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ryanandsarie User
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 Posts: 3

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:24 pm Post subject: Math  kids count on fingers!?? 


This will be my first year homeschooling my kids...I am looking into math curriculum and like the MATH YOU SEE. I have been looking at a few others and when I have had the kids to math placement tests...I am seeing that BOTH kids count on their fingers! They cannot recall the facts of addition or subtraction. Can anyone give me any advice or help as to what I should do for curriculum. The MATH YOU SEE site states if the children are counting on their fingers they need to go back to that book in which they learned the facts....My son is almost 10 years old and pretty good in his math...so he would have to start all over!
THanks in advance!
Sarah 

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momo3boys User
Joined: 14 Feb 2006 Posts: 574 Location: Western Mass

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:06 pm Post subject: 


Maybe you could just supplement the math you see, add some extra worksheets and fun math problems. Make math part of their life, counting, grocery store stuff, measuring, time. Maybe that will help them catch up, you don't want him to hate math because it is boring, but you want to make sure he is learning new things too. Maybe a different program, one that uses Cuisenire rods? My son loves them. _________________ Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

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ldowns9315 User
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 Posts: 4 Location: Texas

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:53 pm Post subject: That's exactly the question I was going to ask 


Really close, anyway.
I guess my question is, when they're learning math, is it a bad thing to count on their fingers?
I know as they progress, they are going to need to learn to remember these facts and put them together without having to stop and do that, but while they're learning, aren't fingers a good "visual aid" to help understand the concept that when I add two fingers and two fingers, that's four fingers?
I'd love responses. I'm looking for opinion either way. 

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momo3boys User
Joined: 14 Feb 2006 Posts: 574 Location: Western Mass

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:58 am Post subject: 


I never thougth of that, aren't fingers just another manipulative? _________________ Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

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Ramona User
Joined: 15 Aug 2006 Posts: 418

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:56 pm Post subject: 


There are some great articles about math on this site by Bob Hazen. He talks about 6 or 7 different ways to teach math facts and my experience is that each of my children truly needed to be taught every one of those ways before they mastered their facts and could do them without using fingers.
I also read somewhere else that counting on fingers is a normal developmental stage kids go through. If a 10yo is stuck at that stage I'd think there's a hole somewhere in those 6 or 7 different ways of approaching memorizing the math facts.
I have no problem with my kids using their fingers when they're 5 and 6. In some ways the fingers are another manipulative, and in some ways they're different. (They can't be taken away from the child, for one thing.)
Ramona 

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ryanandsarie User
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 Posts: 3

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:00 pm Post subject: THANKS 


Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions! I understand math on fingers to some extent..but my 10 year old has trouble with his math because he is trying to multiply and such...We are going to work on getting our facts down!
Thanks so much! 

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ldowns9315 User
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 Posts: 4 Location: Texas

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:57 am Post subject: Thanks guys 


This has been very helpful.
Do you know where I could find any of those articles about teaching math 5 or 6 different ways?
Bob Hazen? 

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Theodore Moderator
Joined: 06 Oct 2005 Posts: 2122 Location: Missouri, US

Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:14 pm Post subject: 


We have some of Bob Hazen's articles up here:
http://www.homeschool.com/Articles/
We need to add more, though  some were set aside temporary due to the difficulty of representing certain symbols and formulas in web format. I may do an all Bob Hazen batch after I finish the current set of articles I'm working on. _________________ Homeschool Articles  Events  Support Groups 

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Ramona User
Joined: 15 Aug 2006 Posts: 418


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Moti User
Joined: 22 May 2006 Posts: 24

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:21 pm Post subject: 


Actually, there is a problem with counting on fingers, and all other manipulatives. They do create a problem in mastering skills. While manipulatives can help in understanding an idea they are not good for practicing. The child becomes dependent on the manipulatives for doing the exercise and does not develop the skill. Manipulatives also (in the practice stage, not the understanding the idea stage) reduce abstract thinking.
You can find a blog by me on my website that cites a recent study on math standards in which manipulatives are discussed.
Several parents who had the same exact problem asked me what to do and when they followed my advice they saw great and quick improvement. Basically, do not allow him to use fingers anymore. He has to develop the ability to "see" (or use his mind) to calculate. Don't try to tackle ALL the "facts" immediately. Start with addition and multiplication and get him to master one number (i.e. 2+1, 2+2..2+10, 2x1,2x2,...2x10). Only when he can answer those quickly (without hesitation) move to the next one.
Why is it important? not for its own sake really. Knowing those "facts" is important because when more complex operations and topics are learned, not knowing those facts well enough create an inability to see the "path" to the answer  the child gets stuck at the calculation stage and the problem becomes like an unbridged river. Knowing those facts provide a bridge so the rest of the path can be seen. _________________ Moti Levi
www.LearningByYourself.com 

