Homeschool Myth: Manipulatives

An argument I have heard against homeschooling is lack of materials/manipulatives. I was told that it would cost an arm and a leg to get all the hands on teaching tools I would need to teach preschool and the first few years of elementary school and that is why they needed to go to a school enviroment. I say, “Bologna!”. Yes, you might need a few things but many of the big things will be just cheap things you have around the house. For counters you can use beans or M&M’s(great reward system too;). For those nifty little fraction models…An apple or orange and a knife. You can even get a kid safe knife (or a pumpkin knife) and have the kiddo cut it themselves. Be creative and cheap!

Now there will be times when, depending on the kid, you might need a real mainpulative. Take for example those lovely unit blocks in my picture. All kids may not need those but the NerdBug’s math progress came to a screeching halt when we got to borrowing and carrying so we went and got a little help. Something you need to keep in mind is the local teacher store isn’t your only option, and sometime that is a costly option. I went into our local teacher store (GW Supply) and found some unit blocks but not all that I wanted. They had the tens and the ones but not the hundreds and they were about $9 a bag. So I went on line and found these interlocking ones at a fraction of the price and they lock together (the ones at GW didn’t). All I did was go to the website on the bag. After shipping and handling I still paid less (less than $18 for all 3 sets plus a couple of clearance items;). So remember to look around. The Internet is your oyster!

One last thing, if you are going to invest in something try to make it do double duty. It can teach basic addition and subtraction, carrying, borrowing and fractions.

This is the first manipulative I needed to buy so that myth is officially debunked!

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