My son has been struggling a little bit (okay, a lot) with math lately, and specifically with before and after. So, I put together this rather quaint number line/abacus out of what I had around the house. It’s not much to look at, but it works great! And we’ve had a lot of fun counting our numbers, practicing before and after, and even doing a little addition.

I took an old wire hanger, some mini clothes pins, and a black ink pen for the project. Numbers 1-35 fit nicely on the wire with plenty of room to move them back and forth, and that will keep us plenty busy for awhile, I’m sure.

He did really well using the numbered side for before and after; however, he had a much harder time doing addition. The written numbers threw him off. For addition, I turned the hanger around to the blank side of the clothes pins.

Also, another trick for the addition families that is working so much better. Rather than memorizing them by 1+ or 2+ families as most teach them, we’ve reverted to the A Beka method of teaching the families by the sum:

One Family

0+1=1

1+0=1

Two Family

0+2=2

1+1=2

2+0=2

Three Family

0+3=3

1+2=3

2+1=3

3+1=3

And you get the idea from there. Math keeps me on my toes. I’m constantly on the search for something to help my son with math. So if anyone else has any stunning ideas, I am very open to them. Please feel welcome to comment or email me with your words of wisdom.