How My Son Taught Himself to Learn Place Value

How My Son Taught Himself to Learn Place Value.

I'm no math teacher, we include mathmatetics as part of our everyday homeschool routine. Sometimes, even when we think we're prepared, our children throw us for a loop.

I had 218 written out on a piece of paper. “You may tell me this number.” I said to my seven-year-old.

- “Two thousand, one hundred and eighteen” he responded.

I was flabbergasted. We have spent SO much time working on place value. He knew it before our winter break and then- poof- it seemed to be gone.

It can be incredibly frustrating when we feel like our children have mastered something only to come back to it and find out they are in need of a refresher or they’ve forgotten it all together. It’s also totally normal. “Use it or lose it” exists for a while in these early years. They’ll get there. I took a calm breath, pulled out our number cards and built the number.

- “It’s not quite that number, let’s look at it together. How many units are there?”

- “Eight” he responded.

- “Yes, how many tens do you see?” - I asked

- “One.”

- “Yep, how many hundreds?”

- “Two,” he then got an incredibly confused look on his face. The ‘learning moment’ was happening and he was realizing that it was NOT 2,118.

- “Great, how many thousands do you see?”

- “None?” he responded slowly and cautiously.

- “I don’t see any either, what number do you see here?”

- “Two hundred eighteen!!!” He responded enthusiastically.


Yes!! Isn’t it a sweet moment when you’ve worked through it with your child and seen them generate their answer??


Place value will be something you’ll keep coming back to through the years. As you get into 3 & 4-digit numbers, decimals, and beyond; you’ll need to revisit this concept to make sure it’s cemented. It is a truly foundational math skill and something most children don’t pick up in one lesson.

What is place value?


Place value is how we determine the value of a number. Our number system is based on groups. A single number (0-9) is referred to as a “unit” in Montessori teaching. Tens come next as two-digit numbers, hundreds help us make three-digit numbers and so on.

Teaching Place Value?


The best way for a child to learn place value is a lot of practice. In our curriculum, you’ll use place value materials throughout your student’s math education in numerous ways. Incorporating place value identification as part of your daily routine can also be helpful. Ask your student about place value for numbers you see on street signs, price tags, in books, etc. to help reinforce the concept.

Decimal Materials?


Montessori decimal materials are a foundation for teaching place value.

Providing children with something tactile for a concept that can be quite abstract is essential. Children begin by “building” numbers with unit cubes, ten rods, hundred flats, and thousand cubes. They can use these materials to “trade up” to the proper materials. For example, provide your student with 12-unit cubes and encourage them to trade to a ten rod when they get to ten units.

This is an excellent way for them to start grasping the concept of place value. As your student progresses, they can “trade” in for hundreds and thousands as well. Many children enjoy playing this like a shopping game where they “buy” the next decimal material for the proper amount of trade.

Number Cards


Once a child is familiar with the unit cubes, they’ll begin using number cards. These helps provide a visual for creating numbers, the tactile experience of building numbers, and the auditory experience of hearing numbers. Children begin by matching the correct number card to the corresponding number of units. They then move into matching unit cubes to the proper number card. This helps create the foundation for place value by giving the child a visual and a number at the same time. The number cards will be incorporated with the decimal materials we discussed above as well. Eventually children will use number cards to build large numbers and will be able to tell the place value for each number, as well as build a number with verbal directions for which number card goes in each place value location.

Number Tiles.


Not be confused with number cards, number tiles are introduced after the student has a firmer grasp on place value. In our curriculum, number tiles are not introduced until Book 3.

These materials are used similarly to the number cards with some differences. Number tiles are multiple tiles of 1, 10, 100, and 1000. They are used as an alternative way to help children build numbers, solve math problems and move their understanding of place value to the next level.   For the number 218, in number cards the child would select 200, 10, and 8. With our number tiles, the child would obtain 2 “100” cards, 1 “10” card and 8 “1” cards. These are an excellent way to make the connection between decimal materials to building numbers, as well as to practice “exchanging” tiles from one place value for other place value tiles when completing math problems. Children take the solid foundation of number awareness they learned with the other two resources and use them throughout book 3.

