Home School Heartbeat Radio Program

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Early Math Skills
Volume 118, Program 66
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You want to teach your preschooler how to count, but she really only wants to eat lunch. Well, why can’t you do both? Today on Home School Heartbeat, with your host Mike Smith, HSLDA’s early years consultant, Vicki Bentley, explains how food can be used to teach early math skills.

Mike Smith: Vicki, what ways would you recommend for a parent to help their preschooler develop early math skills?

Vicki Bentley: Well, mathematics is simply the study of the patterns and order in the world that God has made, so point out the patterns in the world around your child. You can start by counting everyday objects. You probably already started out pointing out two eyes, five fingers, ten toes; now teach him to count to twenty, then more. Then try skip-counting: 2-4-6-8; 5-10-15-20. Maybe, “How many houses do we pass to get home? How many legs are on the dining room chair? If we have five chairs, how many legs are there altogether?” When you’re at the grocery store, let him pick out three apples, or three apples plus two more. Or the bunch with the most bananas, or the second box of crackers on the shelf. Then at home, setting the table teaches one-to-one correspondence, which is a foundational math concept. Sorting those Legos and the Matchbox cars and the crayons—that’s classification organization, math and science and language skills. And, of course, kids love scales and tape measures and measuring cups, so you can teach basic operations and fractions using food or cooking. Cut the pizza in half, then fourths, then eighths. Give a child 10 crackers to divide with his siblings. Not only will he learn about division, he’ll probably figure out the remainder.

Mike: Vicki, that’s great advice. And homeschooling, we know, is a great way to help your child get a head start in many things, including math. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.

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