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Old 11-13-2010, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our place on the unschooling spectrum is offer various opportunities to our kids. If they are interested, we go ahead, if they are not interested we drop it. For example, I recently showed starfall.com to my son then said no more. He asks to play the letter game a few times a week and already knows most of his letter sounds.

 

He will be 5 in about 6 weeks. On top of being unschoolers, I also believe in delayed academics. There's no hurry in doing academics at this age. Let them play.

 

So I am struggling trying to decide if I should introduce my son to miquon math. On one hand, he is very bright and likes learning so why not introduce it to him and see if he's interested. If he's not, then no biggie and I'll drop it for now. On the other hand, he's barely 5, why hurry on introducing him to math?

 

Like I said, he is very bright and he loves learning new things. I sort of had this struggle over phonics and he is loving figuring out letter sounds.

 

What does every one think? AND, if not miquon math, can  you think of a different math program to introduce him to? Maybe a math website similar to starfall?

 

Thanks


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Old 11-13-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Show him a picture of cuisenaire rods and ask if he'd like to get some to play with. Once you have them you can let him know there are books of activities that go along with him if he wants.


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Old 11-13-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I'd get the book "Family Math."  It has lots of really, really great math games and activities.

 

I wouldn't introduce a math "book" to a 5 y.o. unless he was specifically asking for it or really, really likes pencil/paper work.

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Old 11-13-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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I have a 5yo old, and I would def. not start him on anything yet. He LOVES math though, and for the last 6 months has been playing the game "How many is this?" He will hold up the fingers of both hands, and ask me how many it is, or he will say mom how many is 5+4? etc. So we go with that.


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Old 11-13-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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Check out the Living Math site. You can definitely introduce math concepts and explore fun mathematical ideas without introducing worksheets that your child might burn out on quickly.


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Old 11-14-2010, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies. I thought miquon math was mainly hands on, not worksheets.

 

I have looked at the suggested books and websites here. Can't get the games to open, which I guess is okay because I really don't like him having too much screen time. Looking at the recommended book I did order some books about games you can play with your kids for math, writing, reading, etc. I got a different author since she had more reviews and they were all so good. If anyone is interested look up Peggy Kaye.


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Old 11-14-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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I don't understand the harm in showing a child a book when they are free to say no. Worst case scenario it sits in a box for a while. But if he is interested in doing it, even just part of it, then how could that be bad? So long as your attitude is really casual so there is no "you should be doing this" attitude involved, I really can't see how it could hurt. My daughter enjoyed doing workbooks and things like that at that age. To her they were just games, like any other game.


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Old 11-14-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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Why do you feel a program is necessary to learn math? Aren't you already doing math activities with him? Couldn't you just step those up as he shows interest?

 

I mean, if he's showing specific interest in numbers and asking about how they work, then a program would be awesome, and at 5, I'd let him choose which one. But if it's just that you feel that you've delayed* mathematics long enough, a program doesn't really seem like the way to go.

 

If you're feeling like it's time to bring in more math, and that he should be playing, how about introducing games that use dice?

 

(*delaying academics tends to make me leery. I always have to remind that most of the people who delay academics really mean that they are allowing their child to lead rather than pushing them, because I tend to get this image of actively keeping a child away from things. A few strange people have colored my perceptions on that score. )

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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My kids explored math concepts through many different types of manipulatives, such as LEGOs, K'NEX,  Magnetix, wooden pattern blocks, tangrams; through fun video & computer games that needed math skills to succeed (but weren't necessarily math-oriented/educational, although they played these kind, too); and real-life experiences.

