Sunday, December 12, 2010

Early Childhood Math Concept

I've been meaning to share our approach to teaching Bear math for a long time. 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.

We used pipe cleaners and inexpensive wooden beads from a craft store
along with colored card board. Each cardboard have a number on one side and the
corresponding number of dots on the other side.
Once he started to understand the concept of numbers we enjoyed additional activities such as bringing the right amount of toy cars in a particular color.

Colored beads and pipe cleaners are a wonderful way to teach young children about patterns.The reasonably rigid structure of the pipe cleaner makes beading easier.

 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.

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