Math - Is it enough?

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
In Light of Eternity
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Math - Is it enough?

Unread post by In Light of Eternity »

CharleneHoell wrote:I haven't posted in awhile, but have sooo enjoyed learning more and gleaning lots from those who have used MFW for quite some time.

OK...we are switching to MFW in the fall. I will have one in MFWK and wondered if anyone supplemented other math with this. I know it is an all inclusive curriculum, but I was not sure if the math was enough?

Blessings to all, Charlene :)
Hello Charlene,

We're in week 4 of MFW K and I've read through the entire TM so I have a feeling for math in MFWK. I'm supplementing math a little because ds is proficient at recognizing numbers, counting to 100, etc. But...I'm only doing oral or quick craft type of things. No other curriculum.

For example, we spent a few minutes each day "making 10." I'd get 10 manipulatives, make a pile of 3 and a pile of 7 and ask him how many in each pile. This lasts about 4 minutes. The next week I'd get them out, make two piles, cover one pile with my hand, and ask him how many were under my hand. We'd only go through each iteration (1+9, 2+8, 3+7, 4+6, 5+5, 6+4, 7+3, 8+2, 9+1) one time and then be done. Now that he's comfortable with all the factors of 10, we're making a little flip book on Adding 1. Then we'll do Adding 2. (He also gets cutting practice and handwriting practice when he write the answer!)

Of course, we point out math in everyday life all the time so it's more of a math-by-osmosis curriculum. Dh is a math teacher and doesn't want me doing any more than this right now. (I'm the kind that would jump into an earlybird curriculum.) He wants ds to be comfortable with numbers and enjoy math-related activities.

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Keep math in K informal

Unread post by Poohbee »

Hi Charlene and everyone!

I'm pretty new to the board. Well, I've read the posts quite a bit, but I've only posted one other the Kindergarten area. I've loved reading everyone's posts and finding out what people are doing with the MFW curriculum! This is my first year homeschooling, and I'm so glad God lead me to choose MFW. I love it!

We're almost finished with MFWK, so I thought I'd put in my 2 cents worth on the K math question. I actually did supplement just a little this year, but not much. Well, actually, I did what the MFW TM recommended, but I just did it a bit sooner. In one of the later lessons, the TM recommends beginning work on adding and subtracting. We started this earlier in the school year because my dd was ready for it. I have a very simple addition workbook I have supplemented just now and then to give her some extra practice with it, because she is a "mental math" kind of person...would rather figure it out in her head before trying to use manipulatives. Before I introduced the workbook, though, I used some small toy animals we have to do addition and subtraction problems. We did this quite a few times before going to the pencil & paper problems.

Other than that, we just followed the suggestions in the manual. My dd really loved the math page, in which she picked a number and drew that many things, even though it was very easy for her. She loved the creative and drawing aspects of it, though. Also, my dd loved the Cuisenaire rods alphabet book activities. She didn't like it at first, but has really enjoyed it as the year as gone on. And its nice, because my 2-year-old plays with the rods while my 5-year-old is doing the activity. It has been a great problem solving tool for her.

Also, I am working on a Master's degree right now, and I am doing research on the best way to teach math to preschool, K, and 1st graders. In my research, I've discovered that it is highly recommended to keep math instruction informal in the early years (ages 3-6), meaning that you use everyday experiences to help kids see math in the world around them rather than use direct instruction of mathematical concepts. This is just what MFW informal approach to math in K and 1st, very hands-on and "real life" with some worksheets to supplement now and then.

So, I'd recommend sticking with math as it is in MFWK and supplement a bit only if it seems your child is ready for it and needs it.

Just my 2 cents worth.

wife to Vince (almost 8 years)
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Unread post by Ariasarias »

We did K last year. I actually used another math instead, thinking that what was offered was too simple.

