Best of Both Worlds podcast: Bedtime Math with Laura Overdeck

Lots of us read bedtime stories to our kids. But how does math fit in?

Inspired by a listener question along those lines, we invited Laura Overdeck to this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds. Overdeck is the author of the beloved Bedtime Math series of books. Each book has dozens of short stories that lead to little math problems you can do with your kids. You can also get the problems by signing up for the Bedtime Math organization’s emails or their app. These fun problems are a fantastic way to make math a regular part of life.

Which it should be! There’s some evidence that kids struggled more to keep up with math during the pandemic than they struggled with reading. It’s possible that adults felt more comfortable reading with kids, and incorporated more reading into everyday life, whereas math was more of a school-based subject. But math doesn’t need to be confined to school. With bedtime stories we have fond memories of snuggling up with parents, feeling cozy and loved. The idea of Bedtime Math is to encourage kids to feel the same way about mathematical concepts.

I can say that my kids have really enjoyed reading the Bedtime Math books! So please check them out.

In the Q&A section, we address a listener who wants details on how Sarah is having one on one dinners with her kids. The listener struggles with the idea of using childcare outside of work hours. So we tackle that topic too.

Please give the episode a listen, and as always, we welcome ratings and reviews!

7 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Bedtime Math with Laura Overdeck

  1. Oh my GOODNESS my kids LOVE the bedtime math books. I cannot WAIT to listen to this episode!!! Literally so excited!

  2. Well as a math major and lover of math, I loved this episode! I will definitely check out these books. It seems like people really struggle with word problems which is too bad because that is how math gets applied in the real world!

    The episode made me think about why I was attracted to math despite it not being a common degree for women. I was definitely a minority in my math classes but had another very good friend who was a math major. I think part of it was that subjects in school were never “gendered” by my parents. There was no “boys are good at math” kind of vibe. They encouraged our interests and I happened to be attracted to math as well as other subjects. I did have a great HS math teacher but he was not great at teaching kids who struggled with math. But he was very encouraging and got me involved in mathletes when I was in 9th or 10th grade. But as someone who tends to have very very black and white thinking, math was very appealing to me since there is a right and wrong answer. And I much preferred taking tests to writing papers!

    Halloween is a good place to do some basic math with kids. Paul and I sorted his candy and then I asked him what he had the most of and the least of just by looking at the piles and then we counted the bigger piles to see how they ranked. Like Laura mentioned, baking is another excellent real-world place for math since it uses so many fractions.

  3. As a kid, I used to ask my dad if we could do “math problems for fun” and I am so thankful he instilled confidence and joy around numbers and problem-solving. I love talking about math with my 3 year old and am excited to have new resources!

    Also, thank you for the Q&A – I just started having someone come help us in the mornings before daycare (which felt like a big leap for me that I likely never would have made without BOBW) and I have felt guilt if I don’t use every paid second on work. Thank you for giving us permission and encouragement to lean into childcare.

  4. Thanks so much for this podcast. We’ve started doing the daily questions during dinner time, and my 5 year old now reminds me to do it every night. Like mentioned on the podcast, we have already been reading bedtime stories to our girls, but this was a great reminder to incorporate math throughout the day, too. I loved math growing up, and I hope this helps instill that in my daughters, too.

  5. Picked these books up from the library after listening to the episode and my 5 year old loves them! We are a big literary family but don’t do much with STEM, so I’m very excited to also introduce math at a young age and help make it exciting. Thank you for a great episode and a great resource.

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