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Miyu User
Joined: 02 Oct 2006 Posts: 41 Location: Utah

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:06 pm Post subject: 


I am a mathetician, and I still count on my fingers at times...and I did throughout school...and I have no problem at all with abstract thought.
I have mixed feelings about the whole subject. On the one hand, I see understand the arguments against it, but on the other hand, it didn't hurt me any. 

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three2camp User
Joined: 06 Oct 2006 Posts: 2

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 9:46 am Post subject: 


In regards to MathUSee, my now 10yo is completing Gamma level and we've ordered Delta. MUS did offer placement tests and many websites also offer sample lessons. The first half of MUS  Gamma had us completely bored  it revisits 2 x 2  but the second half was more challenging. Gamma is ALL multiplication, Delta is ALL division so he can go at his own pace. But, it's also confusing when coming out of public school where they're mixing it all up.
We haven't used the MUS manipulatives hardly at all  a little bit in the 100's, but otherwise they're gathering dust. The reviews and tests do revisit addition and subtraction and continue to review and build on skills. When he's ready to move on  sometimes the next day  we move on.
After we started MUS, I heard about Singapore and now I wish we had tried that one. But, he wants to stay with MUS. Singapore also has placement tests and samples you can print. 

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Moti User
Joined: 22 May 2006 Posts: 24

Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:49 am Post subject: 


Miyu wrote: 
I am a mathetician, and I still count on my fingers at times...and I did throughout school...and I have no problem at all with abstract thought.
I have mixed feelings about the whole subject. On the one hand, I see understand the arguments against it, but on the other hand, it didn't hurt me any. 
But you are a mathematician, which means you have a natural ability in math and therefore you get the abstract concepts easily. Most people are not so and for them an excessive use of manipulatives is damaging.
As you should know, a sample of 1 is not representative
And I had a brilliant Linear Algebra professor who couldn't multiply matrices bigger than 2x2 with numbers higher than 0s and 1s _________________ Moti Levi
www.LearningByYourself.com 

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groovyhsmama User
Joined: 22 Mar 2007 Posts: 24 Location: Near Charlotte, NC

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:38 pm Post subject: Re: That's exactly the question I was going to ask 


ldowns9315 wrote: 
Really close, anyway.
I guess my question is, when they're learning math, is it a bad thing to count on their fingers?
I know as they progress, they are going to need to learn to remember these facts and put them together without having to stop and do that, but while they're learning, aren't fingers a good "visual aid" to help understand the concept that when I add two fingers and two fingers, that's four fingers?
I'd love responses. I'm looking for opinion either way. 
My 4th grader(public school) still uses her fingers to count on and it makes me batty, but if she can use them and do it correctly, I'm not going to worry about it. _________________ Groovy
HSing mom to my 5yo ds 

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DollyVA User
Joined: 05 Feb 2007 Posts: 97

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:23 pm Post subject: Re: That's exactly the question I was going to ask 


groovyhsmama wrote: 
My 4th grader(public school) still uses her fingers to count on and it makes me batty, but if she can use them and do it correctly, I'm not going to worry about it. 
Well, this is an old thread but in regards to Groovy's post, I just had to pipe in! Something I noticed today about my 9 yo is that she will use her fingers to count if she's doing multiplication and needs to carry. When I mentioned it, her older brother agreed that it sometimes just helps to count it than to have to switch gears in the middle of a problem and immediately switch back. Makes sense to me!
We're also using MathUSee and, while we only rarely use the manipulatives, sometimes they help to take a concept from the abstract to the concrete. We started with Gamma at the beginning of January and have only 5 lessons left (most of it was review from school, but she now feels very confident with the program and is pleased I've already ordered the next level.) 

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