Topic | Elementary Arithmetic – Book 1: When to Progress

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  • ebrockhoff

    (This question is for anyone but I am really hoping that Richele finds this)


    My six year old is loving math! And I’m really enjoying it with him. So thank you for writing such a great math curriculum.

    He has some real strengths: he understands the written symbol represents quantity and he has no problem understanding math problems and can solve them easily with manipulatives. I can also call a “bean” a “cookie” or a “dog” and he isn’t tripped up. Pure numbers are also not a problem.. again, as long as he manipulatives.

    Naturally, I really want to progress through the numbers, and we have. We did one entire lesson a day up until Lesson 6, which is when I realized (yes, it took me this long!) that he couldn’t do mental math and that if he couldn’t do mental math then maybe we shouldn’t be progressing (even though his grasp of the concept is thorough).

    We’ve now repeated Lessons 4-6 about three times, and I’ve done Ray’s Lesson VII (numbers 1-5) also about three times. And he’s great! But his mental math is just NOT there.

    Is this a poor habit? Immaturity? Do I drill math facts since he understands the concepts? Do I move on to Lesson 10 and subsequently Intro. to Monday, and Place Value and Notation?

    He doesn’t seem bored or discouraged with the repetition, but I am at a bit of a loss as to how to appropriately respond to this stage or pace of learning.


    Hello and great question! As your child advances, his mental math should remain within his ability & comprehension. If that means you’ve moved further in lessons and to larger numbers but the mental math portion is making up 2s & 3s, so be it. He’ll still be cultivating habits of attention, steadfast thinking, concentration, etc.

    Let me know if that helps and thanks so much for your kindness.


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