Eyewitness to Dumbing Down


people-316506_1280Uh Oh! We’re in trouble!

We run a educational bookstore business, and we often hire employees to help us. Usually these are college students. Recently we decided to give a simple math test to our potential employees as a way to screen out those who may make costly computation errors when working for us. I was stunned at the ease of the standard industry test form we found: simple division and multiplication, addition and subtraction that required “carrying” (“regrouping”). Nothing very advanced. I know that my 11-year-old could do it easily, as could yours!

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Opposite Math


Hot . . . Cold

Wet . . . Dry

New . . . Old

Open . . . Shut

Children can grasp the idea of opposites at a young age. If you take advantage of this concept when teaching math, it cuts your work in half!

Instead of teaching subtraction, teach “opposite addition”. If you know that 3 + 5 = 8, then you can do the opposite. When you see this problem: 8 – 5 =___, just make it into a backwards addition problem. Start at the opposite end (the back) and add this way: what number plus 5 equals 8 ?

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Math and Abstract Thinking


Our state requires all homeschoolers to test each year. My daughter scored well for reading, spelling and language arts but not so well on her math. On abstract thinking and estimation, she scored under 1 percent! Math has been really difficult for her—she has a hard time grasping the concept. She is a facts learner. 5 x 5 = 25—that is the fact but when I have her work a problem like 55 x 5, she just sits and stares at the paper. Unless I am right there with her going over step-by-step, she cannot do the problem. She says things to me like . . . “too hard”, “don’t know what you’re even talking about!”. I currently use ABEKA math (have for years) but am wondering if Singapore Math would be better. What do you recommend? [Read more…]

Long Division Troubles?

christmastreelouisaSome children are stumped by long division. They can be progressing along just fine, learning their times tables and doing well on their math lessons, when suddenly long division enters the picture and math becomes a tearful subject. When I taught Emily (9) how to do long division, we encountered some problems. In explaining it to her, I realized that I was using an old tried-and-true, failproof method that I’d learned somewhere that seems to help every child along in learning long division. Here it is, just in case you ever need it!

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Hates Math


I homeschool my three girls. My oldest is 9 and works 2 grades ahead, and works independently. My middle child, 7, is advanced and just as intelligent. She absolutely hates sitting and doing worksheets, especially in Math. I am getting extremely frustrated and this in turn frustrates her. Neither of us is happy. She loves to sing, listen to music and work on the computer. Help! [Read more…]

Messed up in Math


Our granddaughter goes to public school and she is struggling so hard with math. The school has really messed her up and is teaching her things backwards. When we try to help her it confuses her. They are teaching her to do math problems from left to right, to do all of her borrowing before she even starts to subtract right to left. She hates math because of it and it is so hard to get to work on her math homework. We tell her how important math is and how she will use it the rest of her life. Do you have any suggestions that would help us? [Read more…]

Keep on Schedule or Let ’em Fly?


I just started homeschooling my 5 year old boy who loves math. I bought the Calvert Kindergarten curriculum because I had no idea what I was doing and thought I needed a lot of structure (which is what I got). It seems to be too slow for him and sometimes boring. He already knows how to do simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication in his head because he is always asking us math questions (especially related to money). He carries around a calculator all day and comes to tell me what 572 plus 12 is. He wants to know about millions and billions and beyond. We have never done addition or beyond on paper but it seems he is ready for that. Should I continue on with these lesson plans as they are outlined or let him go on ahead as he wants to do? [Read more…]

Memorizing the Times Tables

My grandson Isaac

My grandson Isaac


My 11-year-old boy is still trying to memorize his times tables. He’s finally gotten his 5’s and 9’s (and of course 0’s, 1’s and 2’s) but the rest seem to be hard for him. I’m wondering what we can do without spending much. [Read more…]

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