Posts Tagged ‘homeschool math’

We have a number line.

It was cheap. (My favorite thing about it!)

We made it ourselves.

It doesn’t hang on the wall. (This might actually be my favorite part.)

We add to it as needed.  Right now it’s up to forty-five.  Eventually we’ll make it to 100 and it will start in the living room and end in my bedroom; the thirties on the stairs and the eighties in the bathroom.

Everyone uses it; the three year-old for simple counting, the first grader and third grader   for skip-counting (and they can really skip–sort of) and walking out their addition, subtraction and multiplication. 

 I like getting them off their bums and in motion, their little feet tracing a numerical path as they forge and strengthen new ones in their brain.

A typical morning with my three year-old on the floor number line might include any  of the following activities:

  • Counts by ones from one to twenty, stepping with both feet in front of the number as she says its name; then she does the same counting backwards from twenty to one. If she’s feeling really sassy she can bunny hop or hop on one foot from number to number, but she has to be in front of the number as she says it. 
  • “Find the number” — I call out a number and she has to find it and stand in front of it as quickly as possible.  Then I may ask questions or give directions like, “which number is next” or “move forward two numbers and tell me what number you’re on now”.
  • Counting objects — I grab a handful of small items (pennies, paperclips, tiny toy dinosaurs, etc) and she has to count out the appropriate amount for a number that I  select. Then I will ask what she can do to that group so that she has the correct amount for the next number on the number line (or the previous number).

No matter their age, everyone’s time with the floor number line ends the same way:    “countdown and blast off!”  This simply means counting down to one, yelling “blast off!” and running wildly around the house making any number of imagined rocket-like sounds.

One last word.  Our floor number line is one of those perfect, golden arrows in my homeschool arsenal:  no one moans, groans or complains when I give the order to set it up; quite the opposite, in fact. (Ok, really, that’s my favorite part.)

Happy counting,



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Since we started homeschool, I have yet to enjoy the luxury of a designated “school room” in our home.  This is rarely a problem… 

This was a very easy, very inexpensive solution.

But when I wanted a large number line for math work, an alternative to the “hundreds chart” that my little students use individually, I was stumped.  Nobody would appreciate one in their bedroom and I wasn’t about to slap one up on the dining room walls!

All this requires is floor space. Don't concern yourself with one straight line. Ours usually snakes all over the house!

The solution turned out to be easy and unexpectedly fun.  I grabbed a stack of white printer paper and a magic marker and began outlining numbers.  We laid our number line out on the floor and got down to the business of mathematics!

The kids love working with this number line.

In their spare time the kids colored in the numbers until we had a unique, colorful number line that showed glimpses of their separate personalities from beginning to end!

Next time I’ll share some of the ways our kids–3,6 and 8–use this number line with their mathematics.


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