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math ~ again. Montesori method for math?


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I posted the other day for some math recommendations. I got Math U See and Right Start. I've spent days looking through all that. But, has anyone used montessori type learning math? I'm wondering if it's worth all the trouble to learn because of so many manipulative components?


I looked at Shiller Math at the curriculum fair and wasn't impressed for what I needed.




PS: This is for a 11 year old who's worst area is math. Can memorize, but the concepts mean nothing. We're still struggling with basic addition and subtraction, mostly large numbers.

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Well, take a look at Rightstart's website. http://www.alabacus.com/pageView.cfm?pageID=269


I just checked it out and it says that Joan Cotter's background is as a Montessori teacher and Rightstart is a Montessori program.


I have never looked at Shiller, but I haven't ever heard many positive comments about it.


My son has been doing well with Rod & Staff math, which takes a rote approach but I've recently gone back to supplementing with Rightstart for him to help build some deeper understanding of the concepts.



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Does your child learn through his/her hands? I just ask because, although Montessori worked for all Calvin's classmates, he learned literally no maths in the year he was in Montessori school. He's an abstract learner - he made no connection between the manipulatives he was using and any maths concepts.


Best of luck with your search,



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My .02....


I have a background in Montessori, so I might be (am) biased. :o But I think the concept of concrete, then picture, then abstract is the best way to teach math. BUT it doesn't need to be hard to learn how to use manipulatives to the point where the basic operations can be done concretely. I recommend Using Montessori in the Home the Preschool Years and the Elementary Years (even though your son is older, the preschool one lays the foundation for you.) They are often available at the library. Once a child has a concrete picture in their mind as to how the math works, Singapore is a natural transition - go back to the manipulatives as needed, then Singapore uses many pictures, then using abstract numbers. A friend of mine went from Montessori to Miquon, and that worked well too! Math U See is another good manipulative based program...


Good luck!



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And it's the manipulatives that make it so good. It focuses on the concrete and only after each new math principal is learned concretely, does the student learn to work it in the abstract with pencil and paper. The manipulatives are carefully designed, even down to color, so that the child can easily transfer basic math concepts to large numbers, to fractions, to multiplication and division, to squaring and cubing. The manipulatives are the basis and strength of the entire program.


That being said, my ds attended Montessori schools from the age of 3.5 to 12 yo. and he doesn't have any number sense. I am still astonished at that.


I think that there are many things that could have been done differently to encourage him to develop a better understanding. Working at home, you could make many of those changes. That would include daily work, incorporating some drill, not being allowed to let his friends do most of the work and not being allowed to bluff his way through math so he could keep up with his friends. Some of my ds's problems was also that during lower elementary, when math starts to become more intense, we were still uncovering and just starting to address his LD's.


However I won't guarentee that Montessori math, even with these modifications, will teach your child number sense. Moreover, Montessori math doesn't come with instructions for the parent to impliment. The sellers of the manipulatives assume that the purchasers have had a year of training in how to use the material. And a complete set of manipulatives is expensive.


I did look at Shiller Math briefly at a convention. The manipulatives I saw looked like inexpensive adaptations of Montessori math manipulatives. I don't recall the written materials well, but I recieved the impression that Shiller is more schedule driven than Montessori Math traditionally is.



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I may be beating my head against the wall. Son #1 was an abstract learner and ever wanted or needed conrete. Son #2, I have always thought was not an abstract learner, mostly because he struggles with math (which can be abstract) and struggles with anything he can't see. I have always thought him very visual and concrete. Maybe I didn't assess this right. My concern is he'll not make the leap from concrete to abstract at any point.


He can't add money to save his life, or remember how much a coin is worth, but he can remember the oddest facts from something we read or looked at years before. He can play playystation as well or better than

a kid with our mental dealys. I just can't figure it out. Maybe I need to reassess.


I'm really intrugued with RightStart and saw that article last night. I think what I need to see is how the abacus works. The thing that I really like about the Montessori method is the very systematic, gently layered building of skills and information. I wouldn't want to do that across the board, but start with Math. I spent about 4 hours last night reading people's "albums" and such. It would be a big leanring curve. I looked at the library and found those two books that someone recommended. I'll read those and see ~


Thanks for taking the time to reply. Math is my only area I'm having difficulty trying to figure out how to teach him.

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so obviously I like the materials and the philosophy. But I didn't answer your question because I didn't really know what to say. I don't do Montessori at home. I thought I would. That's actually why I went through the certification process -- to prepare for homeschooling. And there are moms who homeschool via Montessori. But it just wasn't going to work for me. The expense of the materials is mind numbing. Have you looked through the catalogs? A lot of them don't even print the prices because they are so high you'd faint. It's worth it for a school who will have a thousand children use the materials. But for us at home with 1 or 2 kids, it's just mind boggling.


Furthermore, you mentioned that your daughter is 11. My certification is in age 3-6. There is a complete curriculum for the kids age 9-12, and I know nothing about it.


I do use both Cuisenaire Rods and the Right Start abacus. (And, now that you mention it, I also use the MUS DVDs.) I am particularly impressed with the Right Start abacus. The call it an AL-abacus. It is an awesome tool, whether you use their curriculum or not. (We actually use BJUP.) We have used the abacus every day for 4 years, and I'm sure we'll use it for years to come. It is very clear. Very hands on. Very concrete. Definitely buy it!


There is also a yahoo group that you might be interested in called Playschool6. It is a group of Catholic homeschooling moms who are dedicated to using Montessori materials. If you're not Catholic, don't let that deter you. If you want to do Montessori math at home, these ladies can help you.


And, did you know you can buy Montessori albums? "Albums" is their term for curriculum. As someone mentioned, when you buy materials, they don't come with instructions. They assume the teacher already went to "Montessori school," and most of the materials are far too complicated for anyone to use properly without this hands-on instruction. (And, by the way, the certification process is a BEAR! I don't really recommend you go that route, even though I did. It was very difficult!)


But anyway, here's a link where you can buy the albums. http://www.montessoritraining.net/ I bought one of these, just to see what it was like. It was OK. But it was obvious to me that I couldn't afford this curriculum for one child. (This is not where I got my Montessori training.)


Here's another link for free online albums: http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfsjy/mts/_link.htm But she only has preschool. Still might be of interest to you for remedial work.


Oh, and I have never heard of any Montessorian who recommended Shiller.


I hope that helps. If you have other questions, ask.

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