 

For example, I remember my 7 year old son standing in the Toys R Us aisle right after his birthday & Christmas.  He had several gift cards & a shopping cart he was filling up with Bionicles.  As he added different sets, he was keeping track of how much money the whole group was going to cost & comparing it with the total amount of money he had available on his gift cards.  He adjusted his estimates as he tried to maximize who many things he could afford.  Oh, and he was taking into account the % off sale discount, too.  He was adding, subtracting, estimating, rounding, multiplying with fractions/percentages - in his head!  I let him do his figuring, confirming or helping him adjust his numbers as needed, & he ended up with an accurate solution.  He was completely engaged & motivated to figure it out using math as a tool in a real-life situation.

 

More formal math lessons may help teach the vocabulary of math (this is what multiplication means) & a certain way to solve math problems, but kids have a built-in system to understand the concepts of how math actually works.  Especially when they are young, it is important to stay out of their way & let them make the connections on their own.  The more formal understanding doesn't necessarily make them understand it better, just differently, but if it is done in a way that frustrates them they may develop dislike of math.  My advice is to keep interesting things available to him so he can explore them his own way.


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Old 11-15-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Christine, what is it that you do differently that has led your child to be so interested in learning? My seven year old cannot do any math other than to count on his fingers. He runs away from most attempts to do math or other learning activities, and these days prefers to watch TV all day unless there is a play date. I am seriously thinking about putting him in school since it seems to me he is unable to initiate any learning himself and resists it from me. 


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Old 11-15-2010, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

Christine, what is it that you do differently that has led your child to be so interested in learning? My seven year old cannot do any math other than to count on his fingers. He runs away from most attempts to do math or other learning activities, and these days prefers to watch TV all day unless there is a play date. I am seriously thinking about putting him in school since it seems to me he is unable to initiate any learning himself and resists it from me. 


I'd get rid of the TV before putting him in school. TV can be an addiction. `


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Old 11-16-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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I've purchased five different math programs and countless math books for my now 6yo ds before realizing that much of the early math concepts are really much easier to teach without a formal math program. Seriously. 

 

I like having some manipulatives to help illustrate certain math concepts when real life examples are a bit confusing. But if you look a scope and sequence for K and 1st grade math, many of the math concepts are easily addressed just by doing what you already do and paying attention to the math that is intrinsic to our lives. It's pretty easy to cover number concepts (cardinals, ordinals, odds and evens), sets and patterns, calendar, time, measurement and money in daily life. Many early geometry concepts are easy to cover (shapes and position). Sequence is easy. Addition and subtraction math facts happen all the time. You might want to set aside time for writing and reading numerals and equations, so your child is familiar with the conventions of math. I also think that place value is one of those ideas that is difficult to encounter naturally, but is absolutely critical to understanding our math system. But, the basic concepts of early math are everywhere, and they are much more interesting to address in real life.

 

Having said that, it might be worthwhile to get a set of workbooks. Some kids find them fun. (My ds does). Also, they can provide some peace of mind, whether you fill them out or not. Just knowing what you are "supposed" to cover can be helpful. 

 

I have both Singapore and Miquon. I like them both, for different reasons. Another option for a K-er is Math Their Way. Anno's Math Games is also good. And lots of games -- Set, Rush Hour Jr., Sum Swamp, Chutes and Ladders, War (especially with two cards), dice, dominoes, tangrams, etc. 


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Old 11-16-2010, 05:17 AM
 
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I don't understand the harm in showing a child a book when they are free to say no. Worst case scenario it sits in a box for a while. But if he is interested in doing it, even just part of it, then how could that be bad? So long as your attitude is really casual so there is no "you should be doing this" attitude involved, I really can't see how it could hurt. My daughter enjoyed doing workbooks and things like that at that age. To her they were just games, like any other game.





