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Living Books for Elementary Math

The term living books is a very popular one in homeschooling, but what are living books?

Simply Charlotte Mason explains them this way:

Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.” They can be contrasted to dry writing, like what is found in most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically lists informational facts in summary form. You might be surprised to find that living books are available for most school subjects — even math, geography, and science!

So often children (and adults) think of math as boring and I think some of that stems from the way we have been taught math in the past. For some reason it is acceptable for kids to not like math, it’s almost like we expect it from them.

There are two ways I think we can help children take an interest in math:


This can be done by counting, adding, subtracting, dividing and using fractions in their day-to-day life, there are numerous instances in a day where we do this, even if you just think about the way you can use it when the kids are helping in the kitchen. Ask them to pull out 10 potatoes to peel for supper, or tell them you need to set the table for 6 people and you already set for 4 people and ask how many more they need to set, give them a pile of candies and tell them they need to share them equally among their siblings and ask how many each kid got, ask them to help you make cookies and get the measuring cups needed for the recipe, the list could go on . . .

You can also share about numbers when shopping, if you are looking for a birthday present for a friend tell them how much money you are willing to spend and let them see what they come up with for that price, is it one bigger item, two smaller ones or multiple little ones?

Whenever you find yourself working with numbers throughout the day ask them to join in!


I already shared what living books are, imagine how much more kids will be interested in living math books as opposed to dry textbooks! You can get living math books on counting, adding, subtracting, grouping, multiplying, dividing, and so much more! They work as a great introduction into a concept or as a reminder about a concept any time throughout the year.

Today I wanted to share just a few living math books, but there are lots more, some of the authors from the books below have written other living math books as well.

A list of great living books for elementary math, as well as some ideas on how to make math more interesting for children.


[mybooktable book=”many-snails-counting-book” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”garden-counting-book-growing-food” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”math-curse” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”sir-cumference-kings-tens” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”a-place-for-zero” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”mummy-math-adventure-geometry” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”12-ways-get-11″ display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”the-grapes-of-math” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”one-hundred-hungry-ants” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”the-greedy-triangle” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

[mybooktable book=”how-big-is-a-foot” display=”summary” buybutton_shadowbox=”false”]

Check out the rest of our book lists!

The Ultimate Book List Guide - Lists of Best Picture Books, Best Read Aloud Novels, Best Chapter Books, Best Classic Novels and More

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