Both boys have been hard at work, side-by-side. Their work parallels one another so often it is humorous sometimes. For example, today they BOTH received introductory strip board presentations...Me Too on the addition strip board and Kal-El on the subtraction strip board.
Sometimes you see the strip board presented with the strips laid out above the board, sometimes with the strips on either side of the board. We tried the "above" presentation today (makes it easier to find a place on the mat to do the written work). It was a "fail" because the placement of the strips enticed Me Too sit to the side of the board or worse above the board. Oddly, Me Too reads just as well upside-down and sideways as he does right-side up. However, his ability to write simultaneously upside-down and backwards so that it is legible to a person sitting across the table from him is starting to make other adults think he is dyslexic. Based on the fact that he can successfully read right-side up, upside-down and sideways as opposed to a lack of success reading in any position I'm going go out on a limb and say he's not dyslexic. However, I am going to try to make sure that he reads and writes more often from the correct side of his work.
Moving the strips to the sides of the board did the trick! Me Too experiments for a long time building his own equations. Then, he asked what all of the "other rows" on the board were for. So, I showed him how you can use the strips to build all possible ways to create a particular sum.
He went ahead and built all of the ways to reach a sum of 10.
Then, he moved on to 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2!
Kal-El worked with the subtraction strip board for the first time today. He first learned how to build equations of his own choosing as well as some loose prepared equations. Afterward he asked if he could start the subtraction tables booklet. He completed tables one through five today.
Out of curiosity I looked it up today and discovered that it took Kal-El six months to do all of the addition memorization works. However, three of those months were summer months in which very little of this type of work is actually accomplished. The subtraction work will go much more quickly by virtue of the following:
- fewer boards
- the advantage of already knowing his addition facts
- it's not summer
Hypothetically he now knows all of his addition facts through 20. This is "behind" by Montessori standards (as the child would theoretically do the memorization materials for all all four operations by age six) however it is apparently quite good by "first grade" standards. Kal-El has asked for addition flashcards because he has been hearing about them from his traditionally-schooled friends. He is particularly intrigued by a friend who reported having to do "30 facts in 30 seconds." When I tried to oblige by picking some up at the Learning Shop (I didn't like the style I was finding in Wal-mart, etc.,) I was surprised that I was unable to find any sets that went beyond 12. When I asked for assistance the former elementary schoolteacher who helped me was downright disturbed that he knew his fact through 20. I found that odd. As for the "30 facts in 30 seconds" I don't think we will be timing ourselves. To make Kal-El happy we tried that ONCE (with some unsatisfactory Wal-mart flashcards). I wish I had it on video so I could show you, and would tape it next time except I am NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN. He was sooo emotionally and physically upset during the timed trial that he ASKED FOR that I thought he was going to be sick. He developed a stutter, waved his arms around, flapped his hands, developed facial ticks and almost vomited. I am going to make him some flashcards myself (because he asked for them and because whenever the sum is in the teens I suspect he is doing fast mental addition rather than having the fact memorized), but we won't be using the timer again. I am super glad that because I am his teacher he doesn't have to face that type of thing as a "daily educational requirement" and that he has never been "tested." I don't think it meshes well with Kal-El's personality.