Numerous studies indicate that parental involvement is the single biggest indicator of a child’s academic success. For that reason, our courses are parent-led.
Your child will not be assigned an instructor when enrolled in a course. Rather, the course consists of content and materials through which your child will progress with parents in charge of checking each day’s written assignments and overseeing progression.
Daily Lesson Structure. We Play Math lessons consist of 4 parts:
- Lesson Video. 3-10 minute video explaining the concept we are learning
- Skills Game. 3-5 minute online activity (a game or a puzzle) to practice the new skill and reinforce understanding (the software checks this part)
- Written Work. 2 workbook pages (you may purchase a printed workbook, link below, or print the pages yourself via the link in each lesson or print and bind the entire workbook yourself) which generally take about 5 minutes per page (parents check the workbook daily; answer keys are provided in your parent dashboard)
- Enrichment Activities. A list of OPTIONAL activities (all offline) to further reinforce understanding, especially for learners who struggle with worksheets. Most of these are print & play games or hands-on explorations that will help your child explore concepts further.
Altogether, most lessons will take 20 – 30 minutes to complete, but don’t be surprised if your child becomes obsessed with a game and wants to continue playing, haha! The first three sections of each lesson can be completed independently by your child but you will need to check your child’s written assignment each day (the link to the answer key is in your parent dashboard). Some of the enrichment activities require parental involvement. Some days ‘Enrichment Activities’ lists contain too many ideas to be completed in one day. Feel free to choose the activities that will most interest your child. Most of the enrichment activities are print & play with a minimal time requirement and I assure you that the time you spend on them is a worthwhile investment in your child’s number sense. They will really bring math to life for your child.
You don’t need to play all of the games or complete all of the enrichment activities, but the more you can enjoy together, the better. If you can even just complete a couple of them each week with your child it will make a huge difference. Like I said earlier, studies show that parental involvement is the single biggest predictor of student success.
We Play Math courses have fewer lessons than traditional curriculum because we skip the fluff. Most courses contain 70-90 lessons compared to the typical 120 – 130 lessons. Your child could take two days to complete each lesson; one day to watch the video, complete the skills game and the worksheets, and the next day to complete one or two of the enrichment activities. Or your child can complete a lesson a day or four lessons a week or whatever you decide together. You get to set the pace. If you can tell that your child has a thorough understanding of the concept (scores 100% on the worksheets on the first try and is able to explain the main concept to you), one lesson per day would be appropriate, but if your child is struggling with a concept, feel free to use the suggested activities over two or more days to give your child more practice.
Math is not a race to the end. Rather, it’s a race to see who can build the best, deepest and widest foundation so that subsequent floors will be solidly supported. You know better than anyone else where your child needs more work. Never be afraid to take more time. You could have your child spend additional time in the math arcade, or his page has extra resources that can also be used when your child needs more practice.
Checking your child’s work. You should check your child’s work each day as soon as possible after your child finishes. Immediate feedback will really help to correct any misunderstandings. The answer keys are located in your parent dashboard. Talk over any missed problems if you see a conceptual error and give your child the opportunity to correct them. You will see incredible growth if you expect your child to complete each assignment to 100%, even if several rounds of checking and corrections are necessary. This also helps children to understand mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures.
You don’t need to submit scores anywhere. In my opinion, tests and grades are a way for large schools to track student progress. Because you are checking your student’s work daily, you will be intimately familiar with their progress. We don’t use tests or grades here at We Play Math.
Our goal as home educators is to give our kiddos the tools they need to become lifelong learners. One of the best things we can do for them is to help them understand that learning is an active pursuit and that knowledge cannot be poured into them or spoon fed them. It’s critical, even at such a young age, to teach them good learning habits and ways to organize their learning.
Organize your environment. There is nothing more frustrating than having to spend 20 minute searching for textbooks before settling down to a lesson, and it gets everyone off on the wrong foot. I buy my kids a thick, zippered binder for their school stuff. I make sure it holds a ruler, a compass, a protractor, several pencils, workbooks or textbooks — basically everything they will need.
It takes some time and effort, but I train them to keep everything in the binder and to put the binder away where it goes every day (we have a kitchen cabinet devoted to homeschool supplies because we work at the kitchen table).
Your child’s math supplies should include:
- Reference pages, kind of like a cheat sheet. This is where all of the formulas, definitions, diagrams, etc… for the entire year will be located. I laminate and 3-hole punch my kiddos’ reference pages and I pop them in the very front of the binder. As you go through the course, you will receive additional materials to add to your reference pages. Students should keep their reference pages from year to year and add to them.
- Workbook (or printed worksheets)
I use a plastic file box and file folders to organize our math games. Many of the activities in the daily lessons are board games or card games. You will probably want to use the games multiple times and perhaps even use them with younger siblings. I generally print the board pages and glue them to the inside of a file folder, then laminate the pieces, cut them out, and store them in a zip-top plastic bag stapled inside the file folder. This just makes it easy to reuse the math games often. We also keep most of our DIY math manipulatives in our math file box.
Organize Time. In all of your homeschooling, not just math, you will do best to set aside a chunk of your day for learning. Make it a FAMILY learning time and make a habit of learning alongside your first grader, as much as possible while also directing your other children’s learning. First graders should only spend 15-30 minutes per day on formal math, although you may be able to extend that time, if you want to, with the suggested math activities. As they become more capable, they will spend longer.
To Get Started
- You’ve probably already linked your child(ren) to your account and enrolled them in classes. If not, do it here.
- Your child needs a workbook OR you will need printer paper and ink to print the daily written assignments. The assignments linked on each daily lesson are exactly the same as the workbook pages, the workbook is just more convenient for you.
- Your child needs a place to keep math supplies and manipulative, such us a large, zippered binder.
- You need a place, such as a plastic file box, to store all of your math manipulatives and games.
- You may need a few supplies throughout the course.
- Optional resources
Your child will complete a written assignment (usually two pages) each day. You may purchase the workbook for the Level your child is in on Amazon, or download the pdf below and print the workbook yourself. The links below are for the entire workbook. Each is quite large, but maybe you can find a local printer who can print it cheaper than Amazon. Each lesson also has a link to just that day’s worksheets in case you prefer to print daily (or in case your child loses the workbook — I have kids, too!) 😉