Take a look at this picture.
It looks like just a row of coins, right?
This photo is proof that my five year old just had a major breakthrough on something we have been working with for a very long time.
Here is the background: Little Guy knows his numbers. He can repeat them all correctly, no problem. He can recognize them, no problem, in order or out of order. That part’s easy.
Where he has struggled is in associating the concept of the numbers with tangible objects. He could count out loud, but not in association with an actual number of items, if that makes sense.
As I was telling a good friend last night, I was a little surprised initially by Oak Meadow’s slow approach to the numbers. The curriculum insists that it is vital for the student to understand the intrinsic essence, or quality, of each number, even if they already “know” them. In order to make this possible, the curriculum only introduces one number every two weeks. Each two weeks is filled with activities pertaining to the current number….object groups, beeswax modelling, collages, and so on. It is lovely, but when I first was reading over the curriculum, I honestly thought it moved way too slow. I mean, after all, Little Guy already knew all his numbers.
But there was that sticky not-able-to-make-them-concrete problem. So instead of following the voice in my head that said, “Speed up! He doesn’t need two weeks for each number! Are you kidding??”, I decided to follow the curriculum and do ALL the activities for each number.
That’s what we’ve done.
And this is what happened Saturday. I was sitting in the living room nursing Baby V, and Little Guy was sitting at the kitchen table playing with his art supplies and a pile of coins that we had used the day before for a math project. He was being very quiet and focused. Suddenly, I heard his voice pipe up…”Eight…nine….”
I looked over, and he was laying down coins as he said the numbers. I ran over (Baby V may not have appreciated being suddenly jerked off my breast, but hey…) just in time to hear him say “Ten!” and see him lay down the coordinating coin.
I counted, and sure enough, there were ten coins, in a neat row. He had just counted out ten objects on his own…correctly…and associated the spoken numbers with the correct objects.
I asked him, “How many pennies do you have?”
And he confidently answered, “Ten pennies!!”
I started jumping up and down. Literally. And then I grabbed the camera and captured the proof.
So…this may not sound like a big deal to you if this comes naturally to your child. But this was a HUGE deal for us. Add that to the fact that he would not stop learning new words to spell all week last week…and I have to say my son is doing just fine.
More than fine. He is doing wonderful.