Moving Beyond Book 3.


While these materials are not included in our Math Kit 2, children can certainly still benefit from using these materials throughout elementary school. (Plus, the decimal materials make great building blocks for free time!). If your older child seems to struggle to grasp place value, incorporating these materials can be extremely beneficial.

Feel free to reach out if you need additional guidance for teaching regrouping, place value or anything else with your child. Make sure to check out our upcoming webinar on Teaching Place Value with Montessori Materials for more tips and tricks to help incorporate multisensory place value learning into your homeschool day.


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


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Don't Be Scared of Teaching Homeschool Math

Don't Be Scared of Teaching Homeschool Math With these 5 Tips

Math is the #1 subject home educators say they feel unqualified to teach. Teaching homeschool mathematics to kids is intimidating for many parents. We often feel like we don’t have a good grasp of it ourselves. Or that we need to outsource it to someone else. I get it. Math was my least favorite subject in school. Guess what? It’s now one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. Join me in saying, “Math is fun!”

The Top 5 Reasons to Not Be Scared of Teaching Math

#1- Homeschool Math is not like it was in school.


Know what I remember from math in school? Standing in front of a blackboard being asked to solve an equation in front of the entire class. After talking with thousands of homeschool parents, this is a top memory for many of them too. I think this is one of the main reasons we’re scared to teach mathematics. When kids are on the spot, feel embarrassed, or singled out, it can be detrimental. While I don’t have any hard and fast data on this, I believe it to be true.  

When I was a kid I could solve problems on my own. The minute the teacher put me up there in front of the class I froze. I bet lots of you did too. If we can identify this as a negative feeling and experience, it can help us move forward with teaching.

The second thing that stands out to me when I was in school: worksheets. So. Many. Worksheets. And so many total busywork worksheets. How many millions of pages are printed on busywork sheets in schools every year? By choosing to teach at home, we can teach competency and closure. No busywork or repetitive worksheets required.

Teaching homeschool math looks 100% different than the standard school model. (There will be consistency between ShillerLearning and the Montessori method, I’m mainly comparing to public schools here.) It can be relaxed, it can be engaging, and *gasp* it can be fun!

#2- You can custom-tailor for each kid.

There is no pressure to move a kid along to keep up with the class. No pressure to stick to what a specific grade level says your child needs to learn. You have the freedom to repeat lessons as many times as needed, or as your child desires. If they’re struggling with a concept, you can leave it to come back to later. If there is a lesson they love, you can repeat it to their heart’s content. Plus, you can incorporate lessons and activities based on each child’s unique interests. Have a budding entrepreneur? You can start teaching business math. Have a kid who is always on the move? Use the ShillerLearning ball and our kinesthetic activities to keep them engaged and give them the movement they need!

#3-  Math games for kids.

Teaching through games not only can build math skills. Games teach social skills, visual/spatial awareness, reading, and more. We are so fortunate to be home educators at this time. There’s a vast availability of games to help teach skills and that math is fun. They don’t even have to be “math games.” Classic children’s games help reinforce concepts without the kids even realizing they’re learning. Starting a family game night once a week is not only fun but educational!

#4- There is math everywhere

Growing up, I knew I needed to learn math to function in the world. I didn’t understand how the worksheets were going to correlate to my real life though. By teaching our children at home we can involve them in the day-to-day uses. They can count out money for us at the store. We can have them measure ingredients when we’re cooking supper. They can help us watch our speed on the road. Once we start looking, we can find ways to incorporate it into our children’s lives without them even noticing.

#5- We script everything for you

When using ShillerLearning’s materials, everything is scripted. You won’t have to study up to review concepts. There’s no need to learn “new math.” Heck, you don’t even have to know the answers! All you need to be able to do is read the scripts to your child. It is the easiest homeschool math curriculum on the market. If you come across something you’re not familiar with, you can learn alongside your student. Kids love it when their parents show a love of learning too! When you encounter a lesson that’s a new, or difficult for you, it gives you the chance to learn. Our materials are open and go, need no prep work, and no study on your part. We’ve done this to help take the fear out of teaching for you.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Multisensory Fraction Materials Hacks

3 Hacks to Expand the Life of Your Multisensory Fraction Materials

You love multisensory fraction materials. What to do with these materials once fractions have been learned? Creative hacks to expand their life for years.