It's a deschooling thing I think. We moved house whe my Dd was 2.5. She had a heap of these sticker books sold at the post office here covering counting, the alphabet etc. I hated them and I was hoping to "lose" them in the move, their quizzing and structured preschool academic approach was so anti everything I felt was important about raisning a child. When I was unpacking her books I felt guilty about tossing them because she enjoyed them so much, so I started to put them on a separate section of the bookshelf, away from her beautiful "fun" picture books. Then it hit me...to her they're no different!. "Guess How Much I Love You" or "Counting, one to ten", it's ALL fun to her.
Funnily enough, accepting my daughter's enjoyment of those horrid sticker books was a major step forward on the path to radical unschooling for me.
OP, sorry for hijack. Yes, I think miquon IS mostly hands on. As I understand it the workbook is only a part of the program.BTW have you seen moominmama's pre-miquon activity book in the archives of her blog? DD quite enjoys some of the games in there although if she's in one of her workbook phases she'd much rather do eight pages of Singapore instead. Each to their own.

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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i will say this up front - i am not a true unschooler, but i do think you should respect the kids choices and follow their lead.

 

so, i wanted to use miqoun math with my almost 5 y.o.  i liked the manipulatives and as a geologist, i want her to have a strong science and math backgorund. but i read that the program was really for 1st grade. so i bought the cuisinaire rods and the activity book. it is mostly just games to play with the rods.  making patterns, make trains, it doesn't really have any counting or anything like that.  dd didn't really like it so, i have put it away for a few months to see if she likes it later.  the preactivity book may be what you are looking for. it is just games and getting familiar with the rods. not anything difficult or any more schooly than putting together legos or tinker toys.

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Old 11-16-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

Christine, what is it that you do differently that has led your child to be so interested in learning? My seven year old cannot do any math other than to count on his fingers. He runs away from most attempts to do math or other learning activities, and these days prefers to watch TV all day unless there is a play date. I am seriously thinking about putting him in school since it seems to me he is unable to initiate any learning himself and resists it from me. 



Going OT here a bit, but had to agree with the previous reply. I'm assuming you mean TV, like as in cable and stuff, and not games and computers (screen time). I would definitely find a way to get rid of the TV for a bit. Even discuss it with him and say that you're going to do this for 2 weeks and see how it goes. I wonder what he'd get into if he didn't have TV? Also, have you talked to him about what moves him? What his favorite thing to do is? From there you could ask on this forum for ideas on how to pursue that with him...

 

I will say that I don't think there is much we parents can do to have a child be interested in math, science, or any other thing. They seem to come with their own built-in desires and passions, some are much more obvious and others appear as though they have no interest. We can foster their interests, support and facilitate them, but I don't think we can really change them. I'm sure your son has something he would be passionate about or interested in. I'm not anti TV (we don't have cable here but we do watch movies, etc) but I do think that it might be getting in the way of your son finding his creativity. It's worth a shot anyway! HTH.


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Old 11-17-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Christine, what is it that you do differently that has led your child to be so interested in learning? My seven year old cannot do any math other than to count on his fingers. He runs away from most attempts to do math or other learning activities, and these days prefers to watch TV all day unless there is a play date. I am seriously thinking about putting him in school since it seems to me he is unable to initiate any learning himself and resists it from me. 

 

I've always tried to treat math as any other interesting thing in our lives.  When they were young, they would see & hear me use math strategies to figure out stuff, such as when following a recipe or figuring out a sales price.  We travel a lot, so all of the computations used to plan out vacations, be it budgeting or how many miles to drive & how long it will take, would be witnessed & shared with them.  I am a huge fan of letting kids play with manipulative toys, like what I listed above.  There are also really fun board & card games that use patterns or logic or straight out math in fun ways.  Let's see, big hits here have been:  Blokus (there are 2 versions), Duo (like Uno, except you have to match two components to play the card), Multiplication Bingo, Continuo, Equate (Scrabble with equations) & Lucky 13 Card Game.  Then there's Pokemon & Yu-gi-oh! - lots of quick 4 digit addition & subtraction computations while strategizing!  My kids liked playing the Jump Start & some of the Disney educational games on the computer.  As he got older, my son started playing World of Warcraft - I was shocked at how much math is involved, but there it was.  All of these game examples may seem lightweight academically, but really they're not.  They are ways for your child to explore solutions to problems using math as a tool in their toolbox of knowledge.  When it comes naturally out of life, there is no fear or frustration or complaints that they don't "get" math.  They just do it like any other activity they are trying to do because I never treated it as something "different" from any other activity in their lives.


