To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?

"My 5 year old son keeps asking to do more math, and I have to keep explaining to him that school is over, and it's summer vacation now!" Sorry, but you're doing home education wrong. Anytime anyone, of any age, expresses an interest in math, I'm happy to oblige. Home education requires very little "formal… Continue reading To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?

A Little Calculation

Can I have a few seconds? Researchers have been videotaping classes, taking notes, making an estimate of how much time children are actually receiving instruction, as opposed to walking, listening to announcements, handing in or receiving papers, and so forth; it comes to 90 minutes of actual instruction per school day. But even that tally… Continue reading A Little Calculation

Steal Not Thy Child’s Time

My then-wife and I homeschooled two children until they reached ages 12 and 14. I'm also proud and delighted to be a grandfather, that my daughter has been home- or un-schooling her children (seven, aged 1-13 years), and that my son is very engaged with the education of his own. Unlike most dads, I initiated… Continue reading Steal Not Thy Child’s Time

Math: Process Matters

Math probably causes more apprehension among students and parents than any other subject. What if you (and your teachers) are doing it wrong? Take a bird's eye of Monday's "speed test" of multiplication facts: In a class of 30 students, one or two wunderkinder speed through the trial; others lag behind; the bottom ten or… Continue reading Math: Process Matters

Why Was Homeschool Attractive To Me?

Way back in the day, I persuaded my then-wife to homeschool our children. She was a hard sell, which is another story. But why was I so interested? Why did this matter to me? It comes down to two things. First, from day one, I believed that math and reading classes were a colossal waste… Continue reading Why Was Homeschool Attractive To Me?

Math Concepts vs. Math Facts

A young fellow, six years old, recently made the delightful discovery that even numbers are made of pairs of other numbers. In fact, most mathematicians would define even numbers in a similar way: any even integer, divided by two, has a remainder of zero. Adding the quotient to itself is the same as doubling the… Continue reading Math Concepts vs. Math Facts

Better Language For Better Math Skills

There is a lot of meat in this article about kids and early math learning, but today I shall focus on one aspect: the difference between the English language and some others. Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children… Continue reading Better Language For Better Math Skills

Math From Three To Seven

I must thank Luis Armendariz for pointing me to the PDF of this book, Math From Three To Seven, The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers, by Alexander K. Zvonkin. This translation (the original was written in Russian) began with an observation by an American mathematician that Eastern European mathematicians, including Russians, are particularly… Continue reading Math From Three To Seven

Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

Many people who talk about "culture wars" are like bulls distracted by a red cape: aiming at the wrong place entirely. They're looking for certain results instead of methods; at ends rather than means. This way leads to confusion. A growing body of research about education is finally paying attention to the crucial role of… Continue reading Building Scholastic Culture In The Family

Government Schools: Public Good or Public Bad?

Public goods, as the term is used by professional economists, are both nonexcludable and nonrivalrous. The typical school is an enclosed building with classrooms, which have doors. Those outside the door do not learn from or benefit from that class, except indirectly. This education is therefore an excludable good. Contrast this with a radio broadcast… Continue reading Government Schools: Public Good or Public Bad?