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Best math for Kindergarten visual learner with poor auditory processing


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My daughter has cognitive delays and poor auditory processing and executive function, but she is highly visual. Her problem solving is very weak. I am trying to find a math program that plays to her strengths, yet math can be so auditory.

So far, I am looking at either Right Start or Shiller Math. I like Right Start and am familiar with their games, but I wonder if it is too advanced. I want a multi-sensory, not too wordy program with lots of hands-on manipulative, visualization and games. I also looked at Touch Point Math, but I wasn't sure about it. Open to other ideas too. 

Thanks for any ideas!

 

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I don't think I would do formal math yet.  I'd spend this year letting her play with math blocks: c-rods, base 10, pattern blocks, maybe some number tiles or stackable place value cards or a balance scale...things she could explore with minimal direction.

I'd wait on formal math until reading skills were down.

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Reading your other post, your DD sounds a lot like my youngest DS in terms of strengths and challenges (totally different diagnoses, though -- my kid is autistic and has encephalopathy + mild CP from his birth history). My DS#4 has relative strengths in visual processing and visual memory along with his basement-level verbal memory and a significant language disorder. He transitioned from EI to an inclusion SPED preschool at 3yo, did two years of prek and then two years of public kindergarten (mainstreamed with an IEP and lots of pull-outs) before switching to homeschool.

Anyway, we started Right Start 1st edition level A about 15 months ago (and schooled through summer) at 6.5yo and it was soooooo slow going. He took about 3 months to get through the first 7 lessons, which were designed to take a typical 4-5yo less than 3 weeks to complete. We eeked out a few more lessons along side other math programs in the next 7ish months. Then he hit a solid brick wall and could not move forward no matter what I did.

The hands-on component was excellent, but Right Start is surprisingly verbal! It also includes quite a few activities that require relatively high (aka at least low-average-ish) working memory. My son also needed waaaaay more practice with concepts than was built into RS, and the jumping around between topics that is standard in RS was problematic for him. It confused him to begin a new topic before the previous one was completely solid. There's a RS for struggling learners FB group that I mostly lurk on, and RS seems to work for many children with learning challenges; it just didn't work for mine. If you already have the materials or your budget has room for some experimentation, I say go for it. Just be ready to adjust things or ditch RS entirely if it doesn't work out.

Also, in all fairness, my DS#4 also tried and got stuck in MUS Primer (at lesson 9, the same concept that he stalled on in RS) and ST Math (again, same concept). *NO* regular math curriculum was going to work for this concept and my kid at that time. He just wasn't developmentally ready. We took a couple of months off around surgery and now have spent the last 2.5 months in the Ronit Bird Dots book and doing other basic number sense activities. He's still struggling, but it feels less hopeless. I don't know if that's because of the change in approach or if at almost 8yo we're seeing the result of time and increasing mental maturity. I plan to switch him to a tier-3 public school intervention math program soon, SRA Connecting Math Concepts, because he's doing so well with SRA Reading Mastery Signature Edition, the reading and language program that uses the same DISTAR/Direct Instruction approach. Would it have worked when he was 5? Maybe, but I doubt it. I think his brain needed more time to grow and develop.

Alternatives to RS to consider:

ST Math - Online complete math curriculum that is 100% language-free until upper elementary. Also happens to be free this year.
https://www.stmath.com/homeschool-math

Ronit Bird dyscalculia materials. The Apple iBooks are a bazillion and one times better than the paperback books you can buy on Amazon.
http://www.ronitbird.com/ebooks-for-learners-with-dyscalculia/

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I'll throw this out as a suggestion, it's not a curriculum, but very fun, no reading.  I believe the workbook shows pictures of the little block animals.  My son loved this and we kept it until Grade 3 or something, I eventually gave it to a local ps Kindergarten teacher.  Sold on Amazon as well, lots of reviews.  Anyways, just in case you don't know about it....

https://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/fat_brain_toy_co/inchimals.cfm

 

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Thank you for your feedback. My initial thought when I first approached homeschooling her was to go with RS as we have used their games before, but when I came across Shiller Math, I thought it was more visual and hands-on. I'm also concerned RS might have some concepts that are too advanced for her. I know there is going to be lots of trial and error here as I want to give her every opportunity without overloading her. At the same time, I don't want to underestimate her. Maybe we will look at RS when she is a little older, but I am thinking the more manipulatives, the better right now. Montessori is good with that. I may even do some of the activities from our Saxon K book, although I would never use Saxon after that. I have the book from my boys, and it is all manipulative play in the K book, but I will have to look and see how verbal it is. Ronit Bird and the others mentioned here also look like great options. 