But looking back, I think what MFW offers is very good for K. It's very hands on, which is what a 5 year old needs. I could actually see my next daughter doing math the way the TM suggests. You may need to evaluate where your child is at with the goals of the math portion of K. I would say if your child is an average child for K, he would do just fine and would benefit greatly from this approach. Even if he is advanced, you would be able to adjust it perfectly for his abilities. All this to say, that it is enough!! :)

I also know that in the archives there is a post about the effectiveness of the math portions of both K and 1st.
[ ]
Nicole :)
Nicole, wife to Claudio since 1996, and mom to dd (2000), dd (2003), dd (2005), and ds (2009).

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi Charlene ~

I'm finishing up MFWK with my daughter, and we have not supplemented. I did extra workbooks with my son when he did K (not MFW) because he was a MAJOR math-hound, but my daughter hasn't really expressed any real interest in pushing into the next level mathematically. Halle has really blossomed in the approach designed by MFW, and I'm very pleased with where she is.

However, to use one of my favorite phrases, "You the Momma!" You know your babies better than anyone. Be watchful & pray. God will lead you to something more if you find you need it. My opinion is to always start simply. You can always add.

Paige in NC
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Unread post by Mom1669 »

We are doing K this year, and I am supplementing. Not because I feel that the math in MFW is inadequate, but my son simply needs more practice, especially with writing the numbers when there is no model. I'm sure that the amount of review in MFW is just fine for others though. I'm adding what I've used since we started hsing, and it's inexpensive.
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Thanks eveyone!

Unread post by CharleneHoell »

Thanks everyone, your insights have been very helpful! I tend to be one of those moms who can overdo. I have to constantly pray that I do not push my kids farther than they are able. My ds is quite gifted in math, but each child is different and I cannot expect my other ds to be the same. That is what is great about the uniqueness of God's creation!

I believe I will stick with what the manual suggests and just take things slow!

Thanks again!

Reassure me about the K math activities

Unread post by cbollin »

MomofFive wrote:It's been a LONG time since I had a kindergartener (I currently have two highschoolers who just recently went back to PS), and DH and I are leaning toward MFW for our transition into a classical curriculum.

However, he and I are both a little concerned that the math activities may not be enough. Am I worrying over nothing? We want our children to have a strong start in mathematics, I guess I just need reassurance that the K activities are 'enough'.
Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 1:42 pm
This is what is covered in the math in K.
Math: All typical kindergarten goals are taught including
counting objects,
writing numerals,
preparing and understanding charts and graphs,
ordinal numbers,
fractions (whole/half),
and an introduction to addition and subtraction

It is done without a bunch of workbooks, but taught more concretely with hands on objects.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:36 am
The math in MFW K -- quick and easy and covers all of those little math things that we sometimes overlook or that all 5 year olds need more practice with (such as coins, place value understanding, etc. day/weather). It takes such little time to do and was an easy to start the K school day routine for us even though she knew her numbers and could count and do early adding. It was so much like what the K class at my church's elementary was doing that we did it too, and it had the benefit of setting a start time to the school day.

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Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 2:22 pm

Hi MoF :) My dd and I are currently in Lesson 21 of MFWK, and I highly recommend it! We have had a wonderful time this year! The math has been just right - usually dd thinks we are playing, even when I say it's math :) It's fun!

We have done the 100 chart and used counting and bundling popcicle sticks with that. Each unit, we focus on a number - learning to write it and drawing that number of objects. We are currently working with coins (started a little over mid-way through) looking at pennies, nickels and dimes. We are also doing addition and subtraction with items - not focusing on equations - using objects like fruit or pieces of pop tart or rocks or anything else we can :) We have done calendar work together... All of these things are written into the curriculum - everything Crystal's post lists :)

I have added a few math games of our own design, mostly dd's ideas.
At the risk of repeating myself, I just want to say again how MUCH we have enjoyed this year :)
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Unread post by dani »

Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 2:39 pm

After using MFW k, and then the workbook that was recommended for first grade, I was a little nervous about moving my second grader into a more formal math program, I thought he would be really behind.

He was not, and I don't think math is his strong point either. He was a tiny bit behind in memorized facts, but he caught up very quickly.

