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Talking Mathematically Helps Children Learn Maths Naturally
by Margaret Etherton, co-author of Learning Maths Naturally
"You make me eat millions of noodles, sixteen pieces of meat and twelve celeries."
My son made this mathematical statement at the ripe age of four years! Some of his other remarks were similarly challenging and mathematical:
While his grammar is not perfect and his maths is exaggerated these statements demonstrate a beginning awareness of such concepts as reasoning, shapes, spatial relations, time, the comparison of size, volume ane weight, and ordering of numbers.
In exploring his understanding of the world my son was using the language he has heard from others and beginning to construct his own version of mathematical concepts.
This is important aspect of a child's language development can be recognised, used and encouraged by the home-schooling parent to develop mathematical comprehension.
The more language children are exposed to the better they will be able to understand the Maths used in the world. They need good models of mathematical language to think mathematically and to be able to later do symbolic 'pen and paper' Maths. If you hear your child using mathematical expressions, even if they are nonsensical or ungrammatical, recognise them and reflect back what the child is trying to express.
By encouraging children to use mathematical language in appropriate situations the maths becomes real, relevant and meaningful to them.
Examples of reflective mathematical language:
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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