We have to accept it, math is part of our daily lives, and since we are informally homeschooling our son, I need to find ways of teaching him math the fun and easy way. Here’s some of the practical and cost-effective ways I’m doing it.
- Calendar – we use our table calendar in teaching him number recognition and it’s not limited to one to ten, but it can be extended up to 31. Added cost? Zero. Calendars are mostly given as corporate gifts. Even if you will buy one, it would cost you less than a 100 pesos.
- TV – How can TV be a source of math learning? (except for educational shows)? We are using the TV (its volume and channel setting) as a learning tool for counting, actually counting up and even counting down. We asked our son to reduce or increase the volume of the TV set, and while he’s pressing the remote control, feeling like an adult – in charged!, we are counting up or down with him. Same with changing channels. Added cost? Again Zero. Unless there’s no TV set in the house. 😉
- Cookie Cutter – Since I’m an aspiring chef, I have a lot of cookie cutters, a 100 of them. But you don’t need to have that much in order to give your child a head start in math, you just need a couple of the basics, circle, square, rectangle, triangle. And you don’t need fancy cookie recipe and a sophisticated oven. You just need a pancake mix and a pan. Cook the pancake as per package instruction, put one cooked pancake in a plate and ask you toddler to cut the pancake with the cookie cutter. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to do it. As he is cutting the pancake you can start describing the shape of his choice. You can also review those shapes while enjoying the pancake. Cost of the pancake is just 26 pesos per 200 grams, add other ingredients, it might cost you around 50 pesos for this exercise… so cheap for the learning experience it could give you both.
- Rice and measuring cup – this is one of the most brilliant we’ve been practicing. I made my son in charge of measuring the rice. Every morning, I will ask him he likes to measure the rice (so that it cannot be categorized as child abuse, hehe), he always says YES! And I will give him the measuring cup and allow him to fill it up with rice up to the brim. Of course he would play with those rice grains, what I do is to ask him every now and then if the cup is already full… In that way, I can show him the concept of full and empty, sometimes I even extend it to introduction of fractions, ask him to measure half cup. Added Cost? Zero again. Just plain fun and less chore for me.