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.
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 beyond 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.