Spencer turned five last summer and in his haste to grow up immediately demanded his own “binder” full of school stuff. Spencer started his math and reading without missing a beat. It didn’t take long however, before he hit a wall. Spencer is almost too bright for his own good. ”Too fast for his own legs” so to speak. The same boy who would come up to me and ask “does three plus three equal six?” could not recognize the number seven and would often get mixed up when counting higher than 14 (“eleventeen is not a number”). TouchMath for Kindergarden was exactly what we needed to connect the dots from counting and recognizing the numbers to adding.
TouchMath is a multi-sensory approach to math for children pre-k to 2nd grade. The core curriculum is a PDF download with a limited license to copy the worksheets for your children while they learn (bonus for those of us with many children). The PDF files includes everything you need to teach your child including suggestions for instruction, vocabulary words, tracking sheets, and worksheets/activities for your child.
While the PDF files are rather large and take a while to download, they do not take up any space on my bookshelves. I only print out the activity sheets that are needed and read the instructions from my computer (I love being able to cut down on the clutter).
The Kindergarden units cover
- Counting, Adding and Subtracting Within 5
- Counting, Adding and Subtracting Within 9
- Understanding Numbers 1-20
- Measurement, Data and Geometry
TouchMath is unlike any math curriculum I have used before. The thing that stood out to me the most is the lesson setup. Unlike most curriculums which introduce a new concept with numbered chapters or lessons, TouchMath is broken up into four units with six modules within each unit. When I opened up the curriculum instead of seeing a scripted lesson/lecture with corresponding worksheets, I found coloring pages with suggestions and guidelines on how to teach the lesson as you and the child work on the activity sheets together.
I use the words “activity sheets” rather than “worksheets” because that is what they are. They are activities for your child to do that will also teach them math. They aren’t boring pages with lonely number problems waiting to be solved. These activity sheets have pictures of animals, connect the dots, mazes and more. Several of the sheets also correspond with interesting cross-curricular facts that help keep the child entertained while you work together. For example while completing an activity page for the number five containing pictures of sea animals you can tell him that while a dolphin can stay underwater for 15 minutes, it can’t breathe underwater; a crab walks sideways most of the time; and a starfish has two stomachs. Each of these fun facts is indicated with an icon in the parent’s manual.
While this setup threw me at first (I’m used to seeing lesson numbers) I find that I really like it. As homeschoolers we often speed up or slow down lessons to cater to our children’s needs, but I must admit that sometimes I still fall prey to the public school mindset that you have to finish x many lessons a week and if you don’t your child is “behind”. The TouchMath format takes that nagging fear out of the equation entirely! Your child will not move on until he has mastered the concept and you can take as much or as little time as you need without fear or falling behind. It took us weeks for Spencer to master the first module (counting to 100 by ones and tens) and one day to finish the second module… that’s right; ONE DAY and he had mastered identifying the numbers 1 through 5 (which was something he struggled with before we began TouchMath).
While I am sure any child would enjoy and be successful with TouchMath, I can see it coming in really handy for special needs children who may learn at a slower pace than average children. I believe one of the reasons why TouchMath is so successful is because it, more than any other math curriculum I have used, encourages the parent and the child to work together rather than the parent teaching the lesson, showing the child a few examples and then letting them work on their own. While your child will eventually get to the point where they can do worksheets on their own (and quickly), working with the parent makes it more like “play” and less like “work” and the manipulatives, while not necessary, are certainly helpful to that end.
In addition to the core curriculum we also had the opportunity to use a few of the manipulatives and the software. One of the manipulatives we got to use was the 3D Numerals.
The concept of TouchPoints is the heart of the TouchMath program. Often children have a hard time recognizing that a numeral represents a number. They know how many three is, but they don’t see the connection between three objects and the character used to represent the number three. TouchPoints are points in the numeral that the child can identify in order to count to the amount that number represents. For example, using the 3D Numerals the number 4 has four bumps where the child can touch to count up to the number four.
These numerals came in REALLY handy. When we were working on counting to 100 by tens I lined up the numbers 1 through 9 vertically on the floor. I then put the zero next to each of the other digits in turn so that he could see the number it while he said it. Once he had mastered saying them in order I mixed it up by putting the zero next to any random numeral and he would have to identify what the whole number was. It was a game that Spencer really enjoyed.
As a side note, don’t ask me HOW they did it, but somehow these little 3D Numerals managed to teach my two year old the difference between a number and a letter. Jack struggles with delayed speech and teaching him how to talk has been an uphill battle. Yet when he sees a word, acronym or other series of letters he points and says “E-O-E-O”. When he sees a number written he says “two”. 3D Numerals are to thank for this… no joke.
The TouchShapes includes six translucent plastic shapes, each shape comes in three different colors and three different sizes.
In addition to letting Jack scatter them around the house as quickly as possible, we would use the TouchShapes while completing our activity sheets.
Spencers loves to travel through each state in the United States with Uno Bear. Uno Bear helps and encourages him along the way.
“Mom, did you know that even Uno Bear makes mistakes, too!”
The software came in really handy in the very beginning when he was trying to master counting. I believe using the 3D Numerals to help him complete the computer games is what led to him finishing the second module so quickly.
I highly suggest that you head on over to TouchMath where you can read the history behind it, look at samples, and watch videos about how it works! I have been very pleased with TouchMath and will continue to use it for the rest of my boys.
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