I think all the hands on activities helped him to understand math and what it is all about. Math can be hard for kids (and mommys too) but I really do think that the math blocks, tanagrams and using beans and straws etc to visualize the concept were a real help in laying down the foundations. We still bring out the manipulatives to help explain a harder concept sometimes. Hope that helps!
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Unread post by RachelT »

Posted: Mon May 07, 2007 2:51 pm

Hello! We are in week 24 of MFWK and I wanted to chime in on the math topic. My children have learned a lot from the calendar work, 100's chart and hands-on math in MFWK. I am sure it is enough for K, but if you are concerned (my dh was) you could probably add in a K level workbook, too, especially if your K'er likes seatwork or you need a little something extra. We added a bit and I went very slowly with it during the first half of the year (2-3 lessons a week) while we were doing our 100 chart and the calendar work was still new. Then, I was able to work it in almost daily for the second half of our year.

I think it will depend on your child. The informal math of MFWK is still very important, but it combines well, I think. If it would be a hardship to buy additional math, I don't think it's neccessary, but if you want additional math, it might work. That's my 2 cents, anyway. I am sure that others might say differently.

Good luck with your decision!
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Unread post by MomofFive »

Posted: Tue May 08, 2007 2:25 am

Thank you all, I feel MUCH better now.
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Confession time

Unread post by mommysweird »

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:03 pm

I started this year with my 5.5yo ds using MFWK. After about 8 weeks I thought it was (here's the confession) "too light" in math. So I added Abeka math (he had been exposed to it previously in pre-school) and then eventually dropped MFWK altogether. Recently, I have noticed that he doesn't recognize certain numbers and we should have spent more time on the basics math-wise.

After Christmas, I'm going to pick MFWK back up and see where we're at with it.

Suggestion for Kindergarten math

Unread post by cbollin »

shawnaandmatt wrote:Hi all! We are fairly new to homeschooling and new to MFW. We are just wrapping up our Creation unit and I am loving it all so far (and so are the kids)!! BTW we have used many of the ideas from the message boards.... thank you for all your suggestions!!!

My son will be 6 in Oct and we did do some schooling last year just no curriculum. I am not sure about what I should do with his math. He can count and recognize his numbers to 100. He is good with simple sequencing, charts, shapes,telling the hour and half hour, etc. I am excited about using the calendar each day - that will be something new for him! I have seen some posts with suggestions to take it easy and enjoy this year (although I don't think that will be enough for him), I have seen others say to purchase 1st grade and use the math from there, and still others who go and purchase another curriculum. We will still be doing all the math in the Kindergarten lessons because I am also doing this with my daughter. So my son will still be sitting in on all that is in the K curriculum.

Thanks for your help and suggestions!
E (6 in Oct) MFW K
N (4) MFW K
E (18mths) hopefully napping :)
I'm all for not rushing too far too fast balanced with not letting stuff slide.

so, you don't have to do all of these today or each time in order to beef it up. but he is turning 6, so he might be ready for a bit more. that's ok.

*make sure you do the place value stuff (that's the sticks and bundles with the 100 chart). don't skip place value understanding of groups of tens and groups of units/ones. It is "simple" to do the activity, but important to do it.

*even if they can already count, let them have time to write the numerals, and even some copywork once in a while with learning to spell the words (zero, one, two.... ten) don't have to practice more than that. and I don't know if it is a good idea to do that or not.

*Let him make the 100 chart (and it can be earlier than one per day). practice counting by 2's, 5's, 10's. Now: do that in some real life stuff: set the table and ask real life word problems. There are 5 of us in the family. we have 2 plates out. how many more do we need) Let's count socks in the laundry pile by 2's. Let's count how many fingers in the family (just assume they have 5 on each hand even if you know someone who might have only 4, or might have an extra digit due to medical things.... just assume 5). 10's: count dimes.

this way you are working on mental math techniques already and some other concepts but without worksheets.

*take a look at the end of unit 16 in the activities section. There's a coin cup activity. I even took it a step further: put the coins on the completed 100 chart.

