Several months ago I stumbled across a math curriculum called ‘Math by Hand’–I honestly don’t remember where. However, I was intrigued. What caught my eye were the handmade manipulatives in the pictures–but then, I’m a very visual person. So. I found their website, joined their mailing list, checked out their blog and let it rest.
I should note, I’m not real big on curriculum. I like it as a reference, and usually I use it only for that reason. We are semi-unschoolers, unit-studiers and overall we follow each day where it leads us using the resources at hand and trying to make learning fit into the nitty-gritties of the daily routine.

However, I kept getting emails from ‘Math by Hand’ and they were great. Each one geared toward a specific grade level, I couldn’t keep myself from reading the tidbits of wisdom about including math in a joyful way; a way that is bright, cheerful and sensible. So, with each email and craft idea I became more interested. Weaving, games, crafts, cooking, poems, stories, colors even. Math is everywhere, and doesn’t have to be just flashcards and worksheets.

So, I now have in my possession the Grade 1 binder and I love it. Everything in it is useful and the ideas expressed within are so much like my own! If you want to win me over use this quote in the intro: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.” –Einstein. I really had no idea how enjoyable learning math could be, how logical and seamlessly it could be added to our routine.

Based on Waldorf methods and through movement, form drawing, play, construction and more from what I can tell ‘Math by Hand’ is a thorough way to make math work in my kids’ minds. And, even though we’re doing grade 1 level activities, they are so enjoyable that Leviah (age 3) joins in and loves it too. And, as most homeschoolers with multiple children know, catering to different ages is tricky…

You may have seen the new ad in the side bar–I’m thrilled to be able to have ‘Math by Hand’ as a sponsor here, and dually thrilled to have found such a good match for our learning style.

Did I mention how fair I think the prices are? I’ll say as a do-it-yourselfer I could probably round all the materials up myself, but the information is far beyond what I’d find on my own, and the gathering of the materials would take longer and most likely be more expensive in the long run. What a convenience to have it all together, a convenience that moms of 3 are quite willing to take advantage of 😉

9 Comments

  • Sarah Posted February 6, 2012 9:25 pm

    I'm glad to see this review, I've been wondering about it as well.

  • Becca, a.k.a. MamaWestWind Posted February 7, 2012 3:03 am

    This looks really good! Thanks for sharing.

  • Linda Posted February 7, 2012 6:32 am

    Thanks for sharing this resource. It is a little young for my daughter, but a friend of mine was just looking for ways to help her child with some math problems he is having. I will pass it along.
    Happy homeschooling!
    Linda
    Homeschooling one child for five years and always looking for homeschool resources to make our days run smoothly!

  • school house oils Posted February 10, 2012 12:00 am

    i'll likely post more about it later–we'll get the kit in the mail this week. so far, i'm really excited about it!

  • Star haus Posted February 10, 2012 2:36 pm

    I think I may try this. (:

  • Kris Posted February 11, 2012 4:41 pm

    Hi,
    We also are using this program in the same way as you are. My 7 yr old enjoys it. By using his hands to draw the hand picture he was able to understand and recall the Roman numerals. It even helped me to remember them.

    We also haven't made any of the hands on stuff but we keep looking at it.

    Blessings,
    Kris

  • Mama Goose Posted February 15, 2012 6:30 am

    I just stumbled across your blog and love this post. This is something we would enjoy. I am going to look into it. It is already so similar to much of what we do.

  • Steve Posted November 7, 2012 1:09 am

    Since you mention you unschool (a bit) you might not be able to help me. But I recently bought the Grade 2 binder, and while I agree the approach, the activities, the ideas, etc, are wonderful, the ONLY reason I bought it was because I thought it was going to have a lesson plan to follow. I'm mostly a DIY too, but I saw this website and thought it would be great to have ONE subject already laid out for me. There is no lesson plan in the binder. There is one section near the back (in my opinion it should be at the front) that discusses block scheduling, but it only touts the benefits of it without explaining what IT is. And for someone unfamiliar with Waldorf it's like reading Greek. So have you hashed out a schedule for it that you'd be willing to share? Even if this included a sample schedule I would be happy but it doesn't. I just need something to help me know how to integrate it. Thanks.

    • Lacey Grim Posted November 8, 2012 1:50 am

      I think I know what you mean, and what you're saying is likely the exact reason this material works so well for us. We spend 1 morning/week working with Math by Hand, and while we are still finishing up 1st grade and it might be different than 2nd, there is no real 'schedule' to it beyond the order of the kits. In our kit 1 binder a lot is laid out, and we use that for the order of things. Block scheduling is how we work it, and that just means, for about 6 weeks we work on one particular area, so right now we're working on the 4 processes (division/addition/multiplication/subtraction) and doing the kits that coincide. An alternative block might be form drawing or simply numbers/fairy tales. This is more of a holistic approach verses hopping all about daily to many different topics–a more focused way that gives children an opportunity to explore any one topic deeply without overwhelming them with information from all areas. It's difficult for me to outline all of this in a succinct way, but there is a method to our madness. Feel free to email me for more details! Thanks for your comment!

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