Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Dec30_MathBox2_SM I came to the United States as a college graduate, and so did my husband. Both of us were not raised with “math is hard” outlook, and we have engineering degrees. We didn’t really try to focus on math last year, but we read a lot of counting books, played shop, measured things together, compared sets while building towers and counted while throwing balls. But when she turned 3 and her reading took off in a matter of months, I was thinking of how we can replicate our success with Progressive Phonics. I was looking for something that I could break into very small pieces and that wouldn’t be either boring or way beyond her abilities.
Mar21_Math
One thing that I had to understand is that initial success in math is much harder to measure that success in language arts. Reading or spelling successes are more obvious. When I went to look for math curriculums, the choices were numerous and somewhat overwhelming. So I went to the educational store not far from work and looked at various curriculum books. I was sort of surprised to realize that just by doing “hands on math” we were well Math Reasoning Level Abeyond preschool. So I looked at K-level books. Not surprisingly, Singapore Math was closest to how I was taught math, but I had the feeling that the way material was presented will not appeal to my daughter. After going back to the store several times I chose this math book from The Critical Thinking. We’ve been using it for about a month now, and overall I am pleased with this approach. I don’t ever show Smarty the whole book – she might be intimidated by it. Instead I use it more as a guide for myself – I usually introduce the topic to her through games and books and then ask her if she wants to do “a math challenge”. I don’t give her more than one worksheet a day – we have no reason to rush this curriculum considering that my daughter is still only 3 years and 5 months. I am trying to keep it fun and light – the same way we did it with reading. For example, our current topic is odd and even. We talked about pairs, divided play food into two and read Missing Mittens from Math Start series before I even gave her the first worksheet. My only complaint about the curriculum is that more hands-on topics of measurements happen only in the last third of the book, but, of course, I can choose to introduce it whenever I want.

14 comments:

Joyful Learner said...

I never heard of that curriculum. I use Singapore Math for one of the students I tutor and I love it. I heard Right Start was very hands-on and some homeschoolers use it before switching over to Singapore Math. All in all, it beats out Everyday Math and CIMS Math. I would love to look at the curriculum you are using but right now, I just make up hands-on activities as I go and use various books like Elementary School Mathemtics by John A. Van De Walle, Games for Math by Kaye, and Family Math as resources. There's enough to keep us busy for many many years! :)

Debbie said...

Great post about Math. I am with you about teaching math early on, but I do not have a curriculum, I make up my own for Selena. I still see by looking at her curriculum for next year that we are advanced in this area as well. I guess when we have the homeschool convention I will have to check out other math options.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I've never thought about math being hard - I always liked it in school, but my husband had terrible math teachers, and missed out on a lot of fun. He is more math minded than I am, but has always avoided it. I've decided it's not so much the curriculum as it is the teaching approach, that matters.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Emily loves playing shop to practice math skills too. I took her with me to volunteer at our local food co-op store a few times, and she always loves it. I love your approach to Math. If you don't make it seem hard, she won't know any different.

MaryAnne said...

This sounds like a great math approach! Emma got a Kumon math workbook from one of my friends for her birthday, and she enjoys doing pages from that - I just tear them out and stick them in sheet protectors, so she can do them as often as she wants to.

Ticia said...

I had a love hate relationship with math, once I got into the harder math classes and was put into the honors classes I loved it, but before that I hated it. Isn't that funny?
I love the Critical Thinking books, they're so great. And, I"m with you on Singapore Math, it is not for us either. My kids are loving our Math-U-See books, but I'm doing much like you of taking it slow.

Adriana said...

I have never heard of those books. I will definitely look for them at the book store. I totally agree that showing Anna that Math is interesting and useful early on will pay off later.

Eva said...

I'm thinking about starting math activities too.. thanks for sharing the title of the book I'll definitely check it out :)

April said...

I never cared for math growing up. I was never horrible in it but I never enjoyed it either. I think its because it didn't come as easy to me as everything else seemed to. I promised myself to try hard to never tell my daughter that I didn't really like math because I want her to have her own experience with it. I hoping she will love it.

Christy said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for the resources. C uses Singapore math in school. I am happy with it. I'm always looking for new resources to use at home. Thanks!

Pathfinder Mom said...

We found a fun way to remember odd and even this week. The child counts up starting from one, and they pat their legs for the odd numbers, and then clap their hands for the evens. Tornado Boy finds this to be a pretty fun way to determine which is which.

Melissa cobamansky said...

When we were looking for algebra software the choices were numerous, but we were fortunate to find a quality dvd for our son.

Melissa cobamansky said...

When we were looking for algebra software the choices were numerous, but we were fortunate to find a quality dvd for our son.

Jonathan Molinsky said...

The choices were numerous when we were looking for a math dvd.It has been very helpful for our 2 sons and they are doing great in school.