*now, for some fun playing with equations? turn to end of unit 20: you'll see some ideas for new activities.

*you can consider a simple grade K workbook if he really likes those things. go to walmart/target kind of store and get something there that is inexpensive and fun.

Take a look on the Kindy Ideas forum in math.. here

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Re: Suggestion for Kindergarten math

Unread post by 4Truth »

I would also do a lot with the science. Science and math go hand in hand as far as thinking and logic skills, and the science in MFW K is outstanding. Lots of great activities and books in there.

Play board games... get some cool Logic puzzles and books that he might like to "play" with.... Do you have the Cuisinaire Rods Alphabet book/set that's in the K Deluxe package? There are a lot of great ideas in there, too.

Crystal mentioned counting by 2's, 5's, etc. If you have any math flashcards, you might use the 2's, 5's and 10's fact sets as a way to reinforce the skip counting. This is a precursor to multiplication, so while your son probably isn't ready for all *that* just yet, you can have fun playing around with it this year. Just build those readiness skills and go at his speed.

It sounds like you're going to have a fun year! :)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
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Re: Suggestion for Kindergarten math

Unread post by Alison »

It's okay if you decide to also do a math curriculum. We've chosen to do a math curriculum and take it slow. We'll do half of it this year (K) and half of it next year in 1st. It helps me stay accountable and know that I'm doing small steps daily with my son. We focus on the manipulatives so that it's not overwhelming and it stays hands on and fun. We do the worksheets too, but I don't stress out about it.
One of the main reasons we've chosen to homeschool is so that we can do what's best for our children and our family.
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MFW K Maths

Unread post by jasntas »

NicoleJ wrote:Hi! Can someone give me some examples of the math that the K program has? I am trying to be brave and not order any math books for my K'er. What will they be doing for math in K? Thanks!! Nicole
Well, at first the math won't seem much like math because it's pretty subtle. It starts with the calendar, number of the day and 1 stick or bean per day to put in a cup. And once a week the child practices writing the number of the week and draws or uses stickers, stamps, or whatever, of that # of items. After each 10 days, if using sticks, you rubber band the sticks, if using beans, you glue the beans to a stick, and start counting by 10's. About 1/2 way through the year, you start a simple addition book from Wal Mart, the Dollar Store, etc. I'm not sure if I'm forgetting anything. I know this doesn't seem like much but it really is more than you know. If you read the other posts on how well they do later on, you'll see it's more than enough.

I did add a little here and there. For instance, my dd started making up her own math problems to add up to the # of the week. But that was her choice. She can also count by 2's up to about 16. She now loves math and has been enjoying the 1st math as well. She can count by 10's to 100, understands the concept of calendars and passing time, she can do simple addition, she can count past 100 and (this one was a biggie for me that my ds somehow totally missed in K while we were using something else) she knows all of her numbers by sight to 100 and above.

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Re: MFW K Maths

Unread post by BHelf »

Also using the calendar, you are encouraged to teach colors, shapes, and patterns during the year. I am only just beginning K but the manual states that all K math skills are taught throughout the year--they are integrated within the lessons. They'll learn counting, writing #'s, charts and graphs, comparing, classifying, sequencing, introduced to ordinal #'s, fractions, clocks, coins, addition and subtraction.

It is also encouraged that you reinforce these skills through everyday activities--like setting the table, cooking, at the grocery store, etc. I believe integrating math like this into our everyday lives provides a firm foundation on how useful math really is and they learn that math isn't just a sheet of problems from a book but something that they will actually use in life. I think the biggest thing for me to realize since I started homeschooling is that math doesn't have to be tons of problems everyday for it to be effective. Especially at the K level, it needs to be more about hands on activities that teach the concepts in a way that is fun and interesting and sets the bar for math to not be a dreaded subject later in school. Just one opinion. ;)

Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months

Re: MFW K Maths

Unread post by cbollin »

