One of my first memories after bringing my older son home from the hospital is reading to him. I picked out a book, snuggled him in a blanket and read Goodnight Gorilla. The book became a favorite. We took it everywhere and went through several copies. He still loves that book and now has it memorized and "reads" it to his little brother.
Math can have this same effect on children if we start at a young age and include math in everyday life just as we do with reading. This is not hard or something we should feel pressured to do. A little bit goes a long way and just like reading a favorite book, children begin to notice different things about counting and want to share their knowledge with you.
Throughout this blog, I have written about my experiences with my older son learning finger patterns and counting. My younger son has been exposed to but not pushed in any way to use my "Fire Away" method at an even earlier age. I have been watching him through different eyes, seeing how much he has picked up from listening to his big brother count, talk about numbers, and seeing fingers used to show numbers. Over the next few months, I am going to keep a blog-journal about how I see my two-year-old son, who as you will see is not really talking but has a wonderful toddler vocabulary, exploring math. It should be interesting.
The Fire Has Started: Nap Time Journal Entry 1
November 21, 2009
Ahh…nap time: a parent’s little slice of sanity. I was preparing my two-year-old for nap, but he wanted a "few" more minutes to play. When I came back into his room, he had found a horde of rocks that he stashed in a truck. He had them all lined up in a nice row and was pointing to each rock. Before I scooped him up and put him in his bed, I stopped and listened to what he was saying. He was pointing to each rock and counting them. The first few counts I could really understand. He was so excited to be able to name the rocks with a number word attached to it. He started with, "Mama, one, two, deee!" He kept repeating the same sequence on all the rocks. I sat down with him and helped him count the rocks, drop them in his dump truck and finally put the rocks to sleep. I guess the rocks are a now a permanent fixture in the toy collection. I am glad that we invested in xeroscaping!