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Did anyone do the early grades without a math curriculum? Xpost


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I'm thinking about getting Family Math and Let's Play math for my 1st graders and calling that math for a year or two. (Along with some living math books and lots of manipulatives.) Basically we would work on the 4 basic operations and maybe some geometry for fun.

 

Has anyone done anything like this?   What did it look like and how did it work out.

 

(I think my DD is MG and my DS is HG, but neither have been tested.)

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We spent our first couple of years (age 5 - 7) just playing lots and lots of games and doing lots of real-life maths applications (measuring, comparing, weighing, money, time etc).

 

For games, some were commercial eg Monopoly, Yahtzee.

But most were from an Australian website called Teach This. They were games like bingo, dominoes etc, but for a range of maths concepts. For example, one dominoes game needed her to match a fraction with its corresponding decimal.

All I needed was a decent colour printer and a laminator and scissors, and we were set. And at that age, it was all child-led. I didn't insist on anything. I just had it all there as options.

 

We also made up our own games (see our 'handgebra' in the algebra thread).  She also would get me to quiz her on maths facts while she was in the pool or on the trampoline. "What's 5/7 of 42?" and she'd dive under and come up with the answer  :001_smile: . Those were fun times.

 

When she started asking about concepts that games couldn't cover (at about age 7) I started to look for actual curriculum.

At that stage we used SumDog, Mathletics, an Australian Grade 7 textbook and started LoF pre-algebra. 

She maxed out SumDog pretty quickly, but enjoyed it while it lasted. Mathletics didn't work for her - too much repetition.

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We spent our first couple of years (age 5 - 7) just playing lots and lots of games and doing lots of real-life maths applications (measuring, comparing, weighing, money, time etc).

 

For games, some were commercial eg Monopoly, Yahtzee.

But most were from an Australian website called Teach This. They were games like bingo, dominoes etc, but for a range of maths concepts. For example, one dominoes game needed her to match a fraction with its corresponding decimal.

All I needed was a decent colour printer and a laminator and scissors, and we were set. And at that age, it was all child-led. I didn't insist on anything. I just had it all there as options.

 

We also made up our own games (see our 'handgebra' in the algebra thread).  She also would get me to quiz her on maths facts while she was in the pool or on the trampoline. "What's 5/7 of 42?" and she'd dive under and come up with the answer  :001_smile: . Those were fun times.

 

When she started asking about concepts that games couldn't cover (at about age 7) I started to look for actual curriculum.

At that stage we used SumDog, Mathletics, an Australian Grade 7 textbook and started LoF pre-algebra. 

She maxed out SumDog pretty quickly, but enjoyed it while it lasted. Mathletics didn't work for her - too much repetition.

That sounds wonderful!  That's what I'm looking for.

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I tried it when DD was between 5 and 6. I found it too time consuming for me to stay one step ahead of DD, stay alert for a learning opportunity and jump in. I'm not cut out to be an unschooling mum. :D YMMV

DD thrived though. She loved the bunny trails, the games, the books; it was all 'play'.

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We did. However, I used to teach math. Secondly, he is not "mathy." There is definitely no STEM career here and has been pretty firm on that since about 5 or 6. The first curriculm he had was AoPS. Before that he just messed around with whatever he wanted. If kid had been open about wanting STEM, we would have done formal math and science instead of formal grammar and foriegn language.

 

I had a stack of critical thinking workbooks. I showed him how to use manipulatives in the basic ways. Science lead us to a lot of explaining some basic principles. Baking did too. Allowence was always fun. We did flashcards for fluency when he wanted. By the time he wanted them, he knew most of them. It basically was a "see how smart I am" game. It did give me confidence that he was not a complete lost cause :)

 

In my experience, formal math can almost begin at 10. The first few years might feel a tad rocky, but by 14 everyone is essentially where they need to be. Let me preface that by saying, these are kids who are openly exposed to critical thinking, logic, know their facts, understand the basic operations, and place value. That sort of thing. In many ways, it is considered a Waldorf philosophy, but it is done many places around the globe. Kids just start PreA around 10 or 11. Holes are filled in. No biggie.

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We did. However, I used to teach math. Secondly, he is not "mathy." There is definitely no STEM career here and has been pretty firm on that since about 5 or 6. The first curriculm he had was AoPS. Before that he just messed around with whatever he wanted. If kid had been open about wanting STEM, we would have done formal math and science instead of formal grammar and foriegn language.