NicoleJ wrote:Wow! They sound really great! I am getting excited about MFW K! THe workbook that we are supposed to buy - do they give a specific title, or can you buy anyone that you like (I would be leaning towards Singapore EB). :)
The idea of optionally adding in a math workbook starts later in the K year around unit #21. It can be a simple K level workbook to review and reinforce concepts, and just have pre printed simple addition/subtraction practice. You can use a non curriculum workbook (just store bought fun books) or make your own sheets, or use a fancier workbook if you wish. There is no specific one recommended. I went with a hands on worksheet. Here is a link to a picture ... 169#p47783

I also got inexpensive books from local stores that just said K math. I was using them as supplemental work, so I didn't worry about it being a "homeschool" curriculum book.

Other ideas for math will be found in the activities sections of the program. One example is seen on the sample lesson with the making of clocks and telling time. Then, you don't have to use a workbook for that. You can use the clocks in your house. Other ideas will come from science activities and making charts and graphs and reading them. Some of the K math will involve a coin cup. That starts after you finish the 100 chart. You'll use real objects to teach math.

Other ideas from various of us can be found on the Math Ideas thread on the K forum

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K math - Many skills!

Unread post by tangomoon »

I love the program so far, but had been hit by some of the "this isn't taking long, how can she be learning much" jitters in regards to math. DH and I were talking about how the school year was going so far, and I was explaining what we do with the 100s chart & sticks, the calendar, and incorporating "real life" math practice. He spent 12 years as a 1st grade teacher, and quickly put my worries to rest by rattling off a list of the different skills that we're accomplishing in those (relatively short time spent) activities, some of which his 1st graders still struggled to master. It made me feel a lot better to know that he is very comfortable with the level of learning that is going on there, even if there aren't frequent worksheets to see.


Just thought I'd share in case anyone else was having similar worries!
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Re: K math - Many skills!

Unread post by tangomoon »

I tutor math online, and so often I work with students who can solve formulas, but have NO IDEA how to solve a real life application problem. Making math a part of real life is such a good suggestion in the K manual ~ helping set the table, sort things, simple math at the grocery store, etc. It seems almost too simple . . . but is really effective!

I think it was in one of Ruth Beechick's books that it said to keep beginning math instruction with real life objects, since children can actually learn to work out pretty complex problems that way, and that they have to become good at being able to use real objects and picture real objects in their minds before using written numbers will make much sense. In other words, when they hear "three", they should first be able to count 3 objects, then later on have a mental picture of three objects for the symbol 3 to make sense. That was really freeing to read, and fits what I've seen in tutoring. If they don't have the real life experiences, they can't begin to picture what's happening in a problem, and really have no clue what to do. She also said that learning the notation of the numbers (writing the numbers themselves) wasn't as important as the real life skills, since children can pick up how to write the numbers and standard notation for addition,etc. fairly quickly if they already understand the concepts behind it.

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Q about the math in Kindergarten?

Unread post by asheslawson »

far above rubies wrote:When I used the K program years ago, we tried to use the Cuisennaire rods/alphabet book and my oldest dd hated it. Granted, this is my traditional/textbook child.

So when I re-bought the kit again, I decided NOT to purchase the rods/alphabet book and would just buy Mathematical Reasoning from Critical Thinking Company, but woah! I've used their materials in the past and wasn't prepared for what I was going to find. I just don't see my little princess sitting down and working through it.

Since I'm ditching all the other stuff for the other children and for the first time, following all of MFW's suggestions, at least to give them a try for the first semester, I also wondered about math. My Ker is NOT academically inclined as her big sis. She's much more creative, artistic, hands-on, wiggly, etc. As I flipped through the K manual again, I realized this is going to be perfect for her. :) We used the preschool materials for her and she LOVED that as well, whereas my oldest wanted to do nothing but workbooks. IOW, two totally different little girls.

