Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teaching Math and Great FREE Resources

When I was young, the way math was taught to me was pretty straight forward. For addition and subtraction, use your fingers as part of your counting tool. There aren't many manipulative used. I was never very good at math. In fact, I think I was quite slow with counting because 10 fingers were not enough and I have to use alternatives then!

A few years ago, I attended a short workshop on how to teach math to young children. The first rule I learned was never to teach your child to count using fingers. Yes, no fingers. Use manipulative (beads, blocks and anything you can think of) for visual understanding and learning of concepts. In the early years, children learn about addition and subtraction facts. How do you teach them these concepts?

For me, I started introducing the concept of addition with manipulative like beads. Ones the child understand the concept, I go on with the introduction of symbols like '+' and '=' and what they mean. Next we work in a systematic approach with addition of 0,1,2,3 and so on. Once the child mastered addition facts, subtraction would be easier and I teach him the relationship between addition and subtraction. Reese never use his fingers for counting. It's counting with number lines or by heart.

There are many math programs out there in the market. These programs boast of teaching math with critical thinking skills, mental arithmetic and many many other big words thrown into their marketing. If you do careful research and with patience you can find books, free worksheets and know-how to do all of the above. :) Don't need to spend so much money sending your children to enrichment centers.

I found some really great worksheets on the internet that teach children addition/subtraction/multiplication and division facts. I love it. It is systematic and it trains the child to remember the facts (mental math). Once a child remembers these facts, the child would have mastered half of the syllabus in early math (Pre K-Standard 3).

Addition/Subtraction Facts Worksheets
Check out free math worksheets by John Woodward . These worksheets are systematic, repetitive (drills) and the author suggest working on the worksheets daily. For me, we only do these worksheets on alternate days. So work with your child and see how much he/she can take it. It is really good!

Math Books
I am using Horizons Math by AOP publishing from the U.S. It is a very colorful workbook and uses the spiral method of teaching. Generally more advance than most math programs in the U.S.

What is spiral method?

"Hands-on learning is included in every lesson through the use of manipulatives suggested in the teacher's guide. All material is presented in a 'spiral-learning' format. This is where a few concepts are introduced at a time as the material is reviewed and previous concepts are reinforced."

"Fundamental concepts previously obtained in earlier units are reviewed in subsequent grade levels for true mastery. Every math concept follows a general pattern of gradual development in all seven grade levels." (Taken from the Publisher's website)

I really love this program because it's colorful, each day Reese works on a few different concepts and boredom is eliminated. Concepts are repeated but spread over a few lessons and the child don't even realize it.

Do you know that one of the best math programs/books is from Singapore? Concepts are introduced first with visuals and gradually to abstract form. Critical thinking plays a big part in Singapore math. It uses the mastery method where 1 concept is introduce at a time until mastered before moving on to the next concept. It usually comes with a text book (full color) and workbooks (black and white). It is so good that it even has a US edition selling just for the US market. It is one of the top 3 preferred math programs for homeschoolers in the US and here. We can easily get Singapore math from local bookshops like Popular bookstore.

I have seen some of these books but I didn't like it because they are dull and black & white and I don't like mastery method. We are so used to the colorful workbook from Horizons Math. This is my personal preference. Singapore math is still one of the best around.

Educational Videos
You can also check out Khan Academy for some pretty neat videos on teaching math. In fact, at Khan Academy, they have educational videos that teach almost anything you can think of! It free.

If you find my recommendation helpful please share your experience with me and others.


Mummy Moon said...

thank you for sharing out all this useful sites. I just check out the free math worksheets by John Woodward, it is quite useful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the useful info!!

A gift from God said...

You are all most welcome! :

mNhL said...

Thank you for the comment in my blog on the Maths' post. I appreciate your suggestions. And thks for sharing the useful links.