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.