« Figures Don't Lie... | Main | September 15-16, 2007 Daily Sweep »

September 15, 2007


suma valluru

Hi, i personally feel that juvenile math teaching is the best way to improve our own math skills..as the doubts they get will make us think a lot...

suma valluru


i do have daughter at the age of 4, now she started to learn plus and minus a number, but may be my problem is that i've start it with book of plus and minus. she can do it well up to 7 + 3 = 10, but as time goes she intend to forget that by pulling up 5 fingers add with 0 is becoming 5 again......
am i missing the concept, or am i introducing wrong concept.
another things, we're malay, which our native language is Malay languages but she is expose to english as early as she's born. Question is should i send her to an english school which mentosseri or just a normal school which combine english and malay medium. Reason being, in the normal school they teach more on languages reading but english school they concentrate on math and of course it will be automatically cover english languages as it come along with the english math instrustion.
your kind view is very much appreciated.

A Watcher

I think it is great, Nina, that you are teaching your child math.

I would put away the book for several reasons. 1) Most 4 year olds are not really ready to write and using a book will slow the process down as the child becomes frustrated with not being able to write the answers; 2) You want to gear your teaching to your child's responses, not to some problem in a book. 3) It sounds like your child may not have a one to one correspondence with numbers down yet and a book will only teach her rote memory, not the concept of addition. 4) Teaching the concept of addition or any function is much more important than teaching by rote memory because once they have the concept down they can figure out the answer to problems they don't and can't have memorized. 5) Small children have problems with addition products above 10 and below 20, so don't even try to teach 8 + 3 etc. for now. You might want to teach 1 + 1 through 20 plus 1 as an exception.

Don't get frustrated with her inability to grasp a concept like adding zero to a number immediately. She is only four and you are teaching her things that most kids don't learn until they are eight. Give her lots of praise for the things that she learns. My Grandkids only got one math lesson a week, so don't over do this.

Math is its own language. I can't imagine that it matters which language you teach her in. Teach her in both. Once she starts thinking about doing higher level math, it might make a difference, but not at four.

I am totally unqualified to recommend schools. You will find that if you do teach your child math, the schools can't keep up, no matter which kind you select. No one expects a four year old to know math. I think that is wrong.

Keep me up on your daughter's progress. If you are patient and make this fun you will be both amazed and pleased.

I hope this helps.


Hi i just wanted to know what I am doing with my four year old is correct or not. Well at the moment i have started teaching him how to count. I basically use two colors of beans and since he knows how to write his abcs and numbers 1-20 so that's where I am working on with him now. I use a board to write and then he counts the beans first number with one color of bean and then the other number with other color and then he counts all the beans together and goes writes the answer on the board. another thing i am using is that he writes the number + another number on board and then asks me to count the beans and i purposely give him wrong answer and he then corrects me and says mom you don't know anything I am teaching you everything and gets really excited about it that he's teaching me..it's working at the moment..do you think i'm using the right method or is their an easier way?

a watcher

I think that what you are doing is great. A four-old who can write is pretty amazing. It sounds like he thinks that what you are doing is fun, and that is the key.


I am pleased to have come across your clear and enlightening posting. I like that you give actual examples and doable strategies on how to teach math. The square / square root ideas is good and I'll try that on my kids.

My questions:

1. How do you explain to young kids you can't divide by 0?

2. How do you explain the concept of infinity to a 7yo? It started with the question "What's the biggest number?" and I explain there's always 1 number bigger than whatever number he says. So he repeatedly asks "why? how is that possible?"


a watcher

Thanks for the complement.

The infinity question is easy. The youngest grandson loves big numbers. What is a million times a million? I taught him to count to a trillion when he asked that question. Then he wanted to count to infinity, convinced that if we could count to a trillion, we could count to infinity. I held out my hands palms inward to show him what a trillion might look like and then moved my one hand farther apart to tell him that no matter how far we counted, infinity was just a little farther on.

The zero question is a bit harder. I think it has to wait until you have taught them multi place decimals. Intuitively, it isn't so much that you can't divide by zero as that the answer is essentially the same no matter what number you divide zero into. As the decimal divisor approaches zero, the answer approaches infinity no matter the numerator.


My daughter is 4 and was surprised to know yesterday that she knows how to count and she showed me how- exactly the way you describe it. We sometimes under estimate the abilities of little children! :)


My son is also 4 years old. We have been home schooling for about 2 months. I bought a base ten blue math set. I have a basket of 10 ones, a basket of 10 Tens, A basket of 10 Hundreds, and only three Thousands cubes. After they can count 10 Ones to you.....I will take the basket of 10 tens and have him count in tens to me. At first he will try to count them as 1, 2, 3, but I stop him and say 10, 20, 30..... So he has learned from that excersice to count in 10's.
I also play a game that involves using 10 of the ONES blocks. I count them and lay them out in front of us. He faces me (By the way). We started out by having him grab how ever many of those 10 ONES so he may grab 3. Then when he says ready I open my eyes and count how many I see. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.......Then I use my fingers and i continue the count holding up fingers. ...8, 9, 10 (Having 3 fingers up) I say you must have 3).

Today we started something new..... If I have 5 on the floor then He must have 5 in his hand. He likes to trick me. because 5+5 is always 10. I am working thru different facts that add up to 10 such as .....7+3, 3+7, 5+5, etc. He really caught onto those combinations. I will introduce others such as 8+2 after a few days. He was having fun and laughing. Which makes if fun for me!

The comments to this entry are closed.

About This Site

  • Copyright Notice
    We had a little problem with a new site that published our material as though it was theirs omitting only the links. All items on this blog copyright a watcher on the date published. Fair use exerpting is authorized and encouraged with links back to the original essay.
  • email address
    Avoiding the harvesters: We do have a tipline, so that's a start. At thecoloradoindex, of course, followed by the typical dot com. Sorry to be cryptic, but we've already been bit by spam city and our address only appeared on the net once.
  • Hints and Rules
    One goal of this site is to help Republicans write essays that are as effective as possible, and by that we mean essays have search engine sticking power. Bloggers may wish to look at the Hints and Rules category from time to time.
  • TheColoradoIndex
    A site that promotes other Colorado Republican writers with links. The site also publishes essays that Democrats and their media fans might find unfriendly, but fair. Sometimes substantially identical essays will be written about individual Democrats who participated in a group event. The purpose is not to bore readers but to have individualized searchable essays that will call as much attention to that one individual's actions against the public interest as possible.