So Pumpkin 1 is finally ready for the Golden Beads now that she is confident with her numbers up to 10.

I started off with giving her the beads and telling her the names. I find she doesn’t remember words quite a quickly as she did when she was 2 and 3. I suppose she’s past the sensitive period for language.

Next I gave her the number cards 1000, 100, 10 and 1 and we matched them up. I made my own Golden beads because 1) I wanted to save money and 2) I wanted to do them in two shades to show the 5+ in line with the RightStart Math approach.

It’s not hard to make your own materials. You need round faceted beads (not perler, if they’re not spheres they won’t make squares), stiff wire, mesh frame (from the dollar store), wire cutters and needle nose pliers.

After I was finally done making 8 more 100 squares and 8 more 10 bars I introduced her to how numbers are formed. The decimal system or place value is the next step in Math in Montessori and it’s a little different than what’s done in the main stream. This is because children like to work with large quantities, the child’s absorbent mind and his sensitive periods for order, language and refinement of the senses. The bead material is very sensorial, the child can see the difference between 100 and 1000.

This was really fun. I love how hands on it is and how the child can actually see and feel the amount. It allows Pumpkin to have an understanding of place value that she wouldn’t have grasped otherwise.

The next step is supposed to be done another time but I find you can often combine presentations in home schooling because it’s so 1 on 1 and since she was really engaged I thought it was good to take advantage of it.

So I lay out numbers and then she put out the amount of beads to match. Then she wanted me to lay out the beads and she find the numbers. She liked it that way better and we worked on it for quite a while.

Next she asked about 0. First I lay out beads with no thousand cube and she wanted to know why we don’t put a 0 before the 100. I was really surprised though when she asked about doing a 0 in the other numbers.

She caught on right away how to write the number with 0 in it and wanted to pick different place values to have 0.

We didn’t do the names of the 10’s numbers. Instead I called them 2 ten, 3 ten. The traditional names will come later.

When she was tired of the Golden beads she asked to use the Addition Strip board I had gotten in the mail the day before. I had worked with her on it after we opened it but realized she just wasn’t ready and it was too abstract but she begged to do it today.

The reason I got the board is because I’ve been really interested in the Japanese Abacus called the Soroban.

Using an abacus requires knowing the sums that equal 10 really well. This is also part of the RightStart Math curriculum and so the addition strip board is a good way to work on this.

First I said she had to show me she know how to add beads together on the abacus to make 10. After she did some I went and got out the Addition Strip Board.

She was able to do it but I could tell she didn’t understand the concept so I had her match two strips on the board and then do those numbers on the abacus and that did help but then she discovered something neat….

The Math cubes fit perfectly on the board! This was great because it really helped her see the concept. She could see the amount of cubes and then count out how many more she needed to add. I think we will use it this way for now.

She worked for a long time today. It’s fun to see her learning and as someone who hated Math in school, I love the way Montessori is done, making Math easy to understand and fun.

Love your homemade beads, they look amazing!