Multiplication

After addition with the golden beads, Pumpkin 1 wasn’t keen on subtraction, so on consultation with other Montessori moms, I introduced multiplication.  Multiplication?  For a 4 year old?  Yes!  Multiplication is only the addition of the same number multiple times.  Usually this is done in the Montessori classroom with a group of children.  Since we don’t have a group, I used little peg people.  I thought that would make it more fun for her.

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After giving each “person” the same amount.  We added it all together.

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Who knew multiplication was so simple and fun?  Pumpkin 1 didn’t want to try it again so I made it more engaging by appealing to her sense of imagination.  We said the golden beads were treasure each person had and we had to figure out home much they had altogether.  After the second calculation she told me the people were tired and needed to go to sleep.  Oh well.

We actually had a really good work session today (in between Pumpkin 2 throwing things, climbing on me and treating me like a jungle gym while I tried to work with Pumpkin 1).  He always wants to be a part of everything but he’s still in a key time for gross motor skills.  I really should put an oval line on the floor.  I wish I had a balance beam.  He did work for a bit on the Animal and Plant sorting cards.

Pumpkin 1 did some Pink Series writing and reading.  I’ve put all the materials for the Pink Series in tackle boxes.  She’s good at writing with the moveable alphabet but she still really struggles with sounding out.  She’ll say the sound of each letter but when she puts it together will use different letters or say what she thinks not what she read.  She is really good at sight reading and knows a lot of words that way so she gets frustrated at having to sound out, she wants to just memorize every word.

We did the life cycle figures and read the little life cycle books, Pumpkin 2 sat on my lap to listen.  Then the two of them worked on patterning with the math link cubes, Pumpkin 2 just did whatever Pumpkin 1 told him.

 

After that Pumpkin 1 did the North America continent map with flags, and matched the objects in the continent box with the cards.  We also read the little book about North America and she looked at pictures of Banff Park with the ViewMaster.

Then that I suggested lunch but she wanted to do the Flag Map.  Somehow, the key I made, is lost but she remembered almost all the flags and even corrected me when I confused the Algerian flag with Pakistan’s.

It’s great when we have a good work session, especially since yesterday’s was a bust.  I just need to find more for Pumpkin 2 to do.

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What We’ve Been Up To.

Pumpkin 2 is growing up fast.  Not only is he potty trained day and night, he no longer sucks his thumbs (thanks to some applications of juice from our Aloe Vera plant) and he no longer has a nap.  The no nap has meant huge changes to our daily schedule and including him in “school time” now.  It has also meant a lot of changes for me to figure out how to work with both of them but, it has been going better than I expected.  It’s also had benefits as the day can be more relaxed since we don’t have to make sure nap time is on time.  Yesterday he preferred to dump the shapes from the pattern pictures everywhere and to make the coloured peg people crash into each other, but he is also having periods of work too.  Here’s him sorting Plant and Animal Cards.

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We’ve been doing music as a group activity.  We match bells and then work on rhythms.  Rhythm is way too advanced for Pumpkin 2 but it’s something he wants to be a part of.  They really like this drum I got from Amazon.  Pumpkin 1 has been resistant to learning rhythm but she needs to for her piano lessons so the drum was a great motivation.  We did have a good talk about how to treat the drum (I could just see Pumpkin 2 trying to stand on it) and it’s kept up high to only be used with me.

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Pumpkin 1 is working on linear counting.  She got bored with the Golden beads so I thought it best to take a break and work on something new.  It worked because she was interested in them again the other day.  I also found out that you don’t have to do subtraction with them before multiplication and since she wasn’t keen on subtraction, multiplication will probably be the next step.

These are the Teens boards I printed off and laminated from Montessori Print Shop.  I put some velcro on them because I think it makes it more fun and eliminates the frustration of accidentally shifting the cards.

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We’ve been learning about Vertebrates and the types of Vertebrates and I got a skeleton of a pigeon on huge discount from Affordable Montessori.  The kids were fascinated.  Pumpkin 1 is holding a laser light I was using to point out the spine or Vertebrate.  I thought they’d be scared of it but I guess they haven’t been exposed to the idea of skeleton’s being scary.  Pumpkin 1 as been asking a lot of questions about the body and so I plan to do a unit study on the body soon.

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Here she is sorting out the Types of Vertebrates cards I made.

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I also got these from Amazon and the kids love them.  They’re quite fun and were cheaper than X-Rays of bones.

