Teaching Early Arithmetic Skills Effectively
arithmetic can be fun and rewarding for most homeschoolers and their children.
One of the secrets of success is to decide what skills must be taught and the
order in which they should be taught. A good instructional program will list
the objectives and their order of presentation. Several different objectives
may provide tasks for any one lesson.
Scope and Sequence
The list should look
something like this for kindergarten students:
1. Identifying and writing
numerals from 1 to 100.
2. Rote counting in which
the student memorizes the numbers from 0 to 100 in consecutive order starting
with the number 0.
3. Rational counting, which
involves counting objects as you touch them.
4. Counting forward
beginning with a number other than one.
5. Counting backward from
100 to 0.
6. Ordinal counting where
students are taught to say first, second, third, etc., instead of one, two,
7. Counting backward from a
number other than 1.
8. Skip counting by 5s, 10s,
2s, and other numbers.
9. Drawing lines or marks to
represent a number (e.g., //// = 4)
10. Learning signs and
symbols for arithmetic operations (+, -, x, =, etc.)
Each skill needs to be
measured so that the parent knows the child has learned the skill to a stated
degree of excellence. Children can count at 200 counts per minute when they are
skillful. A simple timing where the parent listens to the child count for a
period of 15 or 30 seconds provides a quick and easy measure of how well the
skill is being learned and remembered. Any pauses or errors indicate the points
at which the child needs more instruction or more practice. The learning
objective for rote counting can be stated as: "The child sees and says
numbers from 0 to 100 at 200 counts per minute with no more than 2
Generally, learning new
skills is easier if the child can see the numbers as he counts. Once the child
can see and say the numbers fluently without pauses and errors, you can change
the learning channel to a harder task like "think and say numbers 0 to
As with see/say numbers,
children can easily think and say 200 counts per minute when they are well
versed with counting.