I’ve been putting together a gentle math program for Dominic, age 5. I used Saxon 1 for my older two children when they were 5, but Dominic is not developmentally ready for a serious math curriculum. So, this program is most suited for early elementary level kids who need a slower start into a sequenced math curriculum or for older preschoolers.
The backbone of this little program is comprised of the “MathStart” book series by author Stuart J. Murphy and the wonderful math Cuisenaire Rod math manipulative.
1) MathStart: “MathStart” is a literature-based math book series. (Note: I receive no benefit or payment for links from my blog!) The series is advertised as a supplement to a full math curriculum, but I plan to use these books as the backbone of Dominic’s math curriculum this year. The books are engaging and beautifully illustrated.
The author, Stuart J. Murphy, has written 21 books for each of 3 levels. Level One is for PK to about 1st grade, Level Two is for 1st to about 3rd grades, and Level Three is for grades 2 and above. I’m aiming to get through Level One this year.
Each book highlights a specific skill (matching, doubling). At the end of each book, you will find 1) suggested hands-on activities and 2) additional literature selections. Murphy also provides a chart that breaks down the book series by skill type, so that you can zero in specific skills.
2) Cuisenaire Rods: In addition, I’ll use Cuisenaire Rods and the primary level “Idea Book” published for the rods. The rods are a set of rectangular rods in 10 lengths and 10 colors, each color corresponding to a different length. The rods can be used in a variety of mathematical explorations in all grade levels. The Idea Books offer ideas for hands-on and exploration activities. The primary level Idea Book is for ages 3-7; the intermediate level is for ages 8-10.
3) Math Games: I’ll supplement our primary curriculum with math games. I found Numbers Count by Educational Insights at my local education resource store but you can certainly find similar products at your own store. Numbers Count features 6 different math games that reinforce counting, number sequencing, and comparing numbers.
Charlotte Mason believed that we need to accept children for who they are; we should introduce materials appropriate for their personal developmental level. Just as all children don’t wear the same size shoes, all are not developmentally ready to read books or add numbers at the same age. I heartily agree. By respecting these differences, we affirm the dignity of our children.
My hope is that by engaging Dominic’s imagination and building his confidence, he will get off to a great start in math!