The BrillKids Little Math curriculum provides you with everything you need for one-click learning – just sit down with your child and press play!
Please read the following overview carefully. It is designed to help you maximize your child's learning and fun with the Little Math curriculum.
What are lessons in quantity?
The concept of quantity lessons is a new one for many parents. These highly important lessons, which use icons to illustrate real quantities, form the foundation of the math lessons to follow.
The reason for teaching quantity is that quantities represent the true meaning of numbers. The normal way of teaching children numbers is to teach them to associate two types of symbol. Children learn, for example, that the sound "eighty-eight" means the same as the written numeral "88." Both are symbols that stand for 88 of something. Children learn to associate the written and spoken symbols, but this does not teach them the true meaning of 88 (88 of something). Quantity lessons do.
Very young children can appreciate quantity in a way most adults cannot. For example, what appears to the adult as a screen full of stars (or triangles, or butterflies) will appear to the child, precisely, as 88 stars (or triangles, or butterflies). This is how we can teach quantities right up to 100.
The reason very young children can do this is because it is a function of the right hemisphere of the brain, and the right brain develops and matures before the left. Dominancy shifts gradually from right to left hemisphere during early childhood, and children gradually lose the ability to perceive quantity. In general, it is advisable to begin quantity lessons before the age of two and a half. (For more on this, go to Chapter 3 of Teaching Your Baby Math.)
Having taught quantities up to 100, we can move on to using these quantities to teach equations. By using real quantities in equations, we can make addition, subtraction, multiplication and division instantly comprehensible, even to very young children. Appearing as they really are – as quantities – the numbers engage the child's logical thinking. This is very different to teaching equations with symbols (numerals) – an approach that risks engaging the child's memory rather than his understanding.
Of course, children need to learn numerals, too. Numerals are introduced once the foundation in quantity, and equations that use quantity, has been established. A week after your child begins learning numerals, equations will begin using numerals as well as quantities. Now, when a symbol (numeral) is shown, your child will readily associate it with the reality – the quantity.
We recommend that you give your child his math lessons twice per day. However, the curriculum is also suitable for use once per day, in case that is all a parent can manage. Session 2 is designed to reinforce Session 1, and is optional.
The curriculum is designed to be shown on weekdays, in case it is not convenient to teach on weekends. You can continue to teach on weekend days, should you wish. Weekends are also a good time to catch up on any lessons missed during the week.
Every Friday – of fifth day of the course – is a Review Day. Lesson materials are randomized, drawing from any of the numbers previously learned, and any of the equations learned over the previous four days.
Using personalized icons makes learning math extra fun for your child. Before beginning the curriculum, it is a good idea to customize your Number Library with icons from the BrillKids Forum (forum.brillkids.com) – simply select and download those that you think will most appeal to your child. You can also make your own personalized icons easily, by creating a new icon set and uploading the photo you want to use from your computer.
We suggest using random icon setting for Session 1, and your favorite (or random) icons for Session 2.
Lessons involving quantity are shown with icons either in random formation or grid formation. The random placement setting is intended mainly for children under the age of two and a half, who have the ability to perceive quantity.
Grid placement setting is intended for children of all ages. Viewing icons on this setting, the older child will quickly learn to skip count (appraise quantities of items by viewing the items in blocks). This enables the older child to gain a good appreciation of quantity, too.
Since the ability to perceive quantity fades gradually, it is impossible to give the precise age at which a child will no longer benefit from seeing quantities on random placement setting. If your child is over two and half but under three, the chances are good that she will still be able to perceive quantity, particularly with the lower numbers – and it will certainly do no harm to try.
If your child is over three, you may wish to switch to grid placement setting for all your lessons. This is very easy to do – simply click Settings on the Display panel, and choose Grid under Icon Placement.
What's in a session
Little Math sessions are divided into the following types of preset:
- Quantity lesson
- Math lesson
- Multiples lesson
- Numeral lesson
- Quantity review
- Math review
- Multiples lesson (review)
The Little Math curriculum is designed so that each new topic builds on a previous set of learning. From understanding quantity, your child will progress to seeing quantities used in equations, and from there, to learning the correspondences between quantities and numerals. Math lessons will progress from two-step equations that introduce the low numbers one by one, right up to mixed, five-step equations using numbers up to 100.
Your child does not need to complete one type of learning before moving on to the next. Rather, different types of lessons will overlap. Different types of lesson may work to reinforce knowledge by introducing the same topic simultaneously. For example, skip counting in two's is timed to coincide with the two times table (Day 106).