# Very specific Living Math questions

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• Morgan Conner
Participant

I started SCM’s Living Math this week with my girls but have a few questions that I feel like I should know the answer to ?

1. My 6 yr old is starting from very little knowledge (can count, etc). When I go through each number do I wait until she knows the facts for each number? For ex-we are on the number 4-do I wait to move on to 5 until she can say 3+1=4 and 2+2=4? She can figure it out with the counters very quickly. I think the answer is no-that comes later but I just wasn’t sure when to move on the next number.

2. My older girls are starting at the beginning but moving quickly (I wanted to be sure they have solid foundation). When we get to double digits do we keep playing around with the possible addition/subtraction problems? Like for 15-do we go through all the ways to make 15?

I have only watched the first video and have brain drain since it’s the start of a new year. I feel like I should know this…

Richele Baburina
Participant

Hi merryheart5,

The start of a new year is always exciting but can certainly take a bit out of us as we find our rhythm.  If you have the SCM Mathematics handbook, you can use it as a ready reference.  Let’s see how I do with your questions:

1.  For your 6-year-old, 1-9 is a time of thorough exploration, really hallmarked by the unfolding of ideas in her mind.  Learning the tables will come later but right now what we really want is to build a comfort in working with numbers, learning the symbol for the idea of each number, working small problems with a variety of manipulatives, counting forward and backward.

Once she has worked problems –such as the number 4– with beans, calling them beans, then you will progress to calling the beans by other names, such as lambs.  “There are three lambs in the barn and one lamb in the yard, how many lambs all together?”  After a number of these, see what happens if you set the manipulatives aside and give her some mental images, where she is imagining objects:  “Judi had four raisins.  She ate two of them.  How many has she left?”  “Sierra has two flowers and she picks two more flowers.  How many has she all together?”

Keep that timer set though and don’t go over the twenty minutes, being sure to put the lesson away earlier if she shows signs of mental fatigue.  On the following day you may begin again, trying those imagination problems without the use of manipulatives.

You may give occasional examples working with pure number on those days your daughter seems eager.  “How much is left if you take 1 from 3?” etc.   We don’t rush the path to abstract thinking but we may help cultivate it.  And always be sure your child is giving answers in full sentences as this will be an aid in learning the tables when it is time.

2.  Those numbers to 100 may go fairly quickly when children have grasped the ideas that number has an order and the magnitude of number. You can speed things up or down based on your children. The larger numbers don’t get quite the thorough exploration as 1-9 as we will be introducing other ideas, such as place value.  Have you already tied up your ten bundles and such or introduced money into the lessons?  It would seem you are on p. 26, point 17. in the book.

Best,

Richele

Morgan Conner
Participant

Thank you so much! I have read the book and watched the video twice but once I was on my own I just struggled!

After reading your response I realized I was trying to go way too fast with my 6 yr old! And I was leaving out the part of the lesson where you pretend the beans are something else like lambs.

With my older girls-I realized I had skipped the bundling! We explored 10 and went to money but didn’t do the whole bundling thing. I will correct that!

I am still not sure what to do once we get to like 11 or 22. Can you give me a sample lesson for a larger number in this stage?

Richele Baburina
Participant

Hi merryheart5,

The first time for a new concept means there is a slight learning curve for mother as well.  Please know that I faced it as well and be encouraged that you will be doing basically the same thing now all the way to 100 so you will get the hang of it quickly.

So, you will want to review the lesson on place value/notation and tie up/string bundles with the kids first.  In that 22 minute video, starting at 9 minutes and 30 seconds is where I begin explaining 11-19 and then 20-29.   Work in this area follows basically the same pattern:

_See if your child can tell you the next number.

_Have them show the number using their bundles and units.

_Show them how to write the symbol for the number.  Have them write it on their slate and then in their math notebook.

_Give a number of small sums (orally):  “Robert caught 7 fish and Will caught 4 fish.  How many fish did both boys catch?”

“Luca’s mother gave him 5 cents and he already had 6 cents.  How much had he all together?  (The child will do the sum in pennies and then have your child change the pennies to a dime/penny).”

_Have children count using objects up and back, have them skip count them.

_A few small sums using the new number and numbers already learned.

_Occasionally give an oral problem that, once they solve, they can write out in their notebook.

_A few minutes of “mental math” at the end to build accuracy and quick thinking.

_Move on to the next number, using the same pattern.

This work will start to go faster so stay at the pace of your child.  Each number won’t get as thorough of an investigation as 1-9, especially since your child will have the idea of order so you will just give a few sums with the new number but more sums using numbers learned (or, say, they will always know the answer is “14”).  Taken in groups, the work should last roughly a week to ten days.  If you have a book, such as “Ray’s New Practical Arithmetic” or “Strayer-Upton Book I” this will help so you aren’t fishing for example problems on your own.  It is helpful to change up problems so they relate to what is in your child’s life.  Include siblings/ cousins names, pets, hobbies, interests.  Have the child come up with their own problems as well.  If you are working with more than one child, this can become quite fun.  My kids were asking for and giving these kind of sums in the car ad nauseum.  Hope that helps.

Best,

Richele

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