There’s been an ongoing debate over “unitaskers” in the home. For those who don’t know, a “unitasker” is an item that only does one thing. These are often found in the kitchen. Egg slicers, cherry pitters, and melon ballers are common examples of “unitaskers.” Occasionally a few creative people will find additional uses for them. For the most part, they get used for only one task. As minimalism and simplifying become more popular, these “unitaskers” are getting more attention than ever.


Helping Montessori Materials Find New Life


These items exist within the homeschool world too. Parents often shy away from purchasing materials because they struggle to see the investment in something they might only use for a short period of time. We want to get the best ‘bang for our buck’ in all our investments for home education. By purchasing high-quality Montessori materials, we can reuse them from child to child. This helps extend the life of less often used resources.


The Montessori Method is careful and intentional about the materials used. You’ll find the same materials used over a span of several years. Children will have a chance to become familiar and comfortable with items. They will be able to grow in how they’re used and teach younger siblings ways to use them. Within the Montessori setting, you’ll also find materials reused over and over. Intentionality is placed in being good stewards of resources and reusing anything possible in different ways.


A little bit of creativity can also go a long way. Finding ways to extend the life of our materials ensures we’re getting the most we can for our money. We’re always amazed at the amazing creations children make with our decimal materials, wooden shapes, and other manipulatives! Kids are so creative. Sometimes letting them loose with a shelf full of materials and a little bit of free time yields amazing results.  

3 Ways to Use Fraction Circles Within Your Homeschool

Fraction circles are one material parent often shy away from. They are key multisensory fraction materials. Yet, home educators often worry they are not used long enough to justify the expense. We are often asked if the lessons in our Fraction Book can be completed without the fraction circles.


While it can be done, it’s not going to be especially easy. All our lessons are written with the fraction circles in mind. They are beautiful and children love using them. Made from durable plastic, they’re designed to last. We’ve also made sure to make them visually appealing with bright colors children love. The Fraction Kit will do an excellent job teaching your children fractions. It can be used interspersed with your lessons (we do “fraction Friday” at home). Or you can work through it completely after Math Kit I or book 4 in Math Kit II.


The fractions circles can be reused in other ways too! They don’t have to sit on the shelf until it’s fraction time.  


Work on fine motor skills by using them for tracing. Obviously, you can get a perfect circle with the “whole” circle piece. Children also love tracing the smaller pieces. They will become pictures of pizza, pie, geometric patterns and designs, and more. Kids also love the challenge of getting all the pieces placed together to make an even circle. You’ll be amazed at what your child comes up with when they are shown how to trace fraction circles.


Provide your builder-in-training with new building materials. The pieces come apart to become awesome building blocks. Watch as your child delights in creating towers and building walls. They can be especially fun when combined with other building blocks to add color, texture, and even decoration! These multisensory fraction materials suddenly become so much more with your creative builder.


Try some mosaic work. Mosaics are an excellent way to work on visual-spatial skills, patterns, and creativity. The size of the fraction circle pieces makes them wonderful for beginner mosaics. The inner edges are already made to nestle together and the colors create beautiful works of art. While the rounded outer edge gives kids an interesting challenge to figure out how to build their layout. Try using them alongside the wooden shapes for even more options.


These are a few ideas to help get you thinking outside the box. We hope you’ll enjoy finding other uses for the fraction circles, and all your other Montessori materials.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Multisensory Multiplication Games for Homeschool

15+ Multisensory Multiplication Hacks for Homeschoolers

Children learn best when all of their senses are engaged. A multisensory approach in education is not simply a catchy trend. It’s a proven approach to enhance learning and cement concepts. Hands-on math education teaches concepts in a way no textbook ever could. By engaging the senses, our children can experience concepts in a more concrete way. This helps subjects that might feel extremely abstract, such as multiplication, become relatable and less intimidating.  


