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Math Lesson in the Life: Abeka Numbers Skills K5 Workbook
Written by Amber Marie | June 12, 2018
Math can be a tricky subject to teach a child and can be even harder if you don’t know where to start. As a former teacher, I had a wealth of knowledge with teaching math, but most of it was geared toward upper elementary. However, one thing I learned about early math skills was that BASIC NUMBER SENSE IS IMPORTANT. I cannot tell you how many third, fourth, or even sixth grade students I worked with in my years of teaching that had a weak understanding of basic number sense. Number sense, as defined by National Council of Teachers, is the understanding of five important components: number meaning, number relationships, number magnitude, operations involving numbers and referents for numbers and quantities. Through the experiences I had with different students, I learned the importance of a solid foundation in number sense concepts.
With my son technically being “kindergarten” age this year, I wanted to make sure I was building that strong foundation right from the start. In the beginning, I was piecing together my own curriculum here and there and it worked for a while, but I felt I needed more guidance. After talking with my mother-in-law (see her interview here), I learned more about Abeka, specifically the Numbers Skills K5 workbook. After flipping through her copy, I knew that I could make it work with my son and get more direction with my math focus for the year. So let’s take a look at a Math Lesson in the Life using the Abeka Number Skills K5 workbook.
What I Use
As I mentioned, I am using the Abeka Number Skills K5 workbook. One thing to note is that this is just a student workbook and not a teacher’s manual. Abeka suggests purchasing the teacher manual with the workbook, however, I have opted to create my own lessons to pair with the pages found in the book. I’ll go into more detail on this later in the post.
According to Abeka, the Number Skills K5 workbook “provide practice and evaluation of many concepts, including numbers concepts from 1 through 100, numbers formation, number words, simple combinations, money, and telling time”. These concepts are reviewed in multi-faceted ways and expose the child to different approaches of learning the same concept. For example, with the skill of counting, a child may encounter a section where they must circle the correct number of objects based on a given number. The student will also see counting activities where they will be given a group of objects to count and must select the correct number. These methods, along with others, offer more experience with a specific math skill and prepares the child for real-world situations.
Another aspect I like about the workbook is how colorful and simple it is. There are only a few concepts being reviewed per page and the lessons are not overwhelming. There are no lesson numbers in the workbook (except for the ones found in the bottom corner, which correspond with the teacher manual) so I have numbered each page with a number. A lesson for my son consists of the front and back of a page. I have found the concepts reviewed on these pages are similar, which makes planning my mini-lessons easier. Which leads me to the next thing I use when teaching my son a math lesson: manipulatives.
Manipulatives are physical objects that engage students in hands-on learning, specifically in math. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I am a huge advocate for hands-on learning. I find it much easier to teach my son a math concept when he is able to physically move or “manipulate” objects to make his learning more concrete. I was lucky enough to acquire a lot of my manipulatives from fellow homeschool moms whose children have outgrown the tools, however, I have listed my favorites below and provided links to the products if you wish to purchase them.
Counting Bears – I use these so often I really should buy more. These are great for teaching about patterns, counting, sorting, and more. Companies have come out with other animals, but for some reason I love the counting bears the best.
Ten Frame Cards – I just made these using index cards and a ruler to draw 10 boxes. Ten frames are a great way to build your child’s understanding of place value and numbers that add up to ten in addition to numbers larger than ten.
The tools above are a few of my favorites, however I am always collected manipulatives as I come across new concepts I’m introducing to my son. Be sure to check out the other manipulatives I like to use below.
So how do I go about using these manipulatives in conjunction with the workbook? Let’s take a look at this very topic next.
How I Plan
When I plan a mini-lesson to pair with a lesson within the workbook, I first take a look at the concepts being taught on the page. Is it counting? Patterns? Money? Shapes? Whatever it is, I think about the best manipulatives and techniques I can use to teach the skill to my son. I take a look at my manipulatives I have available and brainstorm a few ways to introduce the concept to my son. I will write down what I feel will be the best method and collect the materials ahead of time so I’m prepared for the lesson when we get to it.
I realize that it can be hard to come up with these teaching techniques without some guidance. I have a bit of an advantage with my former teaching experience, so it is a bit easier for me to think this way. However, I don’t want you to feel lost or left in the dark, so check out my freebie at the bottom of this post. It includes the steps I take to plan a lesson, along with different techniques I use to teach a certain math concept and what I like to use to help create a hands-on experience for my son. But before downloading the freebie, check out how a typical lesson pans out by reading below.
A Typical Lesson
Our math lessons always begin with reviewing the numbers we are working on learning through repetition. Right now my son is practicing counting up to fifteen. He has mastered numbers one through ten, but still needs practice with numbers eleven to fifteen. Once I feel he has mastered those, we will add the next five numbers, and repeat this until we reach one hundred.
After reviewing our numbers, we move into the mini-lesson that gives my son a hands-on approach to the concepts we’ll be reviewing in the workbook.
One thing to note, I don’t normally include number formation in my mini-lesson and instead I address it when we come to it in the workbook. The mini-lesson lasts about five to eight minutes depending on the difficulty of the concept(s) being reviewed. I use a number of manipulatives and methods when teaching my son a new skill. I make sure to present the concept in more than one way to give him exposure to the different modes he may see the topic in the real-world.
After the mini-lesson we move into the workbook. One advantage of beginning with the mini-lesson is that my son already has a good grasp of what is concept is being reviewed in the workbook. This allows for him to complete the majority of it on his own with little instruction from me. With the exception of number formation practice, I’ll read the instructions for the section he is working on and he will complete the rest without my help. If a number formation section is present, we’ll take a minute to talk about how to form the number and practice on a whiteboard before hitting the practice in the book. Overall a lesson from start to finish takes about ten to fifteen minutes.
Math can be a tricky concept to teach, especially in those early elementary years. However, with a little guidance from a workbook, such as the Abeka Numbers Skills K5 workbook, along with simple, short mini-lessons, anyone can teach their child the important foundations of number sense.
Need more guidance with how to plan a mini-lesson? Download my planning guide by filling in the form below. If you are already a member, this freebie can be found in the Member’s Library. Make sure to use the most recent password from this week’s newsletter to login.
Download the Math Mini-lesson Planning Guide Now!
I share tips on how to teach certain math concepts and list a number of math manipulatives I use in my homeschool.
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What curriculum do you use with your children? If you use Abeka, how do you use it to teach your children math? Share in the comments below.