The twins who have both now figured out first had that having fun with math and fooling around are not exactly the same thing, and they both have the time outs to prove it had a great fast fun lesson with math. We learned a few concepts and mostly practiced what we already knew. We practiced addends, algebra and factoring also spent time seeing that multiplication and division "go together".

When 60 minutes seems like 5 minutes I know I'm on the right track. This video basically covers everything we did...it's about half an hour:

The idea is to introduce simple concepts one or two at a time. that way it's never scary or overwhelming. Traditional approaches seem to confuse introducing concepts into bite size pieces with segmentation to the point where the whole is lost. You want to trickle feed the information but the feed has to be continuous and cohesive. What often ends up happening is reduction to the ridiculous where students get lost in computation without seeing the whole picture. They get confused and think computation IS math, instead of understanding that computation is part of doing math.

You can rarely separate the two, just like it is difficult to separate water from milk...although it can be done it's usually better to just drink the milk. I could continue on with this metaphor but I think you get the point. I can't figure out if they end up with water or powdered milk in public schools although if you are thirsty powdered milk isn't going to quench your thirst...

Anyhow, the idea is to keep it simple and keep it at or below the child's level and add "challenges" as they are ready. The worst thing you can do is put a child in a position where they can't succeed. Note who they tell me how easy it is and this is the cue to make it a little harder using two red squares...they get it after a little work, and it's self correcting. Keep the basic concepts in mind as you introduce more math concepts.

See what happens when this approach is used early on...here.

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