Pumpkin 2 is my cuddly boy.  He’ll sit on my lap for hours if he could.  It’s funny because he can be so full of energy, literally bouncing off the walls (yes literally, he loves to crash into them and fall on the floor) but he’ll sit so nicely on my lap and just look at a book or play with cars or watch his sister.  I try to soak it up as much as I can because I know it’s not going to last forever, but I also need to get things done.  It’s such a difficult choice, snuggle him a little more, or get to the list of things I need to do.  I usually pick snuggle.

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Geo Solids with Magnetic Tiles

This one kinda speaks for itself.  We used the MagnaTiles to make some of the Geo Solids.  It’s a great way to help them break down the different shapes and sides that make up the solids 3d shape.

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10 Sums

Pumpkin 1 wanted to do an activity with the glass gems so I set up this.  She wanted to do it over and over.  I’d put some gems on the board.  Then she’d have to add the right number bar.  I’d write it on the chalkboard.  She’d add the rest of the gems to equal 10 and the number bar and I’d write it on the chalkboard.

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Golden Beads

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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….

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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.

 

What we’ve been up to…

Pumpkin 1 has been into the constructive triangles lately.

 

She’s learning the names of the types of triangles but they’re tricky.  She doesn’t quite understand planes yet for acute and obtuse.  But she knows the equilateral triangle well and the right angled isosceles triangle.

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She loves to see what shapes she can make on the light table with our plastic shapes too.

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I picked this up from Well.ca in order to get free shipping for a few other things I needed.  It’s been great for practise putting numbers in order.  I’ll mix them up or leave one out and she has to put it right.

 

These are the colour grading peg people I made.  Pumpkin 1 likes them better than the tablets.

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I really like this material.  It’s from IFIT.  It’s amazing the difference a year can make.  A year ago she struggled with this one but now she can do it easily.  Unfortunately Pumpkin 2 thinks the cylinders are fun to throw.  sigh….

Here’s some math work with the Discovery Toys Busy Bugs and the Abacus (she in the process of counting the bugs out)

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Pumpkin 1 has been really into math activities lately but I’m trying to encourage writing. We worked the other day on writing letters on paper.  She hates making mistakes so it’s difficult to get her to do something she thinks she can’t do perfectly.  In the mean time I think I’d better get to work on making the golden bead materials.

Affordable Alternative to the Constructive Triangles

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These shapes from Learning Resources are a great alternative to the rather costly Montessori Constructive Triangles.  They don’t have all the same shapes but they have other ones (circles and 1/2 and 1/4 circles) and enough shapes that I think the few missing ones aren’t a big deal.  You could make them yourself with laminated paper or cut them from heavy plastic of some sort. The quality is great (nice and thick) and they don’t have sharp edges

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These have the added bonus of being able to use them with a light table and they can be used as a sort of tanagram to make pictures with.  Tanagrams have been shown to improve a chid’s math thinking.

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The set can be purchased at amazon.ca 

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Flags, Pompoms and Boomerings

I find practical life activities impossible to leave out because my 2 year old gets into them and makes a mess so we don’t do them as often as we should.  This is a cheap easy one to set up.  The tray is an ice cube tray from the Dollar store.  The pompoms are from there too.  She’s using tweezers from Scholar’s choice that came in a large container of them, I’ve given some away.  They’re easy to use for little hands.  This activity helps build finger strength for writing and fine motor skills.

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Pumpkin 1 LOVES this flag map from Affordable Montessori.  I thought the price was really reasonable and the quality is better than expected.

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I don’t even know the flags so I’ve been learning them.  It’s amazing how fast you pick up something when it’s hands on like this activity.  The map has a key on the back with all the flags and country names but of course you can’t check the back when you’re using it so I made a printable version.

You can download it here: flags

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Have I said how much I love Discovery Toys? Oh, I did?  Haha, they’re just so wonderful.  I love toys that engage and challenge my children, that teach them math, reading, logic, reasoning, prediction, memory, and so many other skills plus they have a life-time guarantee so I don’t have to worry about anything breaking.  We incorporate many of the Discovery Toys into our homeschool activities.

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Today Pumpkin 1 was really engaged in making patterns with the Boomerings.  These are so great, they can be used from infancy right on up until childhood.  They’re really strong and durable and there’s an activity set that comes with different activity cards for matching, patterning or math. Putting them together also is great for her fine motor skills and strengthening her fingers.

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You can even use them for dress-up!  Princess Pumpkin!

