Homeschooling: Kindergarten Math

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Today was a big math day for us.  I love math days.  Math is awesome.  I want my kids to love math too, so I try to make it fun.  When I am choosing a curriculum, unit, worksheet, or activity, regardless of the subject matter, I try to make sure it’s going to be fun.  Sometimes, when I pick up a curriculum book or see a worksheet online, I feel like I would be bored to tears if I had to do it.  I’m not going to torture myself by trying to make my kids drudge through something boring and monotonous.

We did a lot of math today, and NONE of it felt boring or monotonous.  We even did two worksheets.  Some of you need to change your attitude about math – at least around your kids.  If you show interest and enjoyment in what your kiddo is learning, chances are they will show interest and enjoyment as well.  This is going to vary some, especially as kids get older, but I definitely see that my kids take their attitude cues from me.  On the other side, if you talk about how much you hate something, your kids are generally going to hate it too.  If you tell them math is boring and hard and terrible, they will believe you.  So stop it!  Learning about numbers is FUN.  We are skip counting, adding, learning about money, and even solving story problems.  STOP right there with those mental eye rolls – story problems are awesome!  “Jan needs 10 dollars.  She has 5 dollars.  How many more dollars does Jan need?”  The answer is not that Jan needs to get a credit card.  Maybe this is why so many people are bad with money.  Somebody needed to tell them in Kindergarten that math and numbers and story problems are awesome.  I’m not here to have an argument about algebra or calculus with you (although, I love them too).  But I do wish more parents fostered a love for numbers in their small children, rather than training them, by example, that math is just a dumb chore.

I get that some of you just don’t love math.  For me, it’s history.  I never enjoyed history in school.  But rather than avoid it and have a bad attitude, I’m so excited to learn alongside my kids.  I’m trying even harder in this subject area to make it come alive, because the traditional way of doing things just did NOT work for me.  This is one of the BEST things about homeschooling!  I can change it up and do what works best for US!

Math is probably the subject we change things up in the most.  I love that I am able to see my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses so quickly and change the plans as needed.  We can advance in certain areas beyond her “grade level,” and go back in other areas to pick up something she has missed.  Today’s math lessons are a great example of this, so I wanted to share with you an example of what we use and how we adjust.

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Our main math curriculum is called Math U See.  I started her in the Alpha level in the spring, and after a few lessons, realized we needed to go back and start with Primer instead.  We skipped at least 10 lessons and then got going.  It is BEAUTIFUL to be able to tailor your child’s schooling to what THEY need.  I did my research before picking our math curriculum, and I hated the more traditional school books.  I am very impressed by the simplicity and reasoning behind Math U See, and I believe it is challenging, yet still fun and flexible.  It comes with a teaching DVD so that another teacher is teaching your kids the lesson, which takes a lot of pressure off as well.  Sometimes your kids (and you) just need someone else to explain it.  As of now, we have covered (and enjoyed) subjects such as place value, skip counting, certain addition facts, and solving for an unknown.  (Excuse me while my heart skips a beat…solving for an unknown in Kindergarten…I love it!)

This week, we have added in some other math items to supplement, though.  Through going over our daily calendar time (this particular day it was in the car), I realized Tenley was struggling with the teen numbers.  She will often transpose the numbers (calling 13, 31).  To be fair, that set of numbers is weird.  We should pronounce them “ten-three, ten-four, etc,” but we don’t.  Since she’s not retaining it with me just explaining it (over, and over, and over….), enter Pinterest.  I found these awesome number reinforcement worksheets, and since she can read, they are perfect.  Plus, we’re getting in some handwriting at the same time, which she can be hesitant to do.  Sneaky learning is the best.  I printed off 11-19 and we will do one each school day.

I also found some awesome resources for learning about money.  We have talked about this a little bit on our own, and she knows what money is.  She knows that you earn money by working for it, and we have taught her to break up her money into 3 categories: save, give, and spend.  But it is obvious she doesn’t understand the values of each piece clearly.  I understand this will be a process, but we are starting now!

While she was working on the money puzzles, she grabbed her Money Mini Book as a reference.  (Great way to problem solve, girly!  Use the resources around you!)  I also printed, laminated, and cut out these money clip cards, for her to use with clothespins.  Pinterest can be so helpful, and I am SO thankful for these fellow homeschooling mamas who have made these resources available FREE!

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As you can see, we are kind of all over the board here.  We have gone backwards to pick up some skills she maybe “should have” known already.  We have moved forward into some advanced skills.  And we have grabbed some practical items to learn about on the fly as well.  I absolutely love having the ability to control what she is learning, depending on what she needs.  I also love having the ability to go with the flow and not plan so much.  We have a loose plan, but we are able to be flexible, and adjust based on needs and desires.  I still have a lot to learn, but I am so thankful God has us on this journey for this season.  It has already been more of a blessing than I ever had imagined.

How did YOU feel about math in school?

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