Age: 6

Skills: Multiplication memorization and 2 digit multiplication operation.

“Mama!  4 plus 4 plus 4 is 12!”

Astroboy told me of this discovery a few days ago.   I love watching Astroboy discover his math.  You can totally see how math progression, curriculum-wise, needs to go.

With Astroboy, there really isn’t forcing a child to learn math, he thinks about math a lot outside of homeschool time.  He likes to read random numbers he sees. he wants to know how many more stops till we reach our destination.  He likes to know what day of the week and count how many days until xx happens.

In any case, hearing his declaration told me that he was ready for multiplication, because multiplication is basically addition, simplified.  (He’s very proud and happy to tell his friend this discovery whenever he can.)  I’m guessing because he has recently (mostly) mastered addition memorization, he is now moving to multiplication when he’s thinking about numbers.

For our trip, I brought along both Bead Decanomial and Checkerboard Beads, in large ziplock bags.  The only difference between them is the lack of 10-beads.  I whipped those out today to review skip counting, which is a precursor to multiplication.

Last year, we did skip counting a few times.   This year, he knows how to skip count his 2s and some 3s, and knows more math.  So with the bead materials, I laid them out much like the squaring chains and asked him to count and record into his notebook.

I love my concrete math materials for this reason.  With the same material, I can change the difficultly level by adding more and more writing.  My math trainer stressed that it’s not that important to write in the beginning when working with math materials.  The important part is manipulating said material.

But, like I said, with Astroboy, I can always see how to use the math curriculum.  Last year, he wasn’t interested in writing.  This year, he can write a bit more so we added writing to the curriculum.

Since he didn’t really want to manually count the material, I went ahead and printed out a bunch of skip counting worksheets at 7-eleven.  Tonight, he didn’t want to go to sleep, but instead went through all 12 skip counting stamping game twice.

He was not as enamored with the Montessori skip counting worksheet, which is there for children to discover common multiples.

What he likes the most are the two Montessori multiplication apps we’re using right now: Reflex Math and Edoki’s Multiplication math game.  With Reflex Math, he’s mastering multiplication memorization.  I ask him to read what he sees in Chinese to help him start memorizing the table the Chinese way.

Edoki’s multiplication math has both a memorization game and an operations game.  The operations game has the child move stamps as many times as you’re multiplying, to really drive home the concept that multiplication is just adding.  There is also a memorization game that is a duplicate of the primary multiplication bead board.

Because we’re not homeschooling very seriously right now, we’re using these apps the most.  I’m hoping eventually we can whip out the concrete materials again.  I can see it with the way Thumper is approaching her higher level math.  Having those concrete materials makes it easier for her to visualize the harder, more abstract concepts easily.   I don’t want Astroboy to miss this step.