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An online friend has a question about your website. You should create an account and answer questions. The Well-Trained Mind is a group of thousands of homeschoolers, teachers, parents who are serious about education.
And worse than that they ask "why would you want to?"
Many will look at this and it will go in the TLDRI file. (Too Long Didn't Read It.)
I don't have the time or patience to answer questions in forums; you may want to post this with some editing or post the whole thing I don't care....I barely have time to produce vids as it is, and to build web pages and to make blog posts...people will try and get as much as they can for free. I have found this out the hard way. To include advice and so forth. People no longer have an excuse for not using their blocks...I have hours and hours of math vids up now as well as pages of instruction and screencasts.
Use a search engine. There is only one Crewton Ramone. Search by topic...Crewton Ramone Fractions, Crewton Ramone Square roots, Crewton Ramone Third Power Algebra, etc. I have one home schooler who is helping me do tweets...because I don't have time for that either...Perhaps you'd like to pitch in and organize links by topic...or find somebody who would...I bet they don't want to work for free though although they fully expect me to do so.
With a password they get links to more organized pages and on my website; if you go to the addition page, the vids are about addition...and there are links to more pages although by no means is it up to date and complete so you might search Crewton Ramone Addition, or Crewton Ramone Addends...and start watching the vids that interest you or your kids. Eventually, it will be worth the password just for the organization but that day is not today.
People want more structure. There isn't one very much on purpose. Like the books, the idea is to take/make concurrent lessons...you do it all at once the same way you learn language. You don't spend a year on verbs and then another on nouns...by the same token fractions can be used to teach addition and multiplication, algebra can be used to teach fractions or any math (it is after all generic math), or you could just fool around with addends by themselves or then teach multiplication using addends and if you are doing addends you should see sum subtraction...get it sum? (I crack myself up.) If you are doing multiplication you should see some division and square roots too.
The whole freaking problem with the modern ineffectual way of teaching math is that it is segmented to the point that students don't see the natural relationships between things like the inverse functions of multiplication and division (or even addition and subtraction) because they spend a year multiplying and then a year dividing and hating it and then have to be taught these are inverse functions. Let your students discover these things while you direct them. For many parents they will be learning and discovering right along with them because your math experience is also shall we say, "challenged." Play with your kids and learn together: I can't imagine a more beautiful parenting or learning experience than learning together. Go down a path and see where it goes. It doesn't have to be the same for everyone. I would say start algebra right away but from there the paths should diverge and merge in an almost endless combination of lessons the sum of which ends up being "the mathematics."
I don't care if you have a degree in mathematics...if you start playing with the manipulatives and watching videos you will begin to actually understand the math you were taught and be able to impart this knowledge on your students. I have had several parents with degrees in math or engineering sit in and be amazed that in 5 minutes I can cover 4 or 5 concepts and they can see how they all go together for the first time. And they "get it." People tell me I am a gifted teacher. I disagree: I just have good tools and try to show people how to use them. If they will spend a little time they will learn...sometimes they have to un-learn first. I implore them, once they start making discoveries NOT to take those discoveries away from their students: give them the same ah-ha moments you have. The natural instinct is to tell them whatever it is you just discovered instead of letting them discover it on their own. Then they can get the same ah-ha experience you had. It's fun. It can be addicting.
This requires only one skill: patience. Something I am short one most of the time. Set up a situation where they will discover the rules for themselves. Let them make up their own rules and see if they work. Sometimes they don't but many times they do...and you don't all have to be doing the same thing at the same time in the same order. This is not to say that things couldn't be better organized at the house of math...because they could; however, they don't need to be at the moment.
The ability to count to nine, form a rectangle and tell whether something is same or different is all that is requited to get started. (The five basic concepts.) With those skills you can get started anywhere in basic ops, or fractions or percentages or fractions or algebra or trig. If you don't have those skills there is a counting page that can help you help them acquire it. What do you want to do today (when it comes to math)? Do that.
You put them in a situation where the can not fail and where they will learn math concepts by playing around with problems and using the blocks to help solve the problems and you progress with layer after layer of deeper understanding. People naturally want a curriculum that is the SAME for everybody. That is the one size fits all way of thinking and it should be pretty obvious by now it doesn't work. Even in English which we have become fairly proficient at teaching there are many ways to teach people to read and some styles work better for some than for others. English is a messed up language with more exceptions than rules yet we all speak it and can spell and use grammar to varying degrees. Math is the opposite all rules, very few exceptions and those don't come until you get very, very far down the road.
Because of this people try and make an uniform method where all students learn the same way at the same time...which is evidenced in the question, "is there some organization?"...ie, what do I do first and then what do I do and then what...? This is natural so there is a sample lessons page. There will be a getting started page too one day since there seems to be some demand (of which this little diatribe will one day be part). Meantime just get started. I am in year 3 of a 10 year plan. For now the big picture will have to wait, the little picture is what do I do NOW with my kid or student. What you do now is get started. Where ever you want.
Like a library you go in and find what interests you. It does have some precise organization but the prerequisite is simply that you be able to read and nobody tells what to read or in what order. My website has a navigation bar on the left that is roughly in the traditional order in which mathematics is presented. You certainly don't have to go in order from top to bottom though. Same with the books from Mortensen Math there are five strands. Where do you start? Where ever you like. Arithmetic, Measurement, Problem Solving, Algeba, Calculus...do a few books in each...DO NOT do all the Algebra Books, THEN all the Measurement Books, THEN all the calc books etc...do a few in each in any order you like (I'm referring to the strands you start at book 1). Some people find this disconcerting. Probably because that have been damaged but their local public learning indoctrination institution. Most children find the freedom liberating and FUN. If you have four kids each will learn differently. The method accommodates this, indeed it facilitates this. They go at their own pace and travel down the topics that interest them most. They do have to cover all of it but how they cover it and what order they cover it in is left up to you and them.
The same applies to my vids and pages. Some will require that you have watched or understand more complex concepts as we go along but for the most part you can get started anywhere and if you do run across some that are "advanced" then it should be easy to find the vids or pages that make it so you can understand and use the vid or page...and it is still good to watch the vid anyway, that way you know where you are going so to speak when you go back. What we have here is a uniform methodology for the visualization of mathematics. But not a uniform methodology for the order of presenting it. That part is up to the individual...or the individual teacher or parents.
This has always been the stumbling block, teachers want a uniform curriculum laid out nicely for them and Jerry Mortensen never really made one and neither have I