There are at least two situations where you may not want to begin formal math: for preschool-age or older beginning learners who are not yet ready to sit down to pencil-and-paper math computations, and for children up to age 10 or so who would benefit from more hands-on math and an intentional delay of formal (i.e. paper-and-pencil) math instruction.
Teaching Beginning Math Learners
Many of our customers with older children say that they wish they had started out using Math on the Level when their children were very young. It's practical approach is particularly effective for teaching little ones since it begins where they already have understanding — their real-life world! Each teaching guide starts out with very beginning concepts and preschool activities that build basic skills, such as counting, matching, shape recognition, and so on. These early lessons also include a variety of activities that practice basic math skills. Rather than doing written 5-A-Day papers at this early stage, you can use the Beginning Student Record Keeping form to keep track of activities the child has done and check off the math concepts which have been practiced.
Delaying Formal Math
Many education experts say delaying formal math can be very beneficial to a child. This does not mean ignoring math. Rather, you include math instruction in practical everyday experiences, teach math vocabulary through conversations, and help the child become familiar with math concepts found in daily activities. Math on the Level includes a Delayed Formal Math Record Keeping form that provides a simple way to keep track of daily experiences that give math practice with any concept the child is learning. When you determine the child is ready to transition to formal math, the curriculum is organized to provide a quick and efficient way to "formally" cover basic concepts without having to wade through multiple textbooks and/or workbooks.