This is part 2 in my preschool series. For Part 1: Language Arts and Social Studies, click here.
Math is such fun at this early stage because it’s all hands-on. Everything. I don’t do a formal “math lesson” everyday simply because the manipluatives are such fun that we are easily able to amuse ourselves just by “playing.” We have a few manipulatives that we consistently use like pattern blocks (sometimes with pattern cards and sometimes just with our own imaginations), Cuisenaire rods, geoboards, and snap cubes, but our shelves are full of other great math manipulatives (like a balance, Mighty Mind, an abacus, measuring tools, geometric solids, tangrams…). Joseph (and William now, too) visibly lights up anytime a math manipulative is pulled out. Both boys are happy to spend lots of time just exploring with the different manipulatives. In my opinion, there are a lot of Montessori math manipulatives that are definitely worth adding to your shelf, provided it’s in your budget (or you are extremely handy and able to make them on your own).
For a formal math program (for Joseph), we’re continuing with Saxon Math K, which is a huge hit. Joseph loves the manipulatives and I love the brevity of each lesson. I think we’ll finish with this before the year ends, but I’m not sure what we’ll move onto next. I don’t think we’ll attempt Saxon Math 1 quite yet, since Joseph’s motor skills are not up to a 1st grade level. I like the idea of Right Start Math and am more intrigued each time I look at the catalog. Maybe in the spring, you’ll find us counting the “math way”…2 ten 1, 2 ten 2, and so on. I also like Cuisenaire Rods, alot, and so I am intrigued by Miquon Math, as well. I would love to hear your comments about what math programs you use (and/or have used).
For science, I am using the plans included in Sonlight’s 4/5 program. My only supplementation is nature study, so we’re exploring whatever bit of nature we find ourselves in (be it the backyard, the Botanical Gardens, the beach, etc). Something new we’re trying this Fall is Five in a Row’s Nature Study guide. You purchase each season separately, so we’re trying it for the fall and we’ll see how it goes. Sometimes I also get a few ideas from the book Hug a Tree. We take lots of nature walks and we’re always on the look-out for bits of nature to bring home and study. Joseph’s not yet interested in keeping a nature notebook, but as soon as he shows an interest in drawing what he sees, we’ll add that to our agenda.