RightStart Math and a kid who insists on counting each item - what to do?

Recommended Posts

My son is young, but he loves to do school.... I decided to use RightStart Math level A gently with him. He is 4 1/2 but at times when we do it... we are only on the first few levels, he insists on counting each tally stick.

I just happily said we weren't going to do anymore math that day.... but I want to continue math with him... how do i get around this habit in a fun and easy way?

He can be quite determined to do things HIS way, what kid doesn't, right? BUT he is more this way in ALL areas, it is actually an issue...

Do I give it a few more months? or do I make it into a game? or what do I tell him? thoughts?

Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with RightStart (we're Singapore folk) but why can't he count the tally sticks? What is the problem with that? (I mean, are there like 293 of them or something? :D)

Because that need/desire to count is fairly developmental. I have a 4.5 yr old and she's a counter, too. And I encourage it (um, but not if there's 293 of something...;))

Share on other sites

If he wants to count tally sticks then I'd let him count tally sticks for now, I always avoid battles if possible :001_smile:. What I would do in the meantime is play those games with the bead, finger and tally stick 'cards' (cut out from the appendices) whereby you briefly flash a 'card' and the child has to 'guess' how many it represents without counting. DS5 likes to count still when doing math, but he's very happy to play the 'guessing' game, which, hopefully will eventually cease to be guessing and becomes 'recognition' over time. This technique certainly worked for DS8.

Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with RightStart (we're Singapore folk) but why can't he count the tally sticks? What is the problem with that? (I mean, are there like 293 of them or something? :D)

Because that need/desire to count is fairly developmental. I have a 4.5 yr old and she's a counter, too. And I encourage it (um, but not if there's 293 of something...;))

haha the reason for not counting is b/c RightStart teaches a faster way than pecking away at counting each individual piece. they train the children, even as young as 3 o4 fo to just SEE 3 items or just SEE 4 items up to groupings of 5.

Share on other sites

If he wants to count tally sticks then I'd let him count tally sticks for now, I always avoid battles if possible :001_smile:. What I would do in the meantime is play those games with the bead, finger and tally stick 'cards' (cut out from the appendices) whereby you briefly flash a 'card' and the child has to 'guess' how many it represents without counting. DS5 likes to count still when doing math, but he's very happy to play the 'guessing' game, which, hopefully will eventually cease to be guessing and becomes 'recognition' over time. This technique certainly worked for DS8.

OK. See, I'm starting with my daughter too who did the counting through singapore and horizon math and became so familiar with numbers that this is easy for her now.

But instarting my son off on the rightstart method... i was cautious at "doing it right" or differently with him and didn't want to proceed until i knew it was OK... but just emphasize more the "game" of it.

Share on other sites

My son is young, but he loves to do school.... I decided to use RightStart Math level A gently with him. He is 4 1/2 but at times when we do it... we are only on the first few levels, he insists on counting each tally stick.

I just happily said we weren't going to do anymore math that day.... but I want to continue math with him... how do i get around this habit in a fun and easy way?

He can be quite determined to do things HIS way, what kid doesn't, right? BUT he is more this way in ALL areas, it is actually an issue...

Do I give it a few more months? or do I make it into a game? or what do I tell him? thoughts?

My DS was the same way. I used my fingers. I'd hold up 2, or 1, or 3 fingers for a second and then close my hand and ask how many it was. (It's easier to flash fingers than tally sticks.) I'd also do 5, as 5 is easy to recognize on the hand as long as he knows that there's 5 fingers on a hand. He'd answer, and I'd say, "See? You didn't need to count that, you already knew it!" As for 4, it was harder for him to recognize so I'd give him an extra second or two at first, in case he did want to count in his head to figure out that's what 4 looked like. Then I'd repeat it with the tally sticks, first repeating it with the easier numbers (1, 2, or 3), then doing 4 or 5 after. After doing that a few times, we'd move on to the tally, finger, and dot cards.

I will have to say that he didn't *like* realizing that he didn't need to count, but he did realize it.

Share on other sites

When DD and I are looking at picture books or doing her Mathematical Reasoning book by Critical Thinking Co., when a number is involved, I read the number and flash the number of fingers in my hand.

If a question says to count the number of objects, I ask her how many there are, then say how many if she doesn't see it right way...before she starts counting them. So, if there are three ladybugs, I say, "See, three ladybugs?" and simultaneously hold up three fingers. This is how she does it when she does see the number and answers the question.

