Math can be fun…  really.  It can.  I promise.

Okay, so I’m still trying to convince myself of this, but our 4-year-old needs no convincing.  He LOVES math.  However, when we try the easy way out and present him with the same old repetitive 2+4=6, 14+3=17…  he simply stares up at us a look on his face that oozes thoughts like,  “For real?  THIS… again? Come ON – this is lame.”

For many children simple repetition is tolerable, but once kids get the hang of a concept, they likely will want to move on to something a little more applicable and interesting.  After all, if you already know what 5+15 is, do YOU want to repeat it over and over in a notebook?

I hated school for this very reason.  What I considered to be useless, time-filling repetition.  Sure, repetition has it’s place, but, it’s place is minimal in our home.  Many common teaching practices will preach that repetition is the key to success.  I’m not sure I agree.  It may be the key to short-term memorization, but I don’t want our kids to memorize math – I want them the UNDERSTAND it.

I have to do better.  I love that our children challenge me everyday to come up with new and interesting ways to learn more about numbers.

I’d have to fight tooth and nail to get Simon to write out 10 + 10 = 20 or  25 x 2= 50.  But, mix it will a little bit of every day application, and BOOM – the magic begins.

We use money to illustrate almost all of our current Math “lessons”.  Why?  Because Simon is genuinely interested.  He has done extremely challenging Math problems because he was determined to figure out how much he had. 

Before we knew it, our four year old was doing grade 2 math without a problem, and without knowing he was learning OR applying difficult math concepts.  This is the type of education I believe in… those “aha” moments that are not forced but instead, are as natural as the process of learning to walk or eat.  It is within them to learn – and want to learn.  It is up to us to foster that desire with logical, fun learning processes.

What we did one day –

I gave Simon a jar of money and asked him to count it, write down the number of each type of coins he had, add it all up, then label a bowl with the amount of money he had so he’d know how much was in the bowl.  Then we subtracted $1, as he gave it to his little sister.   He was thrilled to do this project.  I even let him keep the money.  😉

Happy Math-ing!  🙂

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