Number Fascination

Yesterday my youngest son, aged 4, took some magnetic numbers from the fridge door to the table, and began arranging them 1,2,3,4 ... when he got to 6, he was unsure and asked his brother for help in getting the series right. Together they lined up numbers to 10. He then muddled them up and repeated the exercise, so learning to recognise and read numbers. After practising a few times, he got paper and pencil and began writing the sequence and working on number formation. A few were back-to-front as is normal for children at this age, but the sequence was clear and correct. At this point, I suggested making a book like his alphabet book (see earlier post) and he was enthusiastic, so I stapled some coloured paper together and he carefully wrote the numbers 1 - 10, one number on each page. As he also enjoys cutting pictures out of magazines at the moment, I suggested cutting out a picture to go on each page. Using the ELC catalogue, we were able to find pictures of various numbers of blocks, children, paint pots, skittles, pens and trucks and he stuck them to the page with the corresponding number. With his ongoing love of Thomas the Tank Engine, he then wanted to print out the engine for each number from the Thomas website and stick those on the right page too. So we put Thomas the Number 1 engine on the Number 1 page, Edward on page 2 etc. All day he continued to practise ordering the magnets and writing our the digits. In the evening, we were watching our Muzzy language learning DVD in French and he watched with avid attention the section when the numbers came up, reading the figures in English, whilst listening to the French. This is an example of a child's 'readiness' for a particular piece of learning and the self-motivation of a child, facilitated by an observant adult. It illustrates how easily something can be learnt when a child is ready to learn it. One of the great things about home education is the freedom and flexibility to be able to follow those interests as they arise.