Resources Part 1. Creative Arts, English and Maths

I was going to make a list of our favourite resources but it’s so hard to say what they are. Those we use vary according to age, interest and preferred learning style of each child. So this is just a list of what resources we are using at the moment, or have used fairly recently. I’ve sorted them according to the Key Learning Areas in the NSW syllabus.

Creative Arts

Pokemon Boy (Y6) and Drama King (Y4) : Music Craft for Cool Cats Preliminary Book A

Drama King: The Usborne First Book of the Recorder; Breezin’ Thru Theory (online subscription)

Reptile Boy (Y1): Dogs and Birds, The Usborne Book of Art Skills

Everyone: SING! books and CDs from ABC. This year’s music is largely Australian, with a few from nearby countries like Indonesia, or others that have high numbers of immigrants into Australia, like India. We are learning about Australian history and society just by listening to and singing the songs.


Everyone: Brave Writer. I think I have written plenty about this approach in other posts on this blog.

List of recommended texts from BOS

Pokemon Boy and Drama King: Sequential Spelling, Targeting Handwriting (NSW) at appropriate level

Reptile Boy: All About Spelling, Targeting Handwriting Y1 (NSW)

Resources we have used in the past, but not so much at the moment:


A Guide for using the Phantom Tollbooth in the Classroom” by Kathleen L Bulloch

Handwriting without Tears


Everyone: Manga High

Dragon Box 12+, from WeWantToKnow. This is a wonderful app for teaching algebra, presented as a game, with very little words of instruction. The children have to get the ‘dragon’ in the box to one side of the screen on its own. Each time you complete the task, your dragon changes a little. When you complete a level you get a different creature to grow, or evolve. This approach is very familiar to children such as mine who are keen on computer games such as Pokemon. Later on the box becomes x, and tiles in the game that used to have pictures on, now have letters commonly used in algebra. Without having been completely aware of the process, your children have learned techniques of algebraic manipulation normally not taught until high school.

We bought both apps initially, but I prefer the 12+ app as it has a wider scope. The 5+ app introduces new ideas more slowly but I don’t think any of my boys needed that.

I’m looking forward to the geometry app that WeWantToKnow is beta testing at the moment.

Math-U-See (Reptile Boy is on Beta; Pokemon Boy and Drama King are on Epsilon)

Drama King and Reptile Boy: “Mathematical Challenges for Able Pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2.” This is a UK publication, so KS1 and KS2 takes you all the way to the end of primary school (Year 6). We own a print version, but you can download the whole document for free from this link. (Let me know if the link is broken any time.)

Other maths resources I have used in the past:

Maths Warriors (I particularly used the challenge cards, found under “Work Cards and Worksheets”.)

NCETM Primary Magazine. If you have not visited this site before, you need to sign up to use it, but after that it is completely free. I *love* the links between maths and the real world, and the regular features on maths in art. I actually should use this resource more than I do.

Life of Fred. I enjoy reading popular maths books myself, but these are the only maths textbooks you will find my children reading for fun.  The character ‘Fred’ is a quirky and very intelligent five year old who teaches maths at the imaginary Kittens University. The stories follow his not-so-everyday life and introduce maths concepts through the situations he finds himself in, whether having thrown his sleeping bag out of a three storey window or trying to make ice cream for a conference. We order from Z-Twist Books. Postage is reasonable if you only order three elementary books or two higher level books at a time, so they fit into a cardboard envelope instead of a box.

Next term I plan to enter both older boys into the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians run by the Australian Mathematics Trust.




About scimumsam

An ex scientist living in Australia, currently tutoring maths and science and homeschooling my own children. I blog about science and maths education on, and homeschooling (infrequently) on lookingslantwise.
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