Is there enough math practice in the basic package? Should I go back and purchase the rods/alphabet book? DH may have to disown me though with all my different orders from MFW and added shipping. LOL Thanks :)
We just finished MFW K & she played with the rods here & there. We just really didn't use those as much as I thought we would. However - with the simple math taught in the K program - she is doing really well. She seems to be absorbing math while listening to me help her older brother. Having never done a math worksheet or book yet - she is walking up to me & telling me that she just realized that 9 & 5 make 14 if you put them together, etc. etc. I can't believe some of the numbers she is adding. I was impressed with how well the simple math in K worked for her. The only thing I did supplement was that I did let her play with dominoes here & there & found some fun printables online. They were really simple - I printed them - slid them in sheet protectors & let her 'draw' the dots on both sides of the domino & put how many dots total those equal - or how many were left if she subtracted. She loved that - and re-worked them over & over with her mini dry erase game. She is also VERY wiggly & hands on - so she seemed to enjoy the domino play.

I can't say enough good things though about MFW K....she's counting everything - eggs in the carton, cereal in her bowl. It worked for her - and she really only 'played' with the cuisenare rods - I never taught with them. They are just in a bin for her when she wants to use them. Hope that helps - ashley
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Re: Q about the math in Kindergarten?

Unread post by Millie »


I'm new here and new to MFW, but I'll share what we're doing in case it helps. We are on Lesson 7 in MFW K, doing two units a week with my 5yo dd. I have a love/hate relationship with the Cuisinaire rods and book. At first I hated it, but now I love it! In fact, I almost quit doing it after the first couple of weeks because it was so frustrating for both me and my dd. I'm so glad I didn't give up! She loves it now! Now that she understands how it works and what to do, I let her do it mostly independently, but I write in her answers and give suggestions and help when needed. Now, I see her grasping understanding on her own of many different math concepts, and that is so fun to see! Now I can see how important the Cuisinaire rods and book are in the math/critical thinking portion of the curriculum.

That said, we were already doing a pretty much full curriculum when we started MFW K, and I have quit most of the other stuff, except for about 10-15 minutes total each day. I trust that the math portion of MFW K is sufficient, but we have continued doing a math workbook because it's fun, and dd asks for it. I am pleased with what she is learning in the combination of both programs. That's what's working for us!

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Re: Q about the math in Kindergarten?

Unread post by Dusenkids »

far above rubies wrote:I'm mostly concerned as well about adding in too much, because we're doing ECC, too and I'm going to have a newborn to tend to.

But if I remember correctly, it's only a couple of pages from the book, right? Perhaps we could move that to Friday, when the other children have a light day with ECC.
The rods book has two pages per letter. What I am doing is tearing out all the pages, laminating them, and using them on light days or days when he is excited to do more. :)
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Re: Q about the math in Kindergarten?

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

Yes, there are 2 pages per letter. I took all of mine out and put them in page protectors and then into a 1" Binder. I also cut out the front and back covers and put those in the View pockets on the front and back of the binder. (I also tore out the instructions and any other pages in the book. I put those in page protectors and included them in the binder also.) Basically, I took the alphabet book and made it into a re-usable book with removable pages for ease of use. It works great. Anyway, my 5 year old does it almost independently. I help a little, but mostly, he does it. We haven't gone super in depth with it yet. I assume he will need more help when we get deeper into the actual number concepts. But, I'm hoping it will just be a few lessons before he can do it mostly on his own again. For us, it is actually good for something he can do quietly while I make dinner or whatever. :-)
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Re: Q about the math in Kindergarten?

Unread post by SonShineJewel »

I tore out the pages also. But, I made copies so that each sheet (front & back) had both pages for the same letter. Doing the same letter as the theme. .
My twins do SmartAlec PreK problem solving books. Only like 1 page per day. Takes @ 2mins.
While I'm working with one twin in SmartAlec, the other twin works on one of the Cuisenaire Activities. Then, they switch. Usually no one wants to stop, though.
You could do the sheet broken up over 4 days: 2 days for letters & 2 days for pictures.
ds8 (3rd)
ds6 (K)
& ds6 (K)
**mfwA-Z & mfwADV**
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