I haven't started RS A with her yet because I want her to be able to do this before I pull out the tally sticks because I know she will want to count them.

Share on other sites

We started Righstart recently with older kids. It is very hard (hoping not impossible) to break the counting habit. You want to encourage the RS way and make that a habit instead of counting. The RS way is so much better anyway. Now, you do want to avoid battles, so gentle encouragement is the key. No idea on how to do that, but you know your kid best and I am sure will come up with something. :D When I see one of mine counting I just remind them how to see the number instead of counting. If they are having a "bad" day I wouldn't bring it up to avoid a battle as I don't want to fight over them learning this method. That doesn't help at all. Mine are older and understand why it's a better method, but breaking them of counting has been a challenge. Don't be like us! :lol:

Share on other sites

We use Right Start and I understand the importance to learn quantities for the program. Have you tried with things other than the tally sticks? I started with blocks, tiles, stuffed animals, some big things, some small things. It doesn't have to be just tally sticks. I'd step away from the lessons for a while and just work on quantities up to 5 at least. I really like that with 6 and up they show 5 as one color and the other ones a different color. Maybe that will help. :001_smile:

Share on other sites

It's normal. Don't worry about it. Give it a few more months, encourage him, but try not to get frustrated. He's only 4-1/2. :) (Edited to add that I'm on my third kid with RightStart A--so perhaps that's why I'm not as worried. I've seen it work for my two eldest--even if they liked to count in the beginning.) Remember, RightStart B repeats all of RightStart A for the most part and builds on it. In reality, he has two years to get that. I doubt he'll be counting in college. ;)

Share on other sites

It's normal. Don't worry about it. Give it a few more months, encourage him, but try not to get frustrated. He's only 4-1/2. :) Remember, RightStart B repeats all of RightStart A for the most part and builds on it. In reality, he has two years to get that. I doubt he'll be counting in college. ;)

:iagree: I just kept on with it, gently, but strongly.

Share on other sites

GREAT perspectives guys!

Thank you.

I knew I needed to think out this new process to see how it would play out and what the most loving and purposeful way to go about teach him math should be.

So... in wrap up... I am going to try to use other objects to play around with and just bring out the actual lesson here and there as he is ready... even if he DOES want to count them...

Share on other sites

I agree with all the others who said to "flash" the objects/fingers, then hide them again. I'd work with just recognizing 1 vs 2, then 1 vs 2 vs 3, and so on, taking as long as you need until he can "see" the number. Let him count other objects outside of math time, like asking him to bring you 6 eggs. It's ok to count then!

(ok, so no one would ever let their 4 year old bring them eggs... but you know what I mean...)

Share on other sites

I agree with all the others who said to "flash" the objects/fingers, then hide them again. I'd work with just recognizing 1 vs 2, then 1 vs 2 vs 3, and so on, taking as long as you need until he can "see" the number. Let him count other objects outside of math time, like asking him to bring you 6 eggs. It's ok to count then!

(ok, so no one would ever let their 4 year old bring them eggs... but you know what I mean...)

LOL - YES! I know what you mean. Thanks for saying it in this way, though.

Share on other sites

I just now got a response back from the company, too!!! I will share the answer for anyone else out there who is having this same beginning issue :)

This is what they said:

Many kids don't know 'how' to transition from counting because that is all they have ever done. So, it is very common for kids to 'struggle' with identifying numbers without counting.

To transition your son to stop counting, s

tart by putting out 4 tally sticks. Ask him how many sticks there are out there. Of course, he is going to count them. Once he has finished counting and given you an answer, affirm him by saying, 'Good. That is 4 tally sticks. Now, by looking at these sticks, without counting 1, 2, 3, 4, can you tell me how many sticks there are out there?' Many kids will at this point say, '4', but some kids will begin to count again. So, if he starts counting again, remind him that he is to tell you the answer without counting them. Once he says the number without counting, remove the tally sticks and then put the EXACT SAME amount out. Then ask him again, 'How many tally sticks do I have out now?' Most of the time, the student will answer '4' on their own. However, if your son starts counting again, remind him again not to count. Once he does it a second (or third time) without counting, do the same thing with another number. By doing this exercise, you are basically breaking his habit of counting. You may find that you have to do this exercise several days in a row, but eventually, he will stop counting and be able to readily identify the amounts.

If you have any further questions, just let us know!