I think math is such an auditory subject, in general, but we will do our best. Thanks for excellent insight!

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I think the classic response around here is Ronit Bird. I love, love, love her materials. 

Generalizing is a big goal... and internalizing the concept of numbers.... not just counting with no deeper understanding. Like, this domino has 6 dots. Here are 6 plastic dinosaurs. Here are 6 cotton balls. Do we have the same number of cotton balls and dinosaurs? (They're different sized objects, but the same number...) 

Look, 6 cotton balls can be put into groups of 3 and 3! Oh, and also 5 and 1, and 4 and 2! This leads nicely into addition and subtraction, which is what the early Ronit Bird books do (Dots e-book). Constantly build with actual objects, and write (when she is ready) numbers and equations to go with them.

Does she count with 1-1 correspondence (i.e., touch objects and say numbers)? Can she say which number is bigger/smaller (compare)? Does she recognize numerals? 

Estimating.... how many jellybeans do you think there are? 2? 10? Which pile has more/less jellybeans?

You have 4 teddy bears. I give you one more. How many do you have now?

I agree with you that math can be very verbal, with wordy explanations. It doesn't have to be that way. Ronit Bird isn't that way, and you can structure math "lessons" to be very fun, play-based, with fewer words than in a commercial math program. The wordiness of math curricula bug me a lot, too. 

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Miquon MATH. 

Read all teacher materials while she plays with cuisenaire rods as if they were toy blocks.

After you've read and she has played enough to intuitively know things like 2 yellow are the same size as one orange,  then you can begin putting MATH vocabulary to it. 

And the process of math lab taught by Lore Rasmussen can be applied no matter what other materials you choose from there.

Start with her strength. Then apply her strengths towards building up her weaknesses. 

 

My son had different struggles, but he often had 2 mini math lessons a day. One oral/visual at his challenge level, and another with easy content but challenging modality (written, for him). 

MEP math is an excellent resource as well. You can pull the work away from the worksheet too. Use it as a tool. 

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On 7/2/2021 at 10:17 AM, Kanin said:

Does she count with 1-1 correspondence (i.e., touch objects and say numbers)? yes Can she say which number is bigger/smaller (compare)? maybe Does she recognize numerals? yes

Estimating.... how many jellybeans do you think there are? 2? 10? Which pile has more/less jellybeans? haven't done this yet much, but she can tell more and less apart as in, "Hey, my brother got more than me."

You have 4 teddy bears. I give you one more. How many do you have now? I'd say yes, but not, "What is 4 plus one?" She is still in preschool/Jr. K and won't be starting kindergarten for another year. I am just researching this year before I get started.

Grateful for all input to look into. My thought with Miquon was that it might be too advanced??  I will look more at Ronit Bird, but does it include the manipulatives? Would I just compile my own? Is it worksheet-oriented? Maybe it would be better for 1st grade and up. I think for kindergarten, I want to keep it gentle with lots of manipulative play to build number sense. How does Ronit Bird fit into that?

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21 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

Grateful for all input to look into. My thought with Miquon was that it might be too advanced?? 

Just a thought on this, but the 6 Miquon books are meant to cover K-3rd math.  One thing you can do is remove the pages of the each book as you get to it and put them in page protectors, allowing for a page to be revisited over and over with dry erase pens.

However, the first book is pretty simple and easy, especially if you spread it out over the full year of K and do a lot of exploration between each worksheet.

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50 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

Grateful for all input to look into. My thought with Miquon was that it might be too advanced??  I will look more at Ronit Bird, but does it include the manipulatives? Would I just compile my own? Is it worksheet-oriented? Maybe it would be better for 1st grade and up. I think for kindergarten, I want to keep it gentle with lots of manipulative play to build number sense. How does Ronit Bird fit into that?

