I had shared my system for teaching Bear math on my old blog. But I felt that it should be shared again as it turned out to be a very successful method for us. The system developed when he had just turned 3 years old. Along with a concept in numbers I also re-enforced numbers, patterns and fine motor skills. The cost of this was minimal.
Each pipe cleaner was attached to a piece of sturdy cardboard with the number written on one side, and the corresponding number of dots on the reverse. Bear then would count the dots and string up the appropriate number of beads on the pipe cleaner.
But it didn’t stop there. We started to add patterns to the mix
Of course, at the end of the day, the best tools and activities for a child are interaction with parents. Count the apples in a bowl, the eggs in the basket. Play games like ‘ if you and sissie have breakfast and both of you want one egg each, how many eggs should I cook?’ Count Frootloop style cereals and let them make patterns for a necklace. Use Frootloop style cereal for learning to make bar graphs and tally charts.
Bear is now five years old and does 2nd grade math. While I am thrilled about his interest in math, I know he is no prodigy (thank goodness). Nor is the fact that he does 2nd grade math so remarkable since the standard seems abysmally low. The wonderful thing about homeschooling is the fact that he can learn at his pace, whatever that may be. I am convinced however, that starting early is the key. As long as it’s a game and there is no pressure a child’s natural curiosity will lead them to discover and investigate.