Give these hacks a try in your homeschool to see your children thrive with their times' tables!

Multisensory Multiplication Games & Hacks for Your Homeschool


  • Building equations with blocks- Children’s play blocks make the best manipulatives! Create a visual example of the equation you are solving with a set of blocks. By building the equation, children benefit from a tactile experience of physically feeling the numbers as well as the visual benefit of seeing the quantity. Children can also build a visual representation of the times table with blocks if they feel ambitious. This is a fantastic way to incorporate hands-on math into your home. [The ShillerLearning math curriculum does this with decimal material (base ten blocks), number cards, the operator set, and later number tiles (along with the lines of The Stamp Game].


  • Draw out the equation- For example- Take the equation 4x6. Have the student draw a 4 by 6 grid of stars/circles/flowers/ etc. to visualize the equation and count the total number. You may use the ShillerLearning Graph sheet or Blank Number Grid for this.


  • Dots or stickers- This is done similar to drawing as above. Using BINGO daubers or small stickers, children create a visual representation of the equation.


  • Multiplication songs- Check out the ShillerLearning CD's for the “Multiples of Four”, “Count by Fives”, and “Powers of Ten” songs to use in your homeschool. Kids love to sing and dance to these songs!


  • ShillerLearning’s base ten decimal materials- These are the blue manipulatives in our Math Kit I. Using the materials provides students with a concrete way to make a physical representation of numbers, equations, and value.


  • Use art- Children with a creative streak can greatly benefit from incorporating art. Giving them a chance to make a beautiful multiplication table can help immensely. Turning equations into pictures is another approach for incorporating art.


  • Tap numbers with fingers on the table- This can be an especially useful way to work on multiplication facts. The student taps one finger for each number. If they are working on counting by 3s, for example, they would tap their finger harder for each multiple of three.


  • Jump it out- Similar to above. In this approach, children jump up for each number and do a jumping jack on the multiple.
  • Money- Using cash is an excellent way to give kids a hands-on, real-life experience with multiplication. Allow them to figure out how much change is needed at the grocery store, to sort and count change, and other money experiences.


  • Use a ball- Say an equation and toss the ball to your student. They can toss the ball back after answering the equation. Roleplay and have the student ask you the equation. Occasionally throw in a wrong answer to see if your student catches it. You can also write numbers on a ball. Toss the ball to one student who makes note of the number on top. The ball is then tossed to the next person who makes note of the number on top. Students then work together to solve the equation of those two numbers multiplied to one another.


  • Food can sometimes be the answer to a problem- Use small snacks as manipulatives to eat after the equation has been solved. Students can build out the equation with their favorite treat and eat the answer!


  • Completing multiplication tables- Proving a student with a blank multiplication table to fill out can have surprising benefits. Some children may need to fill our a table dozens of times along with incorporating other techniques listed here. You may print additional grids for your multiplication tables from your customer downloads.


  • Number tiles- Another hallmark of ShillerLearning’s materials are our number tiles. You will recognize how these are used if you are familiar with the Montessori Stamp Game. Students use these to build equations as they move on from the base ten materials. The number tiles are the final transition in moving from concrete (base ten materials and number cards) to abstract work (just pencil and paper or mental math) in the basic operations. Instead of the unit cubes, we use the “1” tiles; instead of ten rods, we use the “10” tiles; instead of the hundreds of flats, we use “100” tiles; instead of the thousand cubes, we use “1000” tiles.


  • Card games- Divide a deck of cards evenly between two players. Each player flips two cards at a time and multiples the amount shown on their cards. The player with the highest equation takes the other players cards. Play continues until someone runs out of cards, or for a set amount of time. Creating multiplication games with materials already on hand is an excellent way to build skills!


  • Dominos- These already have two numbers on each piece. Multiply the two numbers together. Play a game similar to the approach above. You can also adapt the regular dominos game so that players can place a piece that has the same answer as one already on the board.


