Living Math: Teaching Math with Charlotte Mason


Do you struggle with math? Do your students struggle with math? Have you ever thought that math seems disconnected from real life? If you have ever felt these things we are excited to present to you a new math resource that we carry, Living Math!

Living Math (LM) is a wonderful Charlotte Mason math program! It brings all of what we love about the Charlotte Mason method into a structured math program! This math fits perfectly alongside the other programs and resources that WinterPromise offers. In this post we will give you a detailed explanation of how LM works and what makes this program so unique!

Narrative Story

The backbone of LM is the narrative story. One of the core principles that Charlotte Mason promoted was living books. She wanted to get away from dry, stale textbooks and into books that taught the subject by exciting the reader with riveting story – in other words, she advocated books that came to life. Hence the term, living books! What LM does is chronicle an adventure that your child will share while they learn different mathematical principles.

“It is the story of a twin brother and sister who are visiting their grandparents’ farm. They soon learn that the farm is full of learning opportunities! As you read their story, your student will be drawn into the adventure along with the twins.” (Living Math Level 1, p. 4)

The excerpt above was taken from one of the introductory pages. The key to the success of this program is that this math book is not just a book filled with questions and answers, it is a book filled with adventure and problem-solving.

Connecting Math to Real Life


A big advantage of LM is the narrative format which connects the math that your children are learning to real life. Math, along with other subjects, is often taught in a compartmentalized manner. This is not how real life works though! “For example, when you are cooking or baking, you have to use the skills of reading, logical thinking, and measuring, just to name a few.” (Living Math Level 1, p. 5) This program does an amazing job of showing how math is an essential part of life. Here is an example from Level 1:

To teach the concept of solving for an unknown:

” ‘How many cups do I need, Grandma?’ Charlotte asked, wiping her hands on her apron, leaving yellow streaks down her sides. . . ‘Well, how many cups do you have so far?’ Grandma came over to look over Charlotte’s shoulder. ‘We need four cups altogether.’

‘I put one in so far,’ Charlotte answered. ‘So how many more do I need?’

‘Let’s figure it out. . . you have 1 + ___ = 4,’ Grandma wrote on a scrap of paper. Charlotte looked at her fingers, ‘Hmmm. I have 1.’ She held up one finger. ‘And 2 comes after 1, so 2, 3, 4. I counted 3 more fingers. Is that right Grandma?’

‘Yes, Charlotte, that is right. Good job! What you just did is what we call ‘solving for the uknown.’ When you know how much you need altogether,  you can figure out how much more you need by counting up, just like you did.'” (Living Math Level 1, p. 201)

This example as noted above is just one of a myriad of examples of how the story connects math to real life. When your students move on to more complex math topics LM still continues to connect it back to real life.

Other Features

One way that this curriculum keeps costs down is by offering the answer keys free online. This makes for simplicity and affordability. It works great for teachers in larger settings such as a co-op or other one-day-a-week schools. You can access these anywhere and the link is given directly inside the resource. Another feature that this program offers is that each page is perforated and three-hole punched. This provides you with the flexibility to put the pages into student binders or to pass them out for students to finish their work independently.

The program is formatted very simply. Each lesson starts with a narration and proceeds to exercise sheets to practice the concepts. At the end of each section there are quiz or review sheets. This makes the lessons and the structure of the program simple for parents to follow. These features, combined with the proven Charlotte Mason method as the backbone to teaching, makes this program a great fit for most families. You will be successful not only in teaching math, but also teaching your children that math has real life benefits and importance.

We are excited to offer this math program to our families! We will be adding more grade levels as they are developed. In the next few months we should have up to 6th grade available for purchase. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 802-372-9200, M-F 9-5 EDT. To see the current samples we have please click on the links below!