By Amy Toman
Math...the dreaded word among so many people I know. This is one subject that is a little intimidating to teach Alethea, even though we are currently at counting and addition. Why would teaching a child addition be looked at in such a negative way? Well, I have the responsibility to instill a LOVE for learning in our children, and this is a JOY in so many ways, but not math. Everywhere I look I hear negative things about math: how difficult it is, it’s not fun, who needs math. It is very hard to figure out how to instill a love of a subject when there is a negative association with math.
Now, I was good at math as a student, particularly algebra. It came easy to me as a child because it was just plugging in a formula and following directions. But math was never fun for me; I never looked forward to math class and never figured out why and how advanced math would be needed outside of school. I have to admit that I don’t use much advanced math in my daily life.
I have been praying over the past couple of months that God would lead us to the best curriculum for our family for the school year. After researching TONS of different math programs I ended up deciding to just wing it and do it myself this year. Then the irony set in. I needed to go take care of Ezra and another little girl that I watch, but I didn’t want to place Ali in front of the TV. She had NO desire to do her reading practice online or practice Mandarin, so I thought, “let’s just have her play Mathseeds and see what happens.” Mathseeds is made by the same company as Reading Eggs, and focuses on teaching children math skills in a fun game.
When I returned from baby duty, Alethea had completed 2 levels already, and was thrilled to show me the rewards she received from these levels. Two eggs had hatched and one was a kitty that farted. She thought this was HILARIOUS! It made her so excited that she continued to complete another 2 math levels, for a total of 4 math levels in 1 hour! Yes, you read that right, my 4.5 year old sat for 1 hour at the computer doing math!
I was very impressed with all the different concepts that are covered in each minigame within the larger game. Mathseeds is set up like a game board, and there are 10 levels on each board. In order to complete the level and receive the prize (the hatching egg) you must complete the 15 or so activities in each level. These activities are 90% games that teach math concepts while the other 10% teaches reading math words. The first few tasks consisted of identifying the number, while the next practiced one-to-one correspondence as well as a review of past numbers. One aspect that I was surprised to see in a math game was the written word of the numbers. Not only is Alethea being exposed to the numerical, but also how it is spelled and what it looks like. She had a few games where she was required to click on the correct word for the number instead of the numerical; she had a bit more difficulty with this task, but was still able to decipher which word was correct.
Overall, Mathseeds is a great game for learning math. It can be bought in a bundle with Reading Eggs and is very affordable. One of my favorite things about this game is it can be played on our Ipad and the computer (as long as there is wifi). They offer a free trial and are geared towards ages 3-8, so go check it out and have FUN learning math. http://mathseeds.com/