Touchmath

Last year, we used timberdoodle preschool curriculum. I chose it because it looked engaging and was mostly hands on and interactive without a lot of seat work. The farmland math component was given very high ratings by parents who had used it and said their kids loved it and thrived. The companion to farmland math was a mathematical reasoning work book that the parent and child work through together. I knew that wasn’t going to be a hit but I got it anyway because I wanted to make sure we touched on all the major concepts, even if it meant using the book as our guide. 

One month in, I knew farmland math was not going to work for us. Snowflake does not think like other kids; I’m not able to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes his thinking unique but having taught preschool and kindergarten in classroom settings, I can tell you he thinks and learns differently. He loves to pretend and act things out, so I thought the manipulative based story problems would be a great fit. However, I neglected to realize 2 things. First, he has to be in charge of pretend play. He was not willing to play along if I was in charge. We tried several different approaches but nothing worked and it was a constant power struggle. Second, the story problem format was too complex for him. I now know this is because he has a language delay (he struggles to understand concepts he should be able to because his understanding of the language is delayed). He is now in speech therapy which also works on the language issues and we are already noticing some improvements in this area. I scrapped farmland math around Christmas time and worked with him on numbers, counting, position words and other math concepts in other ways. We slowly worked our way through the work book, but again the language barrier held him back, so we improvised. 

When I started looking at curriculum for pre-k, I knew I needed something concrete, flexible, and active. I looked at several curriculums before deciding on touchmath. The downfall of touchmath is its expensive. However, I’m creative and not afraid to DIY, so doing that saved us a couple hundred dollars. I made the touch numerals, number cards, and number poster. I purchased the student/teacher books ($199.00 for preprinted; $159.00 for the digital copies which you have to then print) and touch shapes ($16.99). We skipped the computer portion of the program because I didn’t feel it necessary at the pre-k/kindergarten level. 


While technically in pre-k, and though behind in his understanding of some concepts; overall, Snowflake is ready for the kindergarten level in math. I will go slow and review areas that are a struggle for him but I didn’t feel the need, nor did I feel it was appropriate, to hold him back in the areas in which he is excelling. Each day will consist of hands-on activities using the touch point numerals, touch shapes, or number cards and 2-4 short and easy worksheets to demonstrate understanding of the concepts. Average time spent per day will be 20-30 minutes (mostly depending on his attention and focus). 
The unique thing about touchmath is that there are dots on each number that correspond to the value of that number. It encourages counting and is a simple way to introduce addition and subtraction concepts. We’ve already played with the numerals and he really seems to enjoy them. I’m hoping this will be a better fit for him and his unique learning style. 

Spring Time Update 

We are chipping away at the materials for preschool. Some days I don’t think he’s learning anything (today was one of those days), then all of a sudden he amazes me with what he knows (this happened yesterday). We will be continuing our 2+ morning a week school schedule through the summer. He lost a lot during our 2 week vacation and it took him almost a month to catch back up. He doesn’t know any different and it adds structure to our week, while still being flexible, so we will continue on. 

I’ve decided on the curriculum for the fall and I’m excited to dig in and start planning. I’m taking on a bit more of that planning role this coming year vs the mostly pre-planned curriculum we used this year. Soon I’ll give a tour of our new stuff but for now, here’s a look at some of the things we are currently doing. 

As I said above, yesterday he surprised me. After doing a letter identification activity, I decided to try a phonics activity. I put 5 letters in front of him and asked him to point to the one that made the “p-p-p sound as in pig”. He got it correct! I took the p out and replaced it with another letter. We did this for 10 letters (p, c, a, b, j, l, m, t, s, & x). He got 9/10 right!! (The only one he got wrong was x, which is a hard one. He pointed to s…so in a way he got that one right, too.) I’m now even more confident the reading curriculum I chose for next year is going to be the right fit. 

Here are some other things we are working on: 

Easter Egg upper/lower case letter match.

Day & Night Thinking puzzle (our first outside school time in 2017)

Wedgits Thinking puzzle (I following ‘structions!)

Learn and draw animals using finger tip crayons

Lowercase Alphabet search with do a dot markers

Do a dot letters

Kumon cutting skills (for as hard as it is for him to write, his cutting skills are not lacking!)


We also have a new addition to our homeschool room for the next 3ish weeks. Stay tuned for our butterfly adventures! 

Math 

So much for my more frequent posts to introduce our curriculum… 🙄 In my defense, I’m now working a part-time job from home that’s taking up what little free-time I had. I’m loving it but it leaves little time for anything else. Hopefully, I’ll get through talking about this year’s curriculum before the school year is over. 😉 I’ve got time as we are going to be schooling year-round for the next couple of years. I’ve noticed that anytime eve had a break of a week or more, Snowflake loses a lot of what he’s learned. Since we are currently only “doing school” 2-3 mornings a week for 30-60 minutes, we’ll easily be able to keep this schedule through the summer. 

On to math… One of Snowflake’s favorite subjects. He can count to 20, identify numbers to 10, create AB and ABC patterns, identifies all shapes and colors, and understands many position words. We are currently working on counting higher than 20, skip counting by 2s, identifying numbers higher than 10, creating other patterns, and anything else he shows interest in. Below are some of the activities that help him learn math concepts: 

Melissa and Doug clock: teaches numbers, shapes, and how to tell time. (Right now we are working on understanding the difference between the short hand and the long hand.)

Number Cookie Cutters: in addition to helping develop fine motor skills, we use these cookie cutters for math (and language arts). We cut out numbers, create double digit numbers, sequence numbers and eventually, we will move to doing simple addition and subtraction problems with play dough numbers. 

Melissa and Doug Bead Sequencing Set: this helps with following and creating patterns.

 

Melissa and Doug Shapes and Number Beads: another activity to help with patterns and numbers. 

Melissa and Doug Magnetic Pattern Blocks: helps identify shapes, position words, and spatial awareness. 

Montessori Number Work (timberdoodle) and Hape Wooden Numbers: we use these to practice number recognition, sequencing, tracing, counting… 

Farmland Math: covers all math skills in a 36 week guided outline. (I thought this would be a favorite but we both loathe it…we do try to do it a couple times a month…)

Homemade Velcro Popsicle Stick Shapes: a Pinterest idea. 😉 He loves creating and naming different shapes. 


Trail Mix and Match: (timberdoodle) patterns, sorting, following directions… 


Finally, every day we start with calendar time: we cover everything from counting to days/months, identifying numbers, and writing numbers. 

So that’s our math curriculum for 3 year old preschool, in a nutshell. I’m happy with how he’s progressing and look forward to watching him continue to learn and grow. 😊