Ebi-kun came home from yochien a couple of days ago and announced that he wanted to learn multiplication, it was next on my to do list so we got out all the beads and I showed him how to do it. I think Montessori differs from the usual take on teaching maths, for multiplication they dive straight into multiplying thousands! Sounds a bit odd but I think it is great, using the bead material the child can 'see' the amounts and the examples work so much better with big numbers.
The presentation works better with more than one child but I only have the one so we had to do it this way. I gave him a slip of paper with a number on it and asked him to lay the beads out in the correct hierarchy on the mat. Then I gave him another slip of paper (with the same number) and asked him to do it again, placing the beads under the first set. Finally I gave him the third slip of paper, again the same number and he set out the third row of beads. At this point he had already figured out that he needed to add them together. So he pushed each hierarchy together, then starting with the units and added up the numbers, recording each hierarchy with a number card. When he had got the final number he recorded the whole sum on paper. I showed him how we work it out on paper but he doesn't know all his multiplication tables yet so he wouldn't be able to do it without the beads.
He did a few more examples and then showed daddy how to do it the next morning, apparently multiplication is fun!
I had to go to the yochien yesterday, I thought we were all done with the labelling and such like but noooo the boy needs another book bag, one to carry his homework books in! 3 notebooks, labelled in a specific way, 3 pencils must be 4B and an eraser and something else which I have forgotten what it is - bad mommy but no doubt t needs labels on it too!