Math and Pre-School

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  • Adalynn

    Hello all 😁

    Just today I was thinking about how I’m going to need a math curriculum that walks myself and my children step-by-step, as I am very intimidated by math unless I have a pencil and paper in front of me (and a calculator if anyone is going to need my answer, haha!).

    I’m very excited to have The CM Elementary Arithmetic Series available when the time comes!

    In the meantime, my oldest daughter is not yet four, and I don’t want to burn her out or push her. But today, she was drawing and telling me a made-up story and told me the man had one of something, then drew a very distinct “1.” We have only done letters and numbers in a very casual, as-they-come-up way, but she had, earlier, easily matched groups of objects to numbers on a page that I’d only given her to keep busy while I helped Baby.

    So my question is, how do I best support her in learning in a methodical, helpful way, not letting wrong impressions become permanent in her mind, while leaving her to learn and explore as a child?

    Rachel White

    Doesn’t sound like she has any wrong impression there.

    I would just give her number puzzles, blocks with numbers, turn playdoe into numbers, draw them with sidewalk chalk, obviously,  crayons. Use the fairy tales to tell about numbers. Count the clouds, count bugs, rocks, etc.

    I wouldn’t do more than that, personally. If she asks  questions,  answer her, but I wouldn’t give her any type of math seat- work.


    CM would say no workbooks, but my daughter asked for them and loves them. I have used some Rod and Staff ABC, DEF…preschool books. They are a nice mix of tracing, cutting, letters, numbers, coloring, and a bit of geography and Bible. You can look at them on milestone books, I think. I do limit her pages and never make her do them. They come out when she wants and I put them away after a few pages even if she wants to go on.  Just know they are not true CM;)

    Rachel White

    Oh yes, I forgot about the Rod and Staff preschool books. My children enjoyed those and their coloring books.

    Also, Kumon.

    So, mix it up.


    Thank you both for your encouragement!

    Richele Baburina

    Hi Adalynn,

    What a sweet girl you have!  I just loved making up stories and illustrating them as a child, too, and if my mother of six was able to listen and look then I felt I had the most special audience.

    This is a quote I like to refer to by Charlotte Mason’s lecturer in mathematics as it is full of CM thought:

    Taking our working definition that “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life,” it follows that we realize that education must surround and be a part of the child from his infancy; but until he is ready for school at the end of his sixth year it is to be an education by means of his senses, of his unstudied games, by means of his natural and not of an artificially prepared environment.

    Charlotte Mason encouraged parents to not begin formal schoolroom lessons before six as she felt the intellectual edge would already be taken off if begun too early.  This may not be as methodical as you are looking for but measuring in baking and cooking, weighing anything that can be weighed, counting your steps to the mailbox, noting the sun’s position in the sky and the fall of shadows, finger play (such as those found in Playtime Rhymes for Little People), books like Three Billy Goats Gruff, counting in a game of hide-and-seek are all examples of unstudied games and things in a natural environment.

    What else is in your home environment?  Dominoes, acorns, dice, etc.  It can be great fun to sort and count then find the same number on a domino as the acorns on the table, etc. Some things that come to mind for pre-school age would be writing numerals in the air and in a sand or rice tray, and on a slate, just as is set out for writing letters in CM’s volume on Home Education.  Now is  a great time to get that volume and begin reading if you haven’t yet.  Even at just 5-pages-a-day one will have plenty to think upon while also completing the volume in less than 2.5 months.

    Using a slate and plain paper is just fine for now until the special time of introducing a gridded math notebook or gridded dry-erase board (both of which SCM carries) in the formal lesson.  Do continue to let it be only according to her desire as there is beauty in time to play.  Take it from one with a 13 and 15-year-old in Geometry and Algebra, the time goes quickly and you will see eventually see how this informal time reaps rewards.





    Thank you for your thoughtful response, Richele!


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