When Your Montessori Child Won't Do Math
I've been wracking my brain for the past several weeks trying to come up with a math related activity to share for the 12 Months of Montessori series this month. I've truly been stressing about it! But, it finally occurred to me, that I just can't share an "activity" with you, but that I need to be honest.
Henry is not interested in math right now. And, that's O.K.! I mean, he knows how to count from 1 to 20ish. He can skip count by 10 up to 100 -- sometimes. He knows how to tell time, and basic shapes. And, that's O.K.!
I think a lot of people think about Montessori and assume excellence in math. I mean, have you seen the beautiful math materials?! I'm drooling over here.
Number Rods; Numbers and Counters; Sandpaper Numbers; Hundred Board; Spindle Box; Addition Strip; Beads; Golden Beads
The young children are adding, subtracting, counting to 10,000, doing division, understanding fractions. It's simply amazing. And, Henry has no interest. And, that's O.K.!
Montessori is so much more than beautiful materials. At it's heart it is about following the child, its about meeting the child where the child is and accepting that. Your interests, don't need to be their interests. It's also about trust. Trusting that your child will eventually learn basic math skills and that their pace is more important than yours.
Sometimes you just need to put your own desires aside and know that children are programmed to learn. As Maria Montessori said:
“We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.” ~ Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind
For now, I'm trusting that Henry knows what he wants to learn and what he has to learn. He's motivated and driven to learn everything he can about his interests -- which right now is geography and reading. Those are the things that make him tick. The things that get his wheels turning. And, that's O.K.!
So, what do I do in the mean time about math? Because, obviously math is important. He needs to understand mathematical ideas and principals -- eventually.
- I don't push it, but I will suggest it. I never force him to choose a work he is uninterested in. Sometimes, Henry just needs a gentle reminder of all the work in the classroom. And will choose math.
- Entice him -- move the math materials around. And provide beautiful materials for him to use if the mood strikes.
- Sneak it in! I use his interests to sneak some math in! "How many states are there?" "You've finished 2 words, how many words are left on this sheet?" "You ate a cookie, how many do we have now?" By making it conversational, he's absorbing concepts without directly focusing on the subject. Works every time!
Do you have a child that is reluctant to learn a subject? How do you handle it?
12 Months of Montessori Learning!
This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series! Our topic this month is mathematics! Visit these wonderful bloggers for Montessori and Montessori-inspired math topics!
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