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# How do I get my 6 y.o. to stop counting with her fingers? - Page 2

Google "chisenbop" - it's a Korean based finger math method.

I haven't read this book about Fingermath, but it looks fascinating and has good reviews.

Consider that fingers (and toes) were the original counting machines, preceding the abacus (and the calculator!) by thousands of years. Why do you think we have a base 10 counting system in the first place?

It might be an opportunity to explore different methods for calculating with your daughter.
i still use my finger lol .
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ollyoxenfree,

Thank you for the suggestions and insight.
Let it go.

I would also find "fun" computer math games that help route memorization, but let it go.

Fingers are no different than other manipulative you might use.
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?

Oh that's awesome! I'll definitely have to show ds that one. I'm sure we'll be doing times tables this year.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by emilysmama 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.

I guess I should have said that I do find a lot of the little things my son employs for learning annoying, but since I started homeschooling him I see the benefit, he's learning not only the material but what he needs to learn on his own. I sometimes have a hard time biting my tongue. Example, he likes to walk when he talks. My SIL did too. I don't always 'let him' because there are times that he won't be able to get up and pace around when he's talking to someone. I need to prepare him for that eventuality. So for now I let him sit on my kitchen stool when I need him to be still.

I think tally marks are an excellent approach to weaning from finger counting. I employ both methods still.
Mamas,

Thank you very much for your thoughts. They have all been very helpful and put the big picture back into perspective.
I have a friend who was a math major in college who still counted on her fingers!
I guess I am the lone dissenter.

I was in a similar position. DS just finished his K year; started it comfortably adding numbers up to 10 or so (from playing around with counting peas on both sides of the shell), and by November was doing serious mental addition with no finger counting. Then, the teacher started pushing ALL the kids VERY hard to do finger counting, and he started doing it also.

I could see that for a lot of the kids, it was helpful, and appropriate for their level. For DS, it was a big step back--previously, he had been thinking through problems in his head, playing around with different mental math strategies, some relatively sophisticated problem solving methods. Then all of a sudden he is not thinking anything through, just doing it on his fingers. I am certain that it was not because it was a method that made sense for his developmental level or was part of his natural process. He's very sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism, and I am pretty sure he switched to please his teacher/do what the other kids were doing.

Anyway, the phase passed, and he is back to more critical thinking, but at the time I also don't think there was much to do but wait it out, and not let him know how frustrating it was. And find different ways for him to be creative with math, as his interest allowed. It helped me to think of it as a strategy that was serving a real need for him, it just wasn't an academic need, but a social need to fit into the classroom.

Heather
At the school my kids attend, 1st graders are not allowed to count on their fingers in math class. Before just letting it go, you might want to check. It could be a problem if she is used to it at home, but is not allowed to do it during a test.
Thank you mamas for your thoughts.

mar123 I will check with the first grade teacher to find out what the expectations are.

Heather, thank you for taking the time to describe your experience. Have you been living in my house this past year? Because you described my experience exactly. The only difference between your experience and mine is that I don't know who gave my dd the idea to use her fingers. It might very well have been in school, but I don't know for certain. In any case, my dd is very much a people pleaser and takes correction very personally, so your comments gave me insight. I will take your words to heart.
I still use my fingers particularly when I'm distracted- it's a concrete way to ensure that I focus enough to ensure accuracy....

I had a proctor laughing at my finger-counting method when I took my SATs years ago, but I wound up with a perfect 1600 (yep, THAT many year ago...) so apparently it worked.
Quote:
 At the school my kids attend, 1st graders are not allowed to count on their fingers in math class.
That's very unusual. I've never heard of in our area at all. Our district is considered very high in math and they don't encourage or discourage using fingers. Kids have their own style. If they are struggling finding a style, they are given some options like fingers, tallies or number lines but as long as they are growing in the subject, there is no requirements on what they use to compute.
I admit that the Catholic school my kids attend is very old fashioned in many ways (one of the things I love about it). They are allowed to make tally marks, but for homework we did flashcards every night for memorization with addition. If a student was counting on his or her fingers during class, they were instructed not to.
Quote:
 If a student was counting on his or her fingers during class, they were instructed not to.
It's just a good thing my DD didn't go there. Like I said, she's 13 and still uses fingers at times despite being about 3 years ahead in the math curriculum. We did flashcards everynight in the early grades when speed tests were in use but it made not a lick of difference. My DS is the total opposite. He does everything in his head... he's just built that way.

I'm surprised parents don't speak up about it as it's a practice that can sour kids against math before they ever realize they may have unusual aptitude for it.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mar123 I admit that the Catholic school my kids attend is very old fashioned in many ways (one of the things I love about it). They are allowed to make tally marks, but for homework we did flashcards every night for memorization with addition. If a student was counting on his or her fingers during class, they were instructed not to.
Tally marks and using fingers are basically the same strategies. In both instances the child has a visual representation of the problem to help them solve it. I think it is silly to allow one visual representation but not another, especially when both serve the same purpose. Having a wide variety of techniques to choose from when solving problems makes math accessible to all children. I remember memorizing my math facts, but I still used my fingers until they made sense to me and I was able to visualize the regrouping process that is involved with adding and subtracting.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by mar123 At the school my kids attend, 1st graders are not allowed to count on their fingers in math class.
I have to say I find it sad and a little disturbing that a school would discourage such a natural and obvious learning strategy. It's hard to draw conclusions from one comment, but it doesn't sound like there's an understanding of different learning styles.
I understand completely why this is bothering you.

Before DS started this year of preschool, he counted in a clear voice. Each number was clearly said as a separate entity and easily understood and distinct. Now he slurs the numbers together in a sing-songy manner.

With DS I know exactly how he picked it up. This a particular boy, B, who DS liked to do work with (it's a Montessori school) and B talks that way.

It drives me completely batty when DS counts this way. We were seeing a developmental Dr for a behavior issue DS has been having and she commented about it.

I do correct DS. I also remind myself that mimicking the speech patterns of those around you is generally a good thing.

While I agree with PP that finger counting is in and of itself fine, I would be concerned that she is not doing math the way that is her natural way to do it. Over the summer, I would just try to ask her math questions when she just happens to have her hands full. Say you go to the supermarket to buy fruit and she is holding a bag of 4 apples, ask her how many oranges you need to have 8 pieces of fruit.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by eepster While I agree with PP that finger counting is in and of itself fine, I would be concerned that she is not doing math the way that is her natural way to do it.
This is an excellent point. I hadn't thought of it in those terms. Thank you.
I'm almost 30 and I still use my fingers sometimes. lol I don't see what the big deal is.
Mamas,

Thank you very much for your opinions. They are helpful to me.