Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Brandon's teacher continued

My husband and I had a very good meeting with Brandon's teacher today. We got to express our concerns. She got to show us her curriculum and some of his work. We were able to "compare notes" on him.

The problem seems to lie in the curriculum. So there doesn't seem to be much that she can do, and sending him to the fourth grade math class won't help (because they use the same thing).

I believe in the educational theory of the trivium. To summarize this: a child passes through three stages of learning as he grows. The first stage is gathering and receiving "knowledge". This is where Brandon is. It lasts generally up to age 12. The second stage is connecting the information in logical order - "understanding" (ages 13-15). And the final stage is the "wisdom" level (ages 16-18) in which understanding continues but the capacity for communication and application peaks.

So that being said, the math curriculum they are teaching my son is much more heavily into "understanding" than it is into "knowledge". For instance they are working a lot with the hundreds charts and asking the kids to notice patterns, form conclusions and come up with theories about it. I think this time would be much better spent memorizing the multiplication tables. When they hit the understanding stage it would be a great time to pull out those hundreds charts and ask them to interpret them.

So I am left with no choice but to teach him math myself. I am frustrated. Any suggestions out there?

2 Comments:

  • At 8:25 AM, Blogger Bruce said…

    Oh if only there was someone in the extended family who could help teach the times tables. Someone who lived nearby.

    And, from a professional educator perspective: this is a fairly universal phenomenon in teaching math. There's a neat article I read by an academic math guy who discovered accidently that his daughter wasn't learning the facts-parts. He did a little research, then a lot of serious, funded research, and found more. He also found that other math-type academics had the same experience with their children, finding out by accident that their kids were not learning the basics.

    This fact--that you wrote about--is the main motive for a lot of homeschoolers, even more than the anti-religious bias of the public schools. We parents want our kids to learn. I know, it seems to be that the main motive for homeschooling is to really be with it in all things Christian, but the reason it became "fashionable" was because there is a problem underneath. Like finding termites behind the aluminum siding. Homeschooling is not the attempt to build a perfect world, but rather to make sure the basic stuff is covered.

     
  • At 4:17 PM, Anonymous teachamum54 said…

    Never home schooled, but teach middle school now and am really surprised at how many of my 6th grade students don't have the facts....especially multiplication tables. I admit I had trouble memorizing these things way back when, but somewhere along the line I picked up aome tricks to help me fill in the "holes" in my table. I think you are rightfully concerned about this curriculum and undertsanding that the teacher needs Brandon to do the work the rest of the class is doing...the burden fall to you to drill basics. Brandon will feel the burden of the extra work and may start saying he hates math (I shudder at those two words in the same sentence as well as art) but I'ld say do it!

     

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