I wonder where, mathematically, I would be had these resources been available
when I was in primary and secondary school. I was accelerated beginning in 3rd
grade, which meant, essentially, teaching myself from a textbook with little to
no guidance. By 10th grade, when I faced trigonometry with a student teacher
whose Chinese accent was beyond my understanding, as was the new material, I
gave up. No more high school math for me. Which meant repeating the same
concepts I learned in high school when I went to college, then again years later
when I went back to college to finish my degree. I aced it the second and third
times through (because it was no longer new, just refreshed), but I could
possibly have enjoyed it enough to pursue higher math.
My kids were homeschooled up until around middle school. I made them read their
lessons and do the work, only coming to me if they needed extra help, but
basically they were self-taught, and had to correct every mistake after I graded
their papers.They've excelled in math through AP Calculus for
the oldest, and through 9th grade so far for the next, because they understand
HOW to learn, how to read the textbooks, and are not dependent on the teacher to
spoon feed it to them.
When parents begin to understand that textbook publishers and consultants are
involved in a big "scam" to keep themselves relevant by producing
ridiculously complicated "new and improved" texts and pedagogy, they
will once again be in charge of their children's learning. I
suggest Saxon Math combined with Kumon Math (both written so the student can be
self-taught) as a great combination. Parents, if your children do
100 computational problems a day using Kumon Math, which tests time against
accuracy, they will be way ahead of what the public schools are doing. Teach them to read and to do the basic computations at home. Don't
rely on the school. These new common core standards are an example
of yet another "dumb down" in education. The Utah State Office of
Education rejected our proposal to bring in one of the original common core
standards writers who was critical of the new standards and who recognized the
superior standards in Massachusetts. That's how invested the education
bureaucracy is in continuing federal funds, which have only held Utah back.
Great article! I am passing it on to parents through PTA. I know there is
a lot of concern about helping kids transition to the new state math standards
and these resources will be helpful.Even more important are the signals
that parents, and even some teachers, send that math is hard and to be avoided.
Kids can focus and persist if they see their math homework as puzzles,
mysteries, or games instead of "problems". We don't need to make it
easier, or spoon feed them. But encourage them to work on it, find those helpful
resources, and celebrate the wins.
worf: Actually math has evolved since the fifties. Some is similar, but discrete
mathematics, logic, number systems, vector and matrix algebra, have more
emphasis in lowergrades now that they're so applicable to computational
sciences (computers). Even geometry has changed, thanks to the advent of
computers (no more slide-ruler). There are more advanced offerings at the High
Schools now than when I was in HS. I have a daughter who will be doing 2nd year
Calculus by her Sr. Year, my school offered an intro to Calculus, and I was a
year behind that, and still considered a math geek. (Honestly, I don't see
a huge benefit of being a couple years behind in math, as long as you keep at
it. I felt the College environment was much more conducive to learning advanced
math, than HS.)The main reasons I can't help my kid with Math
is that they don't have textbooks... they have workbooks with lots of
problems, but meager examples/explanations. This makes the student entirely
dependent on the math teacher's method which may or may not be the only way
to solve the given problem.
Beleive me it gets worse, the older the child, the more complicated the math.
Thankfully many universities offer help on the web. MIT has a calculus tutorial
on UTube. My husband and I are both "math" people, however after 30+
years one tends to forget. When our son was in Calculus 3 he had to go find his
own help. I can't even remember Calculus 1 to help my high school
children, thankfully they have to have their brother help.
This statement was golden:"In our culture we tend to communicate
that it's all about being smart — you've got it or
don’t," Moore said. "In Eastern countries, it's very much
about hard work and being persistent.”
Just use the teaching methods from the fifties, and sixties. Nothing hard about
that. Math was much better understood then.