I don't think Ronit Bird is worksheet oriented at all. It's mostly games and activities. 

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56 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't think Ronit Bird is worksheet oriented at all. It's mostly games and activities. 

Yup. It's all manipulative based. No worksheets at all. So fun and inviting. Manipulatives are not included, but they are very basic...dice, dominos, cuisenaire rods, collections of things to count. It's not a curriculum so much as a program to build number sense. 

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1 minute ago, Kanin said:

Yup. It's all manipulative based. No worksheets at all. So fun and inviting. Manipulatives are not included, but they are very basic...dice, dominos, cuisenaire rods, collections of things to count. It's not a curriculum so much as a program to build number sense. 

Having looked through it, it's an excellent program. And I think some mathy parents do some of the things in there naturally themselves... like, I spend time talking about numbers within other numbers without even thinking about it, you know? I catch myself doing it sometimes as a way to explain things. So I think it's great to have it spelled out. 

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26 minutes ago, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

Oh - I will have to look at it more. I assumed from the preview on Amazon was that it had worksheets. 

Were you the one trying to buy books instead of the ebooks ? The first three ebooks do cover the same material roughly as the first print book (Toolkit), BUT the ebooks have a more clear instructional order and embedded videos. The print books do have some printables, and the Resource book especially has tons of terrific worksheet type printables, usually for her version of sudoku. But the others are correct that it's not a typical curriculum with "worksheets".

She updated her print books, so I haven't seen the newest edition. She may have rearranged the print book slightly to mirror the FABULOUS instructional order she has in the ebooks. Me, I couldn't pick up the print books and turn them into anything, not with my young ds at age 5/6. With an older dc, where you're just targeting, it might work out better. I needed open and go idiot proof, and the books gave me that. And at $10 they're such a logical starting point, assuming the person has an apple device or can borrow one once a week even.

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Back in the early 2000s, we used Miquon math with one of mine.  It worked well for him, but there are a few drawbacks. 1: the pages are in different colors. For a kid with any sort of vision difficulty, it's not as easy on the eyes as just black and white sheets. 2. Even the orange and red books (1st grade) aren't super straightforward, especially if there is any sort of cognitive delay.

With another of mine, we used Ronit Bird's materials along with some Education Unboxed videos.  We owned Ronit Bird's print books originally, but switched to the ebooks because they are so much easier to use.  

For a visual kid with cognitive delays, I would absolutely want to nail down subitizing because place value is going to hinge on that.  Ronit Bird is the best at that....

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On 7/2/2021 at 5:36 AM, AdventuresinHomeschooling said:

I am thinking the more manipulatives, the better right now. Montessori is good with that.

If you aren't super constrained in budget Mathessori - Montessori Math Curriculum.

It uses the things closer to the real Montessori materials (the golden beads, wooden stamp game set up) as opposed to Shiller. It's also organized by activities instead of lessons numbers, which I find much easier to go according to my child's pace. 

Downsides are

  1. it really only covers arithmetic (including counting and numbers of course), but none of the side stuff like money, or reading a clock (I think under Montessori that falls under "Practical Life" and geometry at lower elementary is part of "sensorial" a lot of times.).
  2. Cost because manipulatives. Also some of the manipulatives like the golden beads take up a fair amount of space.
  3. it's less open and go because you have to see where your child is and go with their flow so you don't have a regular prep schedule. Example if they breeze through fetching numbers into the thousands you may find yourself having to prepare the next thing for tomorrow or that day, if your child is on a roll that day.
  4. Also some activities are sequential and some are parallel you will kind of have to manage that. The curriculum gives you flow charts, but you still have to read it and figure out what activities you want your child doing.

I bought kit 2 and kit 3, that's what we use.  We've LOVED it (but we are doing it for preschool). The math feels pretty solid to me, especially when you look at the forest. The manipulatives are really set up for self exploration. It's really hard for me to explain without sounding like a crazy hippie, but for example the golden beads, each set is the number of beads it represents so sometimes my kids just play with the material and even then it connects some math dots together. I've found it has taught my 4.5 year old how to learn independently. I still do lessons with my son, and challenging lessons there is definitely hand holding there, but he also spends some of his free-play time practicing skills we've learned during our lesson time.    

