(*recommended prereq skills: introduction to number symbols; matching objects that look the same or similar*)

Teaching numbers is a challenge.

Bean knows the alphabet and sometimes gets confused between letters and numbers. There are also several numbers that look the same (3 and 2, 2 and 5), and she gets those confused as well. But using a combination of our whiteboard, these number sheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler, and our counting bears, I think we’ve stumbled on a pretty good method. We’ve already been over numbers a few times, but this seems to be solidifying that knowledge.

I placed the number sheet for 1-5 on the table beside the whiteboard. Then I explained that I was going to be drawing the numbers on the whiteboard and Bean was going to find them on the number sheet. One at a time, I wrote out a number (sometimes naming it, sometimes not) and had her find the one that matched*. We did that several times, mixing up the order we did them in.

Once she seemed to have the hang of it, I explained our next activity: that we were going to be counting bears and matching them to the numbers on the number sheet. I pulled out groups of same-coloured bears and had her count them in my hand. Once we had the number of bears, I had her find them on the number sheet. And once she had the correct number, I had her place the bears in the squares beside the number, counting as we went.

By the end of this activity, she seemed to have an excellent grasp of each of the first five number symbols. Hooray!

**This activity also suits my developmental psychology leanings. By me drawing and her finding the typed match, she sees variations of each symbol and learns which attributes are essential for a symbol in a particular category and which can be ignored (for example, the height of the top portion of a four is not essential, and neither is whether the top lines are connected or separated, but an angled line crossing a vertical line is fairly essential to make it a four). Google “prototype theory” for more. đŸ˜‰*