Montessori Inspired Math

Pumpkin 1 is just starting to be ready for math at almost 4.  Majority of children aren’t ready for math until that age as their brain hasn’t developed that somewhat abstract thinking skills needed for math.  Math has always been a difficult subject for me but I love the Montessori method of math since it’s so hands on it makes it much easier to understand.

We’re doing a combination of Montessori and Right Start Math.  You can read about the Right Start Math approach here and here.  And a video review by another homeschooling mom here.

Since I still want to use many of the Montessori math materials I am creating my own bead bars, chains and cubes with the Right Start principle of 5+.  Here is what my beads look like.

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So you can see for 6 it’s 5 dark and 1 light.  9 is 5 dark and 4 light.  The 5+ concept helps children to visualize the number.  You can visualize amounts up to 5 but after that you have to group them in your mind to be able to visualize.

Today I was working on helping her understand that the beads and the abacus are the same.

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She has always loved the hanging bead stair since she was little.  If you don’t have one I highly recommend it.  Today she was actually counting the beads past 5.  Usually she just rhymes the numbers off without 1 to 1 correspondence after 5 but today she insisted on counting every bead bar carefully.  When you start to worry as a mom that they’re not getting something, just give it time.  A few weeks older can make a ton of difference.

We’ve also been working on some geometry.  Today we did triangles and quadrilaterals.  Pumpkin 1 loves this geoboard from Discovery Toys and I do too.  It’s huge so it’s easy for her fingers to use, unlike the smaller ones.  I made triangles and quadrilaterals on it and she’d tell me which it was.  She also likes to just make pictures with the elastics.

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Last week I was teaching her (and learning myself) the different types of triangles.  The geoboard was also perfect for this.

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Pumpkin 2 likes to use the other side which is the Giant Pegboard.  Toddlers love to fit things in holes.  You can also do colour and shape matching and patterning and counting and so much more.  It’s just so versatile. You can purchase one for your family here:

http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/stores/pumpkinsandme/AMCA/product/Giant-Pegboard,621.aspx#sthash.PnGUdXcA.dpbs

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We’ve also been doing shapes on the light table.  I use this set of shapes on it and we put them together to make other shapes.  They’re like mini constructive triangles.

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I’m really enjoying homeschooling in math because of the awesome manipulatives available.

Home Schooling JK

We’ve been taking a break from home schooling because it was just too difficult with so many daycare kids.  But now that they’ve gone to school and I’ve got the school room/play room organized, we’re starting up again.  Pumpkin 1 is going to be 4 in November and so it’s time to take home schooling more seriously.  It’s also time to start doing more math activities.  I have a number of new math manipulatives.  I love manipulatives for math, being math challenged myself.

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This is two sets of rods from a cusinaire rod set I bought.  They’re great mini red rods.  You can do so many activities with them.  Comparing length, counting, matching, sorting.  We did one set from tallest to shortest and then I showed her how you can combine each rod with a different rod to make them all the same length.  She really liked that and caught on quickly.  This is a great pre-math activity.  I purchased this set from amazon.  The tray is from a M&D block puzzle.  It helps her to line them up without the frustration of bumping them.

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These tiles are from a game called Qwirkle.  They’re great for patterning which is an important pre-math and pre-literacy skill.  You can also do colour or shape sorting with younger children and play the game memory with them.  You can purchase this from amazon as well.

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Shape pattern pictures and tangrams are also great pre-math activities.  In fact one study found children who did tangrams before a math test scored better than those who didn’t http://www.parentingscience.com/tangrams-for-kids.html.  This set Pumpkin 1 is playing with is a magnetic one by Melissa and Doug.

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Pumpkin 1 really dislikes the sandpaper letters.  I was so excited when I found these tracing boards from Alison’s Montessori.  She really likes tracing those letters and the first time I brought it out she wanted to learn more and more letters.  Today I added the sand tray however I don’t think she’s quite ready for it yet.

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Pumpkin 1 has started working with the moveable alphabet.  She recently started to catch on that you can write words with letters.  Of course after her name she wanted to write “Elsa” (really, she doesn’t watch TV, really lol).  Then she wanted to write all the other names she know only names aren’t usually phonetic so it was….interesting.  I got the carpet from Walmart.  I wanted one with stripes for lining the letters on.  She did need a lot of help with this activity.

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Later on she played with the Discovery Toys Motor Works.  I didn’t think she’d be able to do it but she figured it out with some help and took apart the car and air plane.  This is a great activity for promoting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, especially in girls.  This kept her busy for a long time.  It also got Daddy involved when he came home.