Negative numbers can be scary for some, but it shouldn't have to be. An understanding of the number line should be enough to get the general concept.
But, we all know what should be isn't always the case.
My goal with math for Jon during his younger years was to introduce to him basic fundamentals to allow him to work with those concepts for years before digging deeper into more complex math. We are right at the beginning of Pre-Algebra and am so glad I focused a ton of those fundamentals.
A few years ago he decided to try out basketball. He had never played before but wanted to give it a shot. He made it onto the all-star team. He was shocked. Everyday, he would spend hours outside practicing his layups or drills his coach had showed him to work on at home.
We would spend time working on math, then we'd shoot some hoops. We'd go back to math for a bit, then shoot some hoops again. Eventually, he wanted to play a game that he made up.
For every hoop that you make, add one, for every hoop that you miss, take one away. He kept score throughout the game and was quick to let me know when I was lagging behind.
I saw this as a learning opportunity so I played along for a while then decided to test my theory.
I explained that the "take one away" is like a negative number and the "add one" is like a positive number. That brought up the discussion of the basics of working with negatives.
Sure, we have rules to learn and practice to do, but I know that he understands what he needs to in order to solidify the concepts in his mind. Working with integers is going to be a huge part of his schooling over the next few years and I am so glad that I took the time to mention this basic idea all those years ago.
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.