Thursday, November 7, 2013

"It's Too Hard!" says Link

I have been working with Link all week on the teen beads, really!  Link just has a hard time remembering the names of 11, 12, 13, and 15.  We've taken the "three period lesson" to the "100 period lesson."  We can do it 10 times; the first 9 times he'll get all three correct, then the 10th time, he'll tell me something different!  If we keep going he starts saying "I hate school" or "this is too hard!"  A few times I've told him, "Just do it a few more times and we'll stop" but the last few times I just put it away.  He seems to be able to point to the right number when I say the name, but remembering the name is very hard for him.  He does the first correctly 99% of the time, the latter only 75% of the time.  I should also mention that even though he has been counting for some time now, if I ask him to identify "6" he'll say "1,2,3,4,5,6 its 6!"  Like he just can't recall the word "six" without counting it out.  He does the same thing with "9."

I re-checked Meg's albums (from Montessori By Hand) to be sure he has progressed far enough to be doing this work.  She says "The child should be comfortable reading numbers the other way, specifying the categories."  We've gotten through dynamic addition and he seems very comfortable with that work.  She also says "Many children skip a teen when counting. They often skip 13 and a 17 or 18. "  Haha, Link counts 11,12,13,17 :) And "11, 12 and 13 are the most difficult because we don’t say oneteen or twoteen. The child can’t use the language she already knows to fill it in."  No kidding! Link can come up with the word "eleven" if he counts all the way through one to eleven.  I try to get him to just see it and say the word, but he can't.  (He can look at the color beads and identify 1-5 by sight, but not 11-15)

So what do I do?  Hold him here until he gets it right?  Maybe I'll move on to the teen boards and see how he does.  Then let him match them.  Maybe that will help him.  


  1. I think the nice thing about Montessori math at this stage is that it doesn't matter. It is at this point that the sequence splits from just "math" to "operations" and "linear counting." You can keep him right where he is using beads and boards for as long as he needs with no pressure to move on to counting chains yet. At the same time he can continue all of his operations work because it is better if he says "3 thousands, 4 hundreds, five tens, and 2 units" anyway. Some albums specifically mention trying to read the numbers the other way around the time they get to the large bead frame. So, you have a lot of wiggle room there. Just continue the operations work the other way.

    1. Thanks, that's reassuring :) We took a little break for a few days and it seems like every time we do that, when we come back to it, it isn't so bad. He still needs a lot of practice, but I alternate with the operations to keep it from getting too old. He reads the numbers well while we do the operations work when he uses the "five tens, 2 units" way. I do point out the name, but I don't pressure him into remembering it.