My oldest daughter is 11 years old. Everywhere she goes she asks people if they have to do math to do their job. She abhors math. She is trying really hard to figure out what sort of job she can do that doesn't require any math. Sadly for her, she probably won't find a single job that doesn't involve some sort of simple arithmetic.
Math is used so much, everyday without even thinking about it. For instance I used (very basic) math today when I made lunch. I had to count how many carrots I was giving everyone. I am not a huge stickler for "fair" and often intentionally give one child a noticeably larger or smaller serving of something just to give them an object lesson in "life's not fair". They inevitably point out the inequity and I take the opportunity to remind them that there are people that are sick and dying, people that are homeless, people that starve to death, and people that are rich beyond words. I think I will also add in the whole salvation issue of Jesus dying for our sins and how it isn't really "fair" that we as sinners get to go to heaven, but thankfully for us, life isn't fair.
But I digress. When I have a limited number of carrots, I need to count them out to make sure everyone gets a semi-equal amount of nutrients. I used math math multiple times today when I was measuring water for Bitty Baby's bottles. Love it or hate it, math is a fact of life.
We use math without thinking on a daily basis as we cook, shop, and live. I tend to forget that these things must be learned, just like reading or writing.
I am so happy that this month's child development topic for Mother Goose Time was Math and Reasoning, because I really feel like Little Guy made the most progress in this area, so its easy to write about.
Four basic realms of math in the early learning years are:
- Number Concepts
- Shapes and Spacial Awareness
- Patterns, Sorting and Sequencing
Each month Mother Goose Time provides us with a number of activities to support learning in all of these areas, as well as many, many, MANY more!
Honestly our BEST activity that showed how well Little Guy was doing with Number Concepts was not really from Mother Goose Time, but I KNOW it was facilitated by the learning we have been doing. Our house is a disaster. Seriously, DO NOT drop by my house right now, I will want to die of embarrassment. A couple weeks ago I was having Little Guy help me clean up. I gave him a plastic grocery sack and told him to pick up all the diapers in the TV room (we have a newborn, so they pile up surprisingly fast). From the other room I could hear him counting, and he counted to nine. He brought them out set them by the trash. I asked him to go check if he could find anymore and he brought one more out and put it in the bag. When he was off doing something else so he wouldn't notice that I was digging through the trash, I went and counted all the diapers and he had counted them correctly, with no assistance at all! I know that all the practice we had been doing during circle time and various activities allowed him to apply that knowledge to the "real world" no matter how weird and gross that application might have been!
Shapes and Spacial Awareness was best demonstrated in our house on Cookie Day. We played Cookie Shapes, where we had Shape Design Mats that showed plates with pictures of Shape Builders and Little Guy's job was to follow the guide and match the shapes. He struggled at first, but when I took out just a few of each color and shape instead of the whole bag he was able to find them and match them easily. There were difficult ones that involved combining pieces to make one piece which I didn't have him do because I thought the challenge would be impossible for him and just be discouraging. He is only two years old after all.
Patterns, Sorting, and Sequencing was definitely our strongest point this month. Everyday we worked on an AABB pattern while doing the calendar during Circle Time, and he is to a point where he is always correct at predicting what will be next. On Bell day we were supposed to play Counting Bells, but because I had a 3 day old baby and my mom was over visiting it was a very, very, relaxed day (honestly it has been a pretty relaxed month school wise between the tiny baby breaking up all my sleep cycles leaving me napping every morning and Christmas break having all the older girls home all day). We did count a little with the Jingle Bell counters, but once he noticed the different colors it quickly turned into a pattern making game. We were able to make a few patterns, and he was pretty good at knowing what would be next. Then he played with the Jingle Bells for a very, very long time. I am not usually one for modifying activities, since I figure the curriculum designers probably have a pretty good grasp on what children should be learning when, but it was such a natural transition that he really enjoyed, so I figured it was alright.
I love that he is learning so much math through playing games. I love that I can see the things he is learning during school time spilling over into the rest of his day. Little Guy and I are so blessed to be able to use this curriculum that is so much better organized and well rounded than anything I could ever come up with. Math and Reasoning are so important in so many facets of life, but they are also things that I sometimes forget to teach him.
*My son and I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our experiences using it. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the great price I get.*