
This Angle Geometry Quiz
tests your knowledge of a few facts relating to angles. Race against the clock as you prove your skills! Topics covered include the interior angles of triangles and quadrilaterals, angles near parallel lines, lines meeting at a point and others.
Try your 2nd graders to 7th graders on the Pizza Cutting Puzzle
! This puzzle can be made as easy or as hard as you like, so you can tune it for any age group.
The Dot Joining Game
is not a join-the-dots puzzle, but a two-player paper-and-pencil game. I've described the game, and also described how you can help your fourth, fifth and sixth graders to unlock the hidden mathematical patterns behind the game.
This Fraction Simplifying Puzzle
challenges kids to simplify a collection of fractions and observe which ones can and can not be simplified. There are variants of the puzzle that make it suitable for kids just learning fractions, all the way up to lower high school.
That's all for now. Of course, there are many more
games on this site than these. Perhaps some of those I missed would
make excellent home-school resources, but I just didn't see it. Browse
around and see what you find!
Yours, Mike H...
If you like what you've just read, sign up for this site's free newsletters: