Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

Financial Literacy for Kids: Pirates!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014


I received a copy of this book for free and was compensated for an honest review.

If you have been looking for a creative way to teach financial literacy for kids, Pirates of Financial Freedom is a fun book that will do just that! Who knew that a fiction novel about pirates could teach so much that a regular math program leaves out?

This book is probably best for teens, since my three sons understood all the concepts, but my daughter who is 9 had trouble with a couple of the more complicated concepts like compound interest. She still learned quite a lot, though, and we were all on the edge of our seats when the pirate ship encountered a dangerous sea serpent. The financial concepts are woven into the main plot line quite well, as you will see when you watch my kids goofily trying to re-enact a couple of scenes merged together from the book.


Lessons on Financial Literacy

For the fun and goofy video my children performed about this book, I chose two scenes that took place in stores. One was a hat shop where a pirate was buying a lot with a credit card without having the money in the bank to pay for it. The pirate assumed that he would be getting more treasure in pirate raids in the near future, but choosing to spend money before you have it is the way poor people act. Rich people spend below their means, and they have the money in the bank to pay for their purchases when the credit card bills come.

The other scene was a 70-year-old pirate talking about saving for retirement. His brother began saving for retirement when he was 25, and at 40 he stopped saving. The old pirate himself did not start saving until he was 40, and he’s been saving for 30 years. So his brother only saved for 15 years, and he himself saved for 30 years–double the amount of time. They both saved 300 doubloons a month. At the end of that time, who do you think had the most money? Watch the goofy pirate video to find out the unexpected answer.

Goofy Pirate Video about Financial Literacy

And there you have it! The Pirates of Financial Freedom will teach financial literacy for kids, showing them how to have better financial skills while listening to a fun story about pirates!


Cool Treasure Hunt to Find Financial Literacy:

You can download a sample of the book here:

Go on a treasure hunt to find more chapters of this fun book!

If you would like to use this book as part of a pirate unit study, take a look at my free awesome pirate unit study:

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Buy the book, available in hardback and e-book: Pirates of Financial Freedom


Book Giveaway & Free Financial Consultation :

Enter to win one of three autographed hardcover copies of the book, plus 2 hours of financial consulting time with the author (for kids or parents!) Giveaway ends November 27, 10pm Central Time.


Fun Ways to Overlearn Math

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Fun Ways to Overlearn Math

Before I dive into some fun ways to overlearn math, you might be asking, why do children need to overlearn math? And what does it mean to overlearn something? Overlearning means that a skill is practiced far beyond the point of initial mastery, to the point where the skill becomes automatic. You don’t want your children counting on their hands when taking their timed tests for college, and neither do you want them to get ripped off as adults because they do not have their basic math facts down cold.

Cheryl Lowe, the founder of Memoria Press, explains why overlearning is so vital, especially for math: “Math is systematic, organized, orderly, logical and cumulative. In a cumulative study, each skill builds upon the previous one; nothing can be forgotten; everything must be remembered… Math begins with memorization, computation, fractions, decimals, percent, word problems, and proceeds to problem solving, algebra, geometry, trig, and calculus. Math is hard because it builds so relentlessly year after year through every year of the child’s education. Any skill not mastered one year will make work difficult the next year. It is unforgiving. It has to be overlearned. That is why few students reach a high level in math. They reach a glass ceiling because the cumulative nature of the subject catches up with them. Eventually they are over their heads and quit.”

So how can you drill basic math facts in a way that the kids don’t get sick of it? Here are some fun ways to overlearn math:

  • Roll two dice and add, subtract, or multiply the numbers together. My kids loved doing this with extra-large foam dice that we rolled on the floor.
  • Jump up and down on a trampoline while shouting basic math facts. The movement of the body causes the mind to remember the facts more clearly later.
  • Make a large number line on the floor with construction paper and ask younger students to add and subtract by running the correct number of squares back and forth on the number line. You can also do this with skip counting, hopping over a square to count by two’s, or hopping over two squares to count by three’s.
  • Play games like Yahtzee to learn to add quickly, since each player must add the numbers on five dice every time it’s their turn.
  • Grab a deck of cards and make two piles, face down. Draw one card from each pile and add, subtract, or multiply the numbers.
  • Buy many-sided dice that are colorful, and have kids shake all the dice and add them up. Go around in a circle, to see who gets the highest points for each round.
  • Skip count using an abacus, pushing the beads across by three’s, or four’s, or five’s.
  • Grab a set of dominoes and add, subtract, or multiply the two numbers on each domino.
  • Place 4 matchbox cars in 8 plastic bags. Skip count by four’s by counting the bags. Place 9 matchbox cars in each bag. Now skip count by 9’s. (Use any toy or object to put in the bags.)

Overlearning math doesn’t have to be tedious, but it is necessary to help our children not to struggle with math in future years and on timed tests. Have your kids choose some of these hands-on ways to learn their basic math facts. Then give them timed drills, and reward each drill that they win with a special evening of fun for the family!

Related product: Overcoming Math Frustration

Is this math problem wrong?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Sneaky Math

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

sneaky-mathMy son Stephen was sneaking around with a flashlight after he was supposed to be in bed. Guess what he was doing? His math! This has gone on for quite some time apparently, because he has been doing two math lessons per day, just to finish his book sooner. You see, I told him that once he was finished with his book, he was done. He would have the summer off. I did not intend for him to be done this early. I fear that he will lose his math skills if he takes four months off. But my word is my word. And what is he going to do for a month while his siblings do math?

Of course, his sister was the one who tattled on him. His brothers knew well what he was doing, since they sleep in the same room. I guess I know who’s loyal to whom. And even though Stephen was being disobedient to be up after we had put him to bed, how can any decent parent spank a child who is diligently doing his math? This is just a plain weird situation.

The sad part of it all for Stephen is the fact that he did the entire bonus section in the back of the book, which I wasn’t going to require him to do. Yep. He did six MORE days of math than was required by me, and I don’t have the heart to tell him that he did too much. Maybe that will be his punishment…