Tips from My Teacher Days: Getting Started with Math

Tips From My Teacher Days

getting started with math

I have decided to start a new series on the blog to share the tips from my teacher days. Today I will share my tips for getting started with math.

It came to my attention today while talking with a dear friend of mine that I have knowledge that can be useful to other homeschool families, parents, caregivers and teachers. After 12 years in the classroom, countless hours of learning strategies and best practices, and connecting with other educators, I feel like I have tips that could be useful to others. I want this series to be simple, easy to follow, and adaptable to many ages.

Don’t Worry

Starting something new can be scary, overwhelming and down-right frustrating. My goal is to bring you 1 tip per week to try. With Pinterest, Facebook, and so many wonderful blogs to read… It can get even more overwhelming. Before I begin, I want to say to give you one small tip.

Start Small
Try changing only one things at a time.

Getting Started With Math

What do I need?simple math

  • 1 Set of Small Objects (I am using gems)
  • 1 Divided Bowl (I am using an egg carton because it has so many spots)
  • 1 Large Bowl


Put all of the small objects in the large bowl. Display the divided bowl and large bowl together.

What do I do?

Invite your children to explore the material. {tip: children need time to explore any material before being asked to “work” with that material}

Observe what your children do with the simple materials.Ask questions and guide further explorations.

What am I looking for?

Are your children sorting the objects?

How are they sorting them?

Are they counting them? How? Are they grouping?

What math vocabulary are they using?

What do I say? What Questions Can I ask?

simple math activities

What could you do with these materials?

Why did you do that?

How could you count these differently?

How could you sort these differently?

Can you find me …. number of the material?

I noticed that you…

I wonder what would happen if you put ….. and …. together?

Which has more?

Which has less?

How many ways can you make ….. (#)?

10 math questions

Would you like these questions in an easily printable format?

Be sure to download your free copy here.

{Remember these are only suggestions and only some ideas. I am trying to keep it simple}

This is a trial run, if you will. I am trying out format, concepts to cover and what to share. I am trying to simplify educational concepts to take the scariness out of trying new things and stepping away from a curriculum. I am hoping you will provide feedback with what you think.

Also In this Series:

Simple Writingsimple reading lesson

Getting Started with Writing

Getting Started with Reading

What would you like to see next in the series? Would you like me to continue with Math? Would you like additional materials to add to enhance this lesson? Would you like a list of materials to use for simple math? What would help you make exploring math easier and more manageable for you? Would you like a printable of questions to keep by your side as you engage in simple math with your children? Are you thinking of something different?

I can’t wait to hear what you would like to see next. I am open to any and all suggestions. Follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Homeschool LearningHave you read about how I didn’t want to homeschool?


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23 thoughts on “Tips from My Teacher Days: Getting Started with Math”

  1. Pingback: Counting & Cardinality: A Series About MATH | The Home Teacher

  2. Great post!! I love the graphics and I love the way that you encourage natural curiosity while learning instead of a black and white 2 + 2 approach.

    1. Thank you so much. I love the encouraging words. I look forward to writing more in this series. Any request for the next lesson?

  3. I hope you will continue these series, but I would like to see the tips for kids of school age – this one seems to be more targeted to young preschoolers. Still, thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

    1. I completely understand. I actually wrote this for a friend who is not a teacher, is overwhelmed by starting homeschool and is currently just doing workbooks. She wanted 1 simple material to have out for independent time and questions to ask.While I think this is usually geared for younger grades, I think it can be adapted to any grade as a handson approach… I value your feedback tremendously!

  4. PS – adding this post to my round up of 100 math ideas in preschool section 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! That is so sweet of you. I will say, I will have this lesson set out for my boys 1st and third. The 1st grader will be encouraged to add and subtract and create word problems, while the third grader will be encouraged to do multiplication and divisions.

  5. This is a great series idea and a wonderful resource for parents and caregivers of young children. Thank you! I’m trying to do more math at home with my 6 year old to supplement what she’s learning at school, it’s uncomfortable for me since art is more of my wheelhouse but I’m trying to get some manipulatives together and play some math games with her! Would love to see your tips here organized by age groups!

    1. Thank you so much! I look forward to tweaking this series to the needs of my readers. For now I am starting very simple.

  6. I love how you encourage playing with the material before trying to work with it. My experience has taught me that too! I’m at the point now where I’m worried my daughter won’t be ready for whatever she is supposed to know for kindergarten, so any simple math suggestions would be very helpful!

    1. I am sure your daughter will be fine! I see all of the wonderful experiences you provide her! I hope to add more to this series and then come back to math. Is there a specific question you have about early math?

  7. I love the approach you use. It makes learning so much more fun than just numbers on paper.

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

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  11. Susan

    Hi, Eva told me that you were homeschooling and blogging so I wanted to stop by and take a look and say hi. I enjoyed reading your always insightful ideas and I am happy that everyone is doing well-and the pictures of the kids are adorable! Best, Susan

    1. Oh Susan! I am so happy you came by! It actually brought tears to my eyes. Please stop in more often! And if you ever want to “guest post” your reading advice would be so helpful for others!

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