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# How do I get my 6 y.o. to stop counting with her fingers?

My dd just finished K. Before K, she could add and subtract any two numbers under 10 in her head (and sometimes even more than that). I have no idea how she learned it, it was probably from watching me crack eggs into the blender to make quiche or figuring out how many pieces of broccoli that she had left to eat or figuring out how many dumplings she gets to eat.

Ever since she started K, she uses her fingers to figure out simple sums or differences and that's it. Maybe I'm just anal, but this drives me nuts and I don't think I can stand it much longer!

How can I get her back to using her head? I have been thinking about using Singapore Math as a bridge for the summer, but I've only seen the placement tests, but I would think that this is not the solution. My friends praise Kumon to the skies, but their schedule is completely incompatible with my work schedule. Is there a curriculum or other suggestions that you think might help? Thank you in advance.
Honestly - I think you need to let it go. If she taught herself to do sums in her head on her own, she will be able to do it again, when she is ready.

In my opinion, kids learn best when they are allowed to learn in their own way. Trying to push something else, especially at this young age, might backfire and make her resistant to doing math at all.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by emilysmama My dd just finished K. Before K, she could add and subtract any two numbers under 10 in her head (and sometimes even more than that). I have no idea how she learned it, it was probably from watching me crack eggs into the blender to make quiche or figuring out how many pieces of broccoli that she had left to eat or figuring out how many dumplings she gets to eat. Ever since she started K, she uses her fingers to figure out simple sums or differences and that's it. Maybe I'm just anal, but this drives me nuts and I don't think I can stand it much longer! How can I get her back to using her head? I have been thinking about using Singapore Math as a bridge for the summer, but I've only seen the placement tests, but I would think that this is not the solution. My friends praise Kumon to the skies, but their schedule is completely incompatible with my work schedule. Is there a curriculum or other suggestions that you think might help? Thank you in advance.
whats wrong with counting her fingers?
some kids are visual, others (like you ) are cerebral.
I don't see anything wrong with her using her fingers to count. I actually encouraged my son to count on his fingers if he needed to at that age. Sometimes they are working hard on thinking about other problems with the math (maybe something as simple as reading it or writing it down) and it helped to have that place marker to make it easier.
I'm going to have to agree with the previous posters. My almost 9 yr old, rising 3rd grader still uses his fingers to figure out some, but others have been memorized over time.

She's still really being introduced to this kind of math, and as it gets more difficult (re-grouping, multiple digits) it will probably help her to fall back on finger counting to help her maintain the confidence to do well.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Plaid Leopard Honestly - I think you need to let it go. If she taught herself to do sums in her head on her own, she will be able to do it again, when she is ready. In my opinion, kids learn best when they are allowed to learn in their own way. Trying to push something else, especially at this young age, might backfire and make her resistant to doing math at all.
That exactly. My 8 year old can multiply and divide in his head and he still sometimes counts on his fingers. It's really not a big deal.
I wouldn't push that personally. Certainly, there is no need to do extra curriculum during the summer. Using fingers is not a big deal... especially at this age. It does not at all mean she's weak mathematically. In fact, she's already proven to be quite strong in math. I tell you, my 13-year-old STILL uses her fingers at times and she just aced highschool level Algebra II. At age 11, she scored higher on the SAT than most college bound seniors. She's just not strong in rote memory and no amount of curriculum or flashcards is going to change that.

The last thing you want to do is make her feel like she's "bad in math" because she's currently using her fingers. Who knows why she's doing it... maybe she does it because other kids in class did it. Maybe she's contemplating more theory than computation and using fingers allows her to concentrate on higher things. It really doesn't matter. If it's truely bothering you, I'd not mention the fingers and focus on the "fun" of math. Find some great games like "countdown" or "sum swamp" or things that she can play without feeling like she's being judged.
letting it go is the best bet... but if you can't?

Use Tally marks on paper to add/subtract... it helps the visual learner but helps them segway into doing it in their heads when they are out and about and no paper handy...
I teach my kids to use their fingers. Fingers are great learning tools -- readily accessible!

Is there a reason she shouldn't use them?
I still count on my fingers
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Amila I still count on my fingers
Ditto...I also use the hand trick to multiply my nines lol
what's the hand trick for 9's? I still use my fingers too!! (sometimes for something SUPER simple because my kids are talking at me simultaneously.)
The nines..

Hold up both hands in front of you (I do palms out)..

whatever number you're multiplying nine by..(lets say three)

count in three fingers from the left hand(so it would be your middle finger of the left hand)..fold that finger down. Now you have 2 fingers on the left of that finger, and 7 fingers on the right (27).
If you were multiplying by, say 7, still start counting on the left hand, farthest left.. count in seven (that would bring you to the pointer finger of the right hand ..you have 6 on the left of the finger and 3 on the right(63).
Cool,huh?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Amila I still count on my fingers
Me too!

It's not obvious at all and sometimes I even use my toes.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by BAU3 The nines.. Hold up both hands in front of you (I do palms out).. whatever number you're multiplying nine by..(lets say three) count in three fingers from the left hand(so it would be your middle finger of the left hand)..fold that finger down. Now you have 2 fingers on the left of that finger, and 7 fingers on the right (27). If you were multiplying by, say 7, still start counting on the left hand, farthest left.. count in seven (that would bring you to the pointer finger of the right hand ..you have 6 on the left of the finger and 3 on the right(63). Cool,huh?
It took me two tries to figure it out ("7 fingers on the right?" What?!! ), but I got it. It's cool! Thanks for sharing.
I agree with everyone who said you need to let it go.

As an adult i still have to sometimes count using my fingers.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Amila I still count on my fingers
I am teaching dd and when the time come ds as well to use their fingers to help with figuring things out.
i agree with "let it go."

i still count with my fingers.
Agreeing with everyone else. Was she schooled for K? If she was, I bet that's probably just how she was taught to do it, or how some of the other kids were doing it.
Thank you mamas for the thoughtful replies. The only reason I am even thinking about it is because it drives me nuts, but based on your comments, I won't let her pick up on that, and I'll let it go. Thank you.
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