Such a simple book, and such fun and math learning while reading it. At the same time my oldest can practice her beginning reading skills with it (though she could have read it all, I helped after the first pages that were only just counting when we came to the sets, to make it more fluid for the math to pop up), she was also learning without pain the basis of multiplication with the book, it is a good visual. She noticed the groups that can form 12, and verbally said three groups of four, four groups of three, or six times two cherries make 12. We are not formally learning multiplication but I appreciate that living math has opened my horizons to look for math in our Bible study, in books, in tales, in life, and to always be on the watch for books and games that foster or incite children to think about numbers, fractions, counting, grouping, solving problems, etc. This book is very easy, it is just pictures of one gummy bear, two, three, etc, and then it has twelve and different grouping, it is written in rhyming form, and it was perfect for my six year old. My four year old liked listening to it and looking at the pictures and numbers. Do not be discouraged if you read the book or a similar one and your child just listens to it, if you have books like this, read them from time to time and you may get deeper responses to it every time.
Then we had one of those “silly” workbooks you buy at the grocery store, with Arthur (which we do not watch but they know about), and simple fill in the blank activities, and again, she liked the independence of reading and writing the numbers in the jerseys of Arthur and his team. I do believe one can use worksheets, as long as they are not your primary source of teaching, and as long as the child is not burned with worksheet after worksheet for everything every time.
Many are scared about having big gaps or children not making grade level progress when they follow this “living math” approach. Personally, I like having MEP because every year I can look at the skills being taught, and because I get peace of mind following a program, even if we follow it “my way”. For example, my daughter is an old Kindergartener, she is six already but she will not be on Ambleside Year 1 until next fall. We are at the middle of MEP year 1, and I do not feel the rush to have to do a lesson from it every time we do math. I can wing it and include these other math books, games, and activities, and I know she is moving forward fine.
For young children, and older too, how do you approach math? Do you think they need to be working at a certain level at a certain age? Or are you happy if wherever they are they get it fine and enjoy it for the most part? Are you scared about leaving the more formal worksheet practice from the curriculum you use and to do some more “living math”? Or have you seen success whenever you have tackled things in a more innovative and less orthodox manner? Remember that not being slaved to a curriculum is a leisure we have at our disposition because we homeschool 🙂