I just finished reading an article that is absolutely incredibly mind-boggling. This article (Click here to read it) states that a rather large experiment was performed in schools, back around 1930, which showed that children who had no formal math training before sixth grade actually caught up with their peers in math by the end of the sixth grade year, showing that when the brain is developmentally ready, math is learned very quickly. The children were able to learn in one school year what their colleagues had spent six years on. The even more surprising things is that the children who were part of the experiment FAR surpassed their peers in language. These children developed more interest in reading, a better vocabulary, and greater fluency in expression than their peers who had spent so much time trying to learn math in the earlier years. Not only had math study been largely unproductive, but it had cheated them out of time for other activities which would have benefited them more.
I have long suspected that math is shoved onto kids too soon, and this article made me sort of angry. If it has been known for all these years that this system works very well, and the children enjoy school a great deal more, then WHY for crying out loud, have we all been forced to struggle with teaching/learning math in the early grades? Just think, thousands of American children have been taught that math is hard and hateful, when the real problem was that their brains simply weren’t ready to assimilate it. All that time…wasted! And when I think of all the wonderful learning they have sacrificed because they had to spend a great deal of time on math, it’s just terribly frustrating!
Makes me wish that I could start all over, and have the courage to go against the status quo, trying this method of teaching. And it makes me very angry that this method was not adopted nationwide after its success. It is just WRONG that young children are pressured to so that learning becomes a drag. And I suspect that children who struggle with math in the early years often give up, feeling that they will never understand it, so when they actually reach the age where they are developmentally ready for it, they no longer have any desire to try.
I have lamented many times the fact that my children generally want to just “get done with” school, rather than enjoying the process. It is a sad thing that many people see the learning process as a necessary evil, and completely unrelated to their lives. I have enjoyed so much all the things I have learned by homeschooling my children, and now I can’t help lamenting the fact that we could have made it infinitely more enjoyable for them. But, having been brought up in the traditional school system, I simply didn’t know any better. I can only pray that God will be able to bless my efforts anyway.
And I can’t help thinking that this is a good example of how our government works, too: If something has been proven not to benefit the people, go ahead and keep doing it anyway…
Yeah, call me cynical.