  • Cooking- Following a recipe is an excellent way to work on multiplication skills. From measuring ingredients, adapting measurements, adjusting recipe size, and adjusting serving skills. Cooking together is an excellent way to work on math together.


  • Flash cards- ShillerLearning’s flashcards are an excellent resource. These cards help children learn facts without just rote memorization. Each card demonstrates how to make the equation out of our base 10 materials as well.


Check out all our math songs on these albums:

Like this? Check out our Math Kits to help teach your children more about money. They help children understand the concept of money, make change, and other practical money skills.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Teaching Kids About Money

Teaching Kids About Money in Fun and Easy Ways

The holiday shopping season is well upon us. This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about teaching kids about money. We can begin to teach our practical money skills such as responsible spending, budgeting, buying choices, and money management. These are great skills not only for holiday spending but all year long. By laying a foundation for wise money management now, we set our kids up for life.

Tips for Teaching Kids About Money


  • Switch to cash- It is a much more hands-on way for kids to *get* money. They can help you count out money at the store, grab the exact amount of cash budgeted, count change, etc. Plus study after study has shown that we spend less when we use cash so it’ll help you save money too!


  • Teach value early- With ShillerLearning’s materials, even young children begin to grasp the concept of money. We make it hands-on, fun, and easy to teach. Children will have fun playing store and you’ll be pleased they’re learning about money!


  • Set a budget- Working on the budget as a family is an incredible way to teach children about money. While you may not want to disclose all the details about your finances with them, budget what you can. They could take part in setting the grocery budget or budget for your next vacation.


  • Let them take the reins- I have a friend who gives her kids a $50 budget for their 9th birthday party. The children are responsible for figuring out what they want to do for their birthday. Mom and Dad are there to help with pricing research as needed. But the kid handles making all the final decisions, purchases, and sticking to a budget. Every year they get a larger birthday party budget and more responsibilities. If they don’t want to have a party, they can choose to keep the money. My friend has had kids take the family out to dinner, shop thrift stores for a costume party, and hire balloon guys! These kids have thrown AWESOME parties. The kids have an incredible sense of pride and get awesome practical money skills too!


  • Help them with their BHAG- Have you heard of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG? Do you have a tiny entrepreneur who wants to start a business? Help them reach their dreams. Even if they only pull in a few bucks a year, the financial benefits they’ll gain will be incredible.


  • Teach through play- Play is the #1 teaching tool for young kids. Teaching kids about money through play will help lessons stick for life. Children LOVE to play with money. Give them plenty of opportunities to play store, bank, budget setting, and “grown up” money use.

  • Allow them freedom with their money, with limits- When your children earn money allow them to decide what they want to do with it. Make sure to set solid limits. Some families say kids need to divide their money up into different categories (Save, Share, Spend, College, Activities are common categories). Other parents say kids can spend their money on whatever they’d like without running it by mom and dad first. While some parents want a parental pass at the spending first. Set clear limits for your family values and let kids make independent choices within those values.


  • Put teens through a financial management program- There are some fantastic programs out there! If teens head off to college with solid financial knowledge, they won’t have to live the “poor college kid life.”


  • Teach the value of work- Try offering extra jobs around the house or give the kids a chance to help neighbors or relatives. These should be tasks beyond their daily chores. Tasks that you don’t require them to do but they may choose to do for money. If they want extra money, great, they can do the job!


  • Have open communication- Explain to your children how you make big money decisions. Share with them about what the process is like. Let them hear some of your internal dialogue and decision-making process out loud. This helps build a better understanding of how to decide what to spend on. When going through the ShillerLearning Language Arts lessons on principled thinking, include money topics in the discussion.


  • Include current events- Share money-related news articles, videos, and TED Talks as a springboard for conversation.


  • Ask them questions- The best way to check in with what our kids know is to ask. Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t work out. Check in with your kids from time to time. Ask them questions about money, see what they are learning and understanding. That way you’ll know if they’re misunderstanding or not quite getting the values you’re teaching.

