Sunday, February 2, 2014

How We're Learning About Money

     I mentioned in my recent post that we've been starting up some "homeschool preschool". In case you didn't read it I'll say it again. We're super laid back right now. Compulsory age in our state is 5 years so I didn't have any real plans to do real focused work until then (September 2015 for the regular school schedule). A lot of what is involved in preschool and even kindergarten are things we do right now anyway.

     However, I'm not taking classes this semester so I have that time to spend doing other things so we've been doing a little bit more here and there. Our library is my favorite resource. It's close. It's free. We can get as much material there in a month without paying a dime compared to what you could get in a typical year-long curriculum.

     I really like the Pebble Plus books. They cover so many subjects and they are full of vivid pictures and are never to wordy. I've also discovered the money and math books by Rebecca Wingard-Nelson. These are very similar to the Pebble Plus books. Lots of pictures and easy-to-read bold font. The others weren't available when we made our trip so we went ahead and got this. You can find them on Amazon here. They are available in paperback or for Kindle!

     This one in particular is a little beyond my kiddos (rated for 6 years old or first grade) but they seem to be enjoying it nonetheless. We're also working on counting to 100 with Bitty Bug (almost 4) and to 20 with Sweet Pea (2). Doing it at the same time makes things easier. Some people like to use cheerios or fruit loops or crackers to practice counting but . . . my two seem to be a little distracted by that! Coins work well. If you don't have any change laying around a trip to the bank is a perfect opportunity to teach them what a bank is and all that too!

     We've been doing a few different things to learn. I try to keep it interesting because I know when I was a kid I got easily distracted when things were monotonous. Learning really doesn't have to be that way so I avoid that when I can.

Counting Together
It's as simple as it sounds. We count together! Either I start and they follow or we take turns with evens and odds. At rest time, I have them close their eyes and count with me. They have to keep them closed if they want me to keep counting. It works surprisingly well to help them settle down. If I were to have them count sheep they'd probably try to discuss the life story of the sheep and pretend their hands were sheep and tell me about the sheep sleeping in the floor and so on.

Making play-doh numbers
This is simple and fun. You can form numbers by rolling the dough and shaping it OR use a knife or cookie cutters to cut out the numbers. It helps littles to learn the shapes of each number by manipulating the dough. It is also helpful for getting those double-digits (or higher) down since you can put two or more numbers side by side. This works great for the alphabet too!

For older ones: Use this for learning place value (hundreds, tens and ones). Use a different color for each place value. Give them the number and have them make the right digit with each color.

Easy example: One-Hundred Twenty-Three.

Learning about the coins
Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters! We aren't just learning the denominations. We're also learning how many of each make one dollar. I actually had to brush up on my knowledge (blushing over here) so I could properly inform my almost 4 year old when she asked "Who's that?" and "What's it made of?". Good grief. We used the I Can Count Money book to match our coins to the pictures.

(They kept asking for the bills and saying "and then we can just keep them". Ha! Smart girls. Didn't happen.)

This combines counting with the coins. We had a little ziploc with our spare change waiting to go to the bank in the junk drawer. We just used those. We sorted all the like coins into piles, made them into stacks (great for those fine motor skills!), and then we counted how many we had.

Doing things like this is a lot more fun and a whole lot easier than just counting pictures on a page in a book. It only took a couple days of these little activities for BOTH of them to really get the hang of it. Actually adding coins together and counting is a smidgen beyond them, of course. When the time comes though all of this will help, I think!

   I'd love to hear other ideas! Sometime I'm going to buy a bag of candy and have them sort the candies into muffin pans. (I'll post about it when I do!) Maybe some pink MnMs to keep things relevant. ;)

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