Have a great school year! Rachel Anderson

Share on other sites

haha the reason for not counting is b/c RightStart teaches a faster way than pecking away at counting each individual piece. they train the children, even as young as 3 o4 fo to just SEE 3 items or just SEE 4 items up to groupings of 5.

Ah, very neat! I might have to look into that for DD2! :)

Share on other sites

I'd just keep working on those first few lessons where you introduce "seeing" numbers 1-3. No more, maybe even just 1-2, until he does just see them. Maybe do more of this: "how many do you see?" then rearrange items on the tray but don't add or remove and ask "how many do you see now?" See if he counts the second time. If no, build from there. You'll probably never break him of it entirely. That's OK, as long as he can see up to 5 he will eventually find the ease and speed that comes with not counting but seeing the things. The point is to get him to where he can see the beads on the abacus without counting them. Good luck!

Share on other sites

I did a little of what everyone said today! IT WORKED!

AND he is so good at it, too!!

The flashing worked especially well... and we were able to go all the way up to 5. Thank you so much, guys!

Share on other sites

I want to still stay on numbers bellow 5 though and keep rearranging and using different objects...

and he even played a matching game with the tally stick cards and the finger cards, too!

Share on other sites

That's great! :party:

Share on other sites

I did a little of what everyone said today! IT WORKED!

AND he is so good at it, too!!

The flashing worked especially well... and we were able to go all the way up to 5. Thank you so much, guys!

Share on other sites

That is great! :001_smile:

Thanks for letting us know.

thank you!

Share on other sites

I just wanted to let you know I'm working with the exact same issue. I spent so long having my 4.75 yo count things, he gets a kick out of counting tally sticks. I've gone back and forth on whether to pull back from Level A for another year or keep working on the recognition and I'm glad to hear that just moving forward and keeping it fun is Ok. My son at least enjoys playing "find the middle" on fives of things and we've been singing a lot of "Five Little Monkeys" using fingers and tally sticks.

Share on other sites

I just wanted to let you know I'm working with the exact same issue. I spent so long having my 4.75 yo count things, he gets a kick out of counting tally sticks. I've gone back and forth on whether to pull back from Level A for another year or keep working on the recognition and I'm glad to hear that just moving forward and keeping it fun is Ok. My son at least enjoys playing "find the middle" on fives of things and we've been singing a lot of "Five Little Monkeys" using fingers and tally sticks.

That's so good to hear. yes... i'm finding it freeing to just move forward! or stay at a lesson too... but NOT b/c he keeps wanting to count....

Share on other sites

It's normal. Don't worry about it. Give it a few more months, encourage him, but try not to get frustrated. He's only 4-1/2. :) (Edited to add that I'm on my third kid with RightStart A--so perhaps that's why I'm not as worried. I've seen it work for my two eldest--even if they liked to count in the beginning.) Remember, RightStart B repeats all of RightStart A for the most part and builds on it. In reality, he has two years to get that. I doubt he'll be counting in college. ;)

So agree! I started A with my son who is 6 and he is hit and miss. Meh. I'm not worried.

Share on other sites

My son is young, but he loves to do school.... I decided to use RightStart Math level A gently with him. He is 4 1/2 but at times when we do it... we are only on the first few levels, he insists on counting each tally stick.

I just happily said we weren't going to do anymore math that day.... but I want to continue math with him... how do i get around this habit in a fun and easy way?

He can be quite determined to do things HIS way, what kid doesn't, right? BUT he is more this way in ALL areas, it is actually an issue...

Do I give it a few more months? or do I make it into a game? or what do I tell him? thoughts?

Use Cuisenaire Rods instead (as they can't be counted in terms of values). Also work with small groups of objects or pictorial representations of "sets" that can be visualized without counting.

Counting is something to be quashed.

Bill

Share on other sites

I did a little of what everyone said today! IT WORKED!

AND he is so good at it, too!!

The flashing worked especially well... and we were able to go all the way up to 5. Thank you so much, guys!

You might make a "flap board." It is just a piece of cardboard with two hinged cardboard doors (fabric tape works well for the "hinge"). You can open a door to reveal a card (picture corners work well to hold index cards) and you can flash it or leave it open. Then you can open the other side to work on "sums" and then close one side to work on differences.

And you can make cards with numbers, tally marks, rows red dots, or any other style you like.

ETA: cards in AL Abacus style (ie, yellow and blue dots in line in groups of 5 max.) are good too.

Bill

Edited by Spy Car

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.