To Teach or Not to Teach Math?


I’ve been spending some time researching educational options lately, trying to decide what curricula would be best for my children next year, and today I found a link to a video about some math books that are being used in public schools.  If you haven’t thought much about math for years, you might be interested to see what they’re teaching kids these days.  It’s ridiculous!  Some of these things might be a good introduction to the concepts of multiplication and division, but it’s appalling to think of never teaching them more than this.  NO WONDER so many high school graduates don’t know how to do basic math without a calculator.  One of these books even says that there’s really no point in spending much time on learning algorithms (how to solve a math problem) because a calculator is easier, quicker, and more accurate.  Well, ooookay!

So the question that haunts me is…if you don’t teach your child math, are you really teaching him to think?  Does a child learn all the necessary problem solving and logic skills necessary to a functional life?  I really question it. 



Edit:  I just discovered that there is a two-part response to this video.  It’s a good, thoughtful view from a college math professor.  He agrees that there is a problem, but disagrees on what exactly the problem is. 

Links:  First part of rebuttal                            Second part of rebuttal




About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to To Teach or Not to Teach Math?

  1. BooksForMe says:

    I’m with you. Teaching math teaches so much more than just how to calculate!

  2. ElizabethDNB says:

    We do an Aleks online Math course.  I do want my kids to learn Math, but disagree with the boring way that it is often taught with pages of the same type of problem.  You get it or you don’t.  If you do move on, if you don’t it needs to be explained to you a different way, not just making you do more of the same, but re-presented.  So I love our Math because it asks you twice and depending on how quickly you get it that is it until it asks you again once the next day as a review.  But there is no point in moving on if you do not have the basics, like the times tables, down.  You will just be slowed down and unable to move onto even basic pre-algebra.  I do think Math can be a tool in teaching logic, although I think Philosiphy, Literature, studying History and Current Events, Sudoku, crosswords, brain teasers and other word puzzels can achieve the same results.  I do not give Math the same place of importance as History and English.  I do think you should have a good grounding in the basics. 

  3. homefire says:

    @ElizabethDNB – Sounds like we have about the same philosophy on math.  I have trouble teaching it, though, because *I* love math, and think it is such fun that I want to spend a lot more time on it than the kids do.  I’m glad to hear the plug for Aleks–I’ve looked at it and wondered if it’s really good.  It’s not really in our budget, though.  Seems like I’ve never found any math that suits me exactly.  Singapore is wonderful at teaching concepts, but has no drill, and I wasn’t smart enough to add more of that early on.  It was okay for the boys–they seemed to pick up the facts easily, but dd still struggles, which I feel bad about.

  4. mamaglop says:

    Our local schools use something called Math Investigations.  The old fashioned teachers have to be surrepticious about giveing them flash card drills, one woman doing it when her kids were lining up to go to lunch.  I use Teaching Textbooks for Algebra after working with Saxon for 1 1/2 years on it.  Teaching Textbooks is great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s