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3 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

For a visual kid with cognitive delays, I would absolutely want to nail down subitizing because place value is going to hinge on that.  Ronit Bird is the best at that....

I'm very much a fan of subitizing and make my kids practice it a LOT, but I don't think I think of it as connected to place value? What's the connection? 

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9 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I'm very much a fan of subitizing and make my kids practice it a LOT, but I don't think I think of it as connected to place value? What's the connection? 

This is when I break out my Akhmatova. (she has this great poem about love and loss and says NOW you understand)

Anyways. My ds didn't get subitizing of 3 the number, 3 cheerios, 3 dollars, 3 tens, 3 nothing. Of course it's completely intertwined because place value is just chunks and groups of stuff you're moving around. So he was just as lost at 3 tens + 4 tens as he was 3+4. 

Ronit Bird remains brilliantly insightful.

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

This is when I break out my Akhmatova. (she has this great poem about love and loss and says NOW you understand)

Anyways. My ds didn't get subitizing of 3 the number, 3 cheerios, 3 dollars, 3 tens, 3 nothing. Of course it's completely intertwined because place value is just chunks and groups of stuff you're moving around. So he was just as lost at 3 tens + 4 tens as he was 3+4. 

Ronit Bird remains brilliantly insightful.

But is that an issue of subitizing, per se, or just an issue of not understanding number as a concept?  Because it seems like this is unrelated to the ability to spot the number quickly; just to interpret a number as an entity.

Like, as a stark example, a blind person by definition can’t subitize, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do number or place value.

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(For the record, I didn’t move kids to place value until they were comfortable with the idea of a number as a unit, and that did get tested via a variety of ways, including subitizing and counting on. So I understand the relationship, but I still think it’s more like both skills are outgrowths of the same thing, as opposed to being directly related.) 

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38 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

But is that an issue of subitizing, per se, or just an issue of not understanding number as a concept?  Because it seems like this is unrelated to the ability to spot the number quickly; just to interpret a number as an entity.

Like, as a stark example, a blind person by definition can’t subitize, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do number or place value.

we must not be talking about the same things. Dyscalculia is a disability of number sense and difficulties with subitizing are a key, identifying trait. And of course a blind person could have difficulty with subitizing. I have no clue how they do math, but they're going to have to grapple with the same thing. 

I was trying to find you the thing about the parts of the brain. The dyscalculia is in a different part of the brain from conceptual math. I'm not sure why blindness would affect any of this. https://www.dyscalculia.org/experts/sharma-s-ctlm/sharma-lesson-plan/research/mills  

https://www.futurity.org/blind-brain-vision-math-1252282-2/#:~:text=People%20blind%20from%20birth%20appear,algebra%20problems%20in%20their%20heads.&text=The%20visual%20cortex%20didn't%20merely%20respond%2C%20the%20researchers%20say.  Here, something to explore with your whole question of how blind people would visualize math.

Just as an aside, my dh always says hard cases make bad law. Or put another way, my ds is sort of an extreme case.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

we must not be talking about the same things. Dyscalculia is a disability of number sense and difficulties with subitizing are a key, identifying trait. And of course a blind person could have difficulty with subitizing. I have no clue how they do math, but they're going to have to grapple with the same thing. 

I would guess it's entirely possible to be blind but to have a robust sense of number, as long as you have robust visualization. This is exactly what I mean -- a concept of number is NECESSARY to subitise, but it's not the only thing necessary, and furthermore, the ability to subitise is not the same thing as having a concept of number. (In fact, I think we have a poster whose kiddo could subitise small numbers but did not understand that rearranging the same group of objects didn't change the number -- he did NOT have a solid concept of number.) 

Anyway, I'm quibbling a bit here. I'm sure that if there are subitising issues, then there are number issues, and that's going to bite you. I would just warn someone that an ability to subitise is not all you need and that in fact they are simply both symptoms of a larger, overarching problem. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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