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Old 11-17-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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As far as math is in our house, it's by doing.  Because I started out the school year with Montessori type tools, she has those available, as well. I'm not sure if I am an "unschooler," I offer learning by having tools available for them, books, games, tangable and virtual. I figure people are learning from the moment they are born, whether it be in play or in lessons.  I say grab whatever you want, see how he feels. If he gravitates, you have a winner! My experience thus far is that putting money into a learning tool is a gamble, and be prepared for it to go either way. Maybe the library will have some of the Miquon you are looking to start and just see how he responds?

 

Time, for instance: I do not exist on a schedule, but after dinner we let our daughter play video games, and I wanted her to finish her meal rather than rush through her meal, so at 7pm, it is her time to play video games. I showed her what it looked like on the clock, I thought she'd just memorize 7pm. She shocked me, however, because not only did she "get" 7pm, she got the hours.  She's 4 1/2, obviously we'll work on the other numbers later, it isn't a digital clock ;)  The clock thing wasn't intentional, it was more that I will forget and it'll be 7:30 before I know it and she would miss out, she basically had to learn time if she wanted to be able to play. We eat between 6 and 7, and even at 5, she'll tell me only 2 hours left, even if she is 45 minutes off, I don't care it's awesome! Not only did she get the clock, she also got some subtraction and addition in there. She looks forward to 7, and is so excited when she tells me mom it's 7! Even my 2 and a half year old got the clock thing, not the math concept, but looks at it and tells us the hours.  Somewhere she picked up numbers, we didn't even notice until we were in the grocery store and this child barely able to clearly talk, pointed to the isle numbers and told us what they were.

 

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Old 11-18-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Then it hit me...to her they're no different!. "Guess How Much I Love You" or "Counting, one to ten", it's ALL fun to her. Funnily enough, accepting my daughter's enjoyment of those horrid sticker books was a major step forward on the path to radical unschooling for me.


I agree. Adults do Sudoku or crossword puzzles for fun the same way my kids might want to do a few pages from a Miquon workbook for fun. Years ago I agonized over whether to introduce my then-5-year-old eldest to Miquon. An experienced unschooling mom listened to me talking about my dilemma and said "I know it's curriculum but <whisper> we had it, and it was actually pretty fun.</whisper>" I finally bought it and my dd looked it over, tried a couple of dozen pages, enjoyed them, but then lost interest for a while. At the time I worried that I had somehow erred in presenting it to her at age 5. Had I pushed the envelope too much? Had I ruined her interest in math? But a year later she came back to it and began working consistently through the program for enjoyment. She liked the activities; she enjoyed the intellectual challenge and the time we spent together with it.

 

With my younger kids I haven't had to do all this introspective worrying / planning / agonizing. We had Miquon materials around the house. The kids gravitated to them when they were ready and interested. No expectations. No big deal. Two of the three of them loved the stuff. I think they started at age 4.5 with what they were ready for, moving at their own pace, taking breaks, sometimes long ones, according to whatever developmental / intellectual / motivational imperatives guided them. The other kid never really took to it. So be it. He had different ways of learning.

 

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Old 11-18-2010, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. 

 

I'm looking forward to when we can play games. Right now he only wants to play his "rules" (which means just moving the characters wherever he wants.) I'll be glad when we can play actual games.

 

Miranda, I was leaning against getting the supplies, but now you've talked me back into it. For me it's about having stuff on hand for my kids when/if they're ready. My son takes so much joy in letters right now. I watch him and think how common place it all is to me and I'm always a little shocked when he finds letter sounds interesting. But to him it's all new and fun.


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