Math has been going ok with Nugget. She's got the golden beads down pat, we've done an introduction to golden bead addition, worked with the hundred board a few times, used the number rods to find the various combinations that made numbers from 1-10, and formed teens with beads. She did the work readily enough... asked to "do math" during homeschool time... but wasn't really taken with it.
The other day, a post by Laura (formerly of My Montessori Journey, now of Walnut Hill Homeschool) got me looking at Right Start Mathematics. It's a math program written by a Montessori teacher, but not a traditional Montessori progression. It emphasizes understanding over memorization and working problems mentally (using an abacus as an aide in the beginning). I was really taken with it because it teaches solving problems the way I've learned to do it but NOT how I was taught. Things like "seeing" the numbers up to 5 instead of counting them, learning 6-10 as 5 plus something else, and adding larger numbers by "making 10".
I fell so in love with it that I bought levels A and B (used). We're going to combine it with elements of Montessori to make something that works for Nugget -- and really engages her. I want her to see math as puzzles and patterns instead of just columns of numbers. Yes, memorization of basic facts has its place. But a lot of that comes free with practice (and with the math games that are included with Right Start). I want to make sure she sees the fun and beauty and usefulness in math first.
To that end, I've made sure to watch some of Vi Hart's mathematical doodling videos with Nugget peeking over my shoulder. It's worked -- we've spent the last couple of days drawing "math pictures" on a huge sheet of paper and playing "math games" to color them in.
This is the math that I love!