What are your tips for teaching kids about money?

Like this? Check out our Math Kits to help teach your children more about money. They help children understand the concept of money, make change, and other practical money skills.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Make Division Easy With Montessori Materials

Make Division Easy for Kids with Montessori Decimal Materials

Division With Montessori Base 10 Decimal Materials


When most of us think about learning division, we remember sitting in our lesson looking at a funny looking symbol and talking about ways to split apart pizza. Typically division isn’t introduced until the middle of Elementary school. In a Montessori school, or Montessori homeschool, division concepts are presented as early as five-years-old.   These concepts can be grasped from a young age with the help of Montessori golden beads, or the ShillerLearning decimal materials.

Montessori Makes Math Concepts Easy to Grasp With Hands-On Learning


Math doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating for the homeschool parent to teach. Division especially seems to be something that parents worry about introducing. With the Montessori method, a division can be presented in a non-threatening fun way which allows the child to thrive. By utilizing manipulatives and hands-on multisensory learning, we engage the child in many ways which help reinforce the concepts in a kid-friendly way.

The decimal materials are our starting point for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They are utilized in counting, sorting, balancing, and much more throughout preschool and elementary education. By utilizing something children are already familiar with, new concepts are less scary to learn. Decimal materials provide a visual, tactile, and kinesthetic way to learn division. By engaging the auditory system through songs and listening to directions, division becomes a whole-body experience that sticks.

What are the Montessori Decimal Materials?


Traditionally in a Montessori school, you will find a golden bead set utilized for decimal materials. While these sets are beautiful, they’re also large and quite costly. The ShillerLearning decimal materials serve as a more cost effective option which take up less space as well.


These materials are kept in a wooden tray out on the shelf. There is 1 plastic 1,000 cube, as well as 16 cardboard 1,000 cubes. 27 hundred flats, 27 ten rods, and 100 unit cubes. These materials form the basis for grasping number size as well as serving as manipulatives for solving equations.  


Check out what these materials look like on a homeschool shelf in this video:

Beginning Division With Young Students.

The decimal materials are introduced very early on. First, the unit cubes are introduced as children learn numbers 0-9, then 10 rods are introduced and children work on numbers up through 99. Children also learn how to exchange 10 units for a tens rod. Next, hundreds flats and thousands of cubes are incorporated for making larger numbers and addition and subtraction. When we get to multiplication and division, these materials are familiar to the student.


A student’s first introduction to division comes in building numbers with unit cubes.  

Here is an example of how that first lesson might look:

  • The teacher or parent asks the student to make a number with unit cubes (let’s use eight as our example)

  • The student takes out eight unit cubes and places them in a row at the top of the work area

  • Next, the teacher, or parent, shows the student how to break the group of eight into two even groups of four

  • Groups of two are made next

  • Then, the eight cubes are separated into eight groups of one

  • Last we take out 32 unit cubes and demonstrate all the different groupings of eight that are possible


As you can see, this is a basic division made easy. This can be repeated with any number so long as it divides evenly.


Another great early division lesson begins in a similar way to building numbers. A 3 or 4 digit number can be created with the number cards. Typically, a number that can easily be divided by two is best to start with. The student will then build that number out of the decimal materials. Next, the parent or teacher says “now we will divide this number by two” and will demonstrate how to divide the materials into two even piles. Together the number representing each group will be determined and made out of number cards. If desired, the materials can be combined again and broken apart further as above.

Moving Away From The Decimal Materials


Once a student feels comfortable and confident using the decimal materials for basic division as above, we move into more advanced skills. Students will use the decimal materials to work on division with remainders, division with exchange, and will work through many division problems with the materials.  


The ultimate goal in Montessori is for a student to move onto being able to solve equations without the materials at all.


The first transition away from decimal materials is division using number tiles only. The process is similar to the process of learning division with the decimal materials.   Typically around third or fourth grade, we begin to move away from using decimal materials, but students may use them as long as they need.

The decimal materials are used in over 60 lessons in our Math Kit I. Check it out today and get your student on the path to learning division.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >