Avoid Hard Work, the Workshop

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Avoid Hard Work gives a playful view on ten powerful problem-solving techniques. These techniques were first published by the Mathematical Association of America to help high school students with advanced math courses. Natural Math adapted the ten techniques and the sample problems for everybody!

As featured on the NPR, National Math Festival, and Reddit AMA – now a two-week LIVE workshop from the creators of the book!

  • What: A live, joyful, playful online workshop about problem-solving,  for parents and teachers with children ages 3 and up.
  • Why: Learn how to help your children become better problem-solvers, in math and life.
  • Who: A small group of parents, teachers, math circle leaders, and their children, with Yelena McManaman and Dmitri Droujkov as organizers.
  • When: Live meetings January 26 and February 2, at 8-9 PM EST (New York).
  • Where: Online video-talk software Zoom (similar to Skype).
  • Price: Registration is $25. Work-trade is available upon request.
  • Supplies: Paper, markers, scissors, toys.
  • Bonus! $5 off paperback or ebook Avoid Hard Work when you pay for this workshop.

Join the workshop

Avoid Hard Work

Let’s Avoid Hard Work!

Perhaps when faced with a math problem you simply know what to do. It’s like the sixth sense to you. It’s not solving the problem itself that you find difficult, but the explaining of why you did this and not that. Or maybe math problems for you are like magic tricks without the “reveal” part. You follow all the instructions word-for-word and you do pull the rabbit out of a hat, but how did it get there in the first place?

Math, whether you are explaining it or learning it, can seem like a lot of hard work. Have no idea how the bunny got into the hat? Most magicians don’t either… when they first get started. Feeling stuck and frustrated is not the end, but rather the beginning of an adventure.

All mathematicians, scientists, and engineers go through this not-knowing stage. Anyone who solves problems for a living or as a hobby does. And many of these people don’t want to work hard if they can think of an easier way of doing things.  Avoid Hard Work is one of ten powerful techniques for you to learn. Think of them as ten tools real professionals use, made accessible for children. After all, computers used to be just for a few top engineers, and now kids carry these tools in their pockets!

Join the workshop

Here’s how it works:

Participants from all over the world meet twice in an active, face-and-voice webinar. During the workshop, you will try the activities live, ask questions, and discuss ideas with other participants and the workshop leaders.

Between the meetings, you can do math activities with your children or students. We want you to bring your experience back to the second workshop. Bring the successes, the challenges, the struggles, whatever happens – so we can help you and your children take the experience further.

Our second workshop will give you the support, feedback and confidence you need to try out even more math activities on your own.

Join this new Natural Math adventure!

Click to download sample pages. Read questions and answers, try the activities with your children, and let us know what you think!

Avoid Hard Work Sample


Yelena McManaman 
is a blogger, education consultant, and developer, focusing on young children. Yelena homeschools her son and organizes classes and events for kids. Online, Yelena helps other parents collaborate around advanced math for young children. Yelena has two published books, Moebius Noodles and Avoid Hard Work. 

Dmitri Droujkov works in requirements and development management, programming, and design for educational software and platforms. Through design of smart tech tools, Dmitri supports and enables deep innovation in STEM education. Dmitri leads live and online events, and edits Natural Math books.

Natural Math Principles

Easy Complexity is one of the seven Natural Math main principles, and the focus of this workshop. Easy Complexity is how a five-year-old learns calculus. Tell stories, make art, and find analogies that make your math friendly. Gently grow your happy familiarity with complex ideas. We make math easy enough for open play and complex enough for advanced mastery.

What do you get from Avoid Hard Work LIVE Workshop?

  • A highly interactive experience where you make models, talk, and collaborate with other parents and teachers.
  • Leading your children or students on playful math adventures in problem-solving
  • Two live online meetings to see how to run these activities, and to get inspired. Workshop leaders will answer your questions, and help you help your children. You will have access to meeting’s recordings on YouTube.
  • PDF of the book
  • Confidence to make a real difference in children’s mathematics.

Join the workshop

Register now!

Questions? Email reach.out@naturalmath.com or ask in comments to this page.

  • Connection and devices: you will need fast internet to watch and listen. It’s better to have a microphone and a webcam so you can show and tell as well, but you can also use text chat. We recommend larger screens rather than phones.
  • Software: Zoom is a tool for talking, like Skype or Google Hangouts. Please download and try it, here: https://zoom.us/test The same page has the link to a tech support center, in case you need it.
  • Recording: The meetings will be available to course participants as YouTube videos.