 

I had a stack of critical thinking workbooks. I showed him how to use manipulatives in the basic ways. Science lead us to a lot of explaining some basic principles. Baking did too. Allowence was always fun. We did flashcards for fluency when he wanted. By the time he wanted them, he knew most of them. It basically was a "see how smart I am" game. It did give me confidence that he was not a complete lost cause :)

 

In my experience, formal math can almost begin at 10. The first few years might feel a tad rocky, but by 14 everyone is essentially where they need to be. Let me preface that by saying, these are kids who are openly exposed to critical thinking, logic, know their facts, understand the basic operations, and place value. That sort of thing. In many ways, it is considered a Waldorf philosophy, but it is done many places around the globe. Kids just start PreA around 10 or 11. Holes are filled in. No biggie.

I must have read this somewhere, because I was thinking we could do most of elementary math low key and then move to more structured algebra.

 

I would be more intentional than unschoolong for math. I would plan an activity or some sort of reinforcement on a daily basis.

 

I was thinking I'd get mathematical reasoning as back up just in case.

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I tried it when DD was between 5 and 6. I found it too time consuming for me to stay one step ahead of DD, stay alert for a learning opportunity and jump in. I'm not cut out to be an unschooling mum. :D YMMV

DD thrived though. She loved the bunny trails, the games, the books; it was all 'play'.

I wouldn't do it as unschooling per se, just more open ended and not from a curricula. Games and activities and such, but intentionally if that makes sense. I wouldn't be able to keep up with unschoolong math and looking for teaching moments only, it would be too hard with two kids keeping track, and having the energy to get both kids the attention that would require. Edited by Runningmom80
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Your youngins are 6, so you have a significant grace period. I would give them a check in at around 8. If one or both are really floundering, then maybe start a bit of Singapore or BA or something. Who knows, perhaps one of them might really decide they want some serious science in their lives by that time. Or maybe one will just get giddy over pure math. Then kicking in a curriculum might not be the worst thing.

 

Mine got a tiny taste of foriegn language and went bonkers. That boy has some serious wanderlust in him. Sometimes kids just know what they want. Definitely don't fight it if it turns out they do.

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I unschooled math for oldest ds until he was 6 3/4. At that time, it finally dawned on me that ds was pretty mathy, but I didn't know then just how mathy he was. During the next 2 1/4 years he got through Singapore math IP using the discovery method as he considered both my teaching and a textbook to be cheating.  So I don't actually know how he learned things like fractions, decimals, percents.  Trial and error and checking the answers?  No clue.  

 

While we were unschooling math, I never looked for teachable moments and I had never taught math before.  I did get Family Math but never really used it. I made a ton of Montessori math manipulables, but ds never needed them as he moved straight into the abstracting stage almost immediately. So for his first 2 years of schooling, we mostly did 3 things:

 

1) Played shop

2) Estimated numbers of things (cars, birds, mushrooms, etc)

3) Made up complicated word problems for each other. So he practiced both making them and solving them.  We did trolls, hobbits, trains, cakes, you name it we did it.  We walked a lot around the city, and just did this to pass the time as we walked. 

 

So these three things covered basic arithmetic, numeracy, and problem solving.  

 

This approach seemed to set ds up well, and I do remember it fondly. :001_wub:

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I unschooled math for oldest ds until he was 6 3/4. At that time, it finally dawned on me that ds was pretty mathy, but I didn't know then just how mathy he was. During the next 2 1/4 years he got through Singapore math IP using the discovery method as he considered both my teaching and a textbook to be cheating.  So I don't actually know how he learned things like fractions, decimals, percents.  Trial and error and checking the answers?  No clue.  

 

While we were unschooling math, I never looked for teachable moments and I had never taught math before.  I did get Family Math but never really used it. I made a ton of Montessori math manipulables, but ds never needed them as he moved straight into the abstracting stage almost immediately. So for his first 2 years of schooling, we mostly did 3 things:

 

1) Played shop

2) Estimated numbers of things (cars, birds, mushrooms, etc)

3) Made up complicated word problems for each other. So he practiced both making them and solving them.  We did trolls, hobbits, trains, cakes, you name it we did it.  We walked a lot around the city, and just did this to pass the time as we walked. 

 

So these three things covered basic arithmetic, numeracy, and problem solving.  

 

This approach seemed to set ds up well, and I do remember it fondly. :001_wub:

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Yes! Same here! Wow, what a relief to know it isn't just us.

I think that because so much of maths is intuitive for my daughter, if there is something new that actually needs to be taught, she sees it as 'cheating'. She actually uses the word 'cheating'. I find it difficult to manage sometimes.

Please tell me your son grew out of this ... 

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I unschooled math for oldest ds until he was 6 3/4. At that time, it finally dawned on me that ds was pretty mathy, but I didn't know then just how mathy he was. During the next 2 1/4 years he got through Singapore math IP using the discovery method as he considered both my teaching and a textbook to be cheating.  So I don't actually know how he learned things like fractions, decimals, percents.  Trial and error and checking the answers?  No clue.  

 

While we were unschooling math, I never looked for teachable moments and I had never taught math before.  I did get Family Math but never really used it. I made a ton of Montessori math manipulables, but ds never needed them as he moved straight into the abstracting stage almost immediately. So for his first 2 years of schooling, we mostly did 3 things:

 

1) Played shop

2) Estimated numbers of things (cars, birds, mushrooms, etc)

3) Made up complicated word problems for each other. So he practiced both making them and solving them.  We did trolls, hobbits, trains, cakes, you name it we did it.  We walked a lot around the city, and just did this to pass the time as we walked. 

 

So these three things covered basic arithmetic, numeracy, and problem solving.  

 

This approach seemed to set ds up well, and I do remember it fondly. :001_wub:

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Love it!  Thank you.

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Your youngins are 6, so you have a significant grace period. I would give them a check in at around 8. If one or both are really floundering, then maybe start a bit of Singapore or BA or something. Who knows, perhaps one of them might really decide they want some serious science in their lives by that time. Or maybe one will just get giddy over pure math. Then kicking in a curriculum might not be the worst thing.

 

Mine got a tiny taste of foriegn language and went bonkers. That boy has some serious wanderlust in him. Sometimes kids just know what they want. Definitely don't fight it if it turns out they do.

 

Hmmm, they both love Science.  DD loves math.  I'll have to sit with this a little.  DS 6 is more artsy but he's the best with numbers. So I have no idea. ha! :laugh:

 

Maybe I need games and curricula.

 

I appreciate this viewpoint, thank you for sharing. :)

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he considered both my teaching and a textbook to be cheating.

Yes! Same here! Wow, what a relief to know it isn't just us.

I think that because so much of maths is intuitive for my daughter, if there is something new that actually needs to be taught, she sees it as 'cheating'. She actually uses the word 'cheating'. I find it difficult to manage sometimes.

Please tell me your son grew out of this ...

 

Yes, he grew out of it, but it took a long time!  What happened was AoPS Intro Algebra.  It was perfect for him because it was actually designed to be the discovery approach, whereas Singapore is not.  So that was positive because I knew he was getting the full picture with a curriculum.  However, he still completely refused my help.  And AoPS Intro Algebra was HARD for a little boy of 9, and he cried and cried for hours as he tried to figure it out on his own.  So I hid the book.  I refused to give it back until we came to an understanding of how and when I would help.  At that point I considered it a mental health issue, and I would not back down.  So in the end his desire for the book outweighed his desire to be completely independent in his learning, and we came to an understanding.  It has been smooth sailing every since.

Edited by lewelma
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Hmmm, they both love Science. DD loves math. I'll have to sit with this a little. DS 6 is more artsy but he's the best with numbers. So I have no idea. ha! :laugh:

 

Maybe I need games and curricula.

 

I appreciate this viewpoint, thank you for sharing. :)

I would strew stuff. If you find them naturally gravitating to the math or science by themselves, then gently see if they want more. Something like BA would be great. It is very puzzle and fun based. It isn't hardcore like Saxon or something. You could see about Singapore. Many kids who are not at BA really like early Singapore.

 

Don't give them curriculum, but see if they like it. That way you are making math fun, on their terms, but they are also getting the exposure.

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Hmmm, they both love Science. DD loves math. I'll have to sit with this a little. DS 6 is more artsy but he's the best with numbers. So I have no idea. ha! :laugh:

My kids recently found this website. Engineering + Art

https://www.mattshlian.com/video

 

There is also origami geometry

https://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/junkyard/origami.html

 

DS12 loves finding patterns. He would cover pages with doodles of tessellations as a young kid. Vi-Hart videos make him feel normal. He lean more science then math for interest. He also lean finance so go figure :P

 

I did unschooled math until DS12 went to public school K. I was exhausted by his intense questioning so I am still grateful he had a great time playing in public school K and I get a rest until 2pm.

DS11 was extremely laid back and would take whatever is spoon fed. When oldest went to public school he just nap in the morning and play legos. When he is bored with legos he slept.

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My kids recently found this website. Engineering + Art

https://www.mattshlian.com/video

 

There is also origami geometry

https://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/junkyard/origami.html

 

DS12 loves finding patterns. He would cover pages with doodles of tessellations as a young kid. Vi-Hart videos make him feel normal. He lean more science then math for interest. He also lean finance so go figure :p

 

I did unschooled math until DS12 went to public school K. I was exhausted by his intense questioning so I am still grateful he had a great time playing in public school K and I get a rest until 2pm.

DS11 was extremely laid back and would take whatever is spoon fed. When oldest went to public school he just nap in the morning and play legos. When he is bored with legos he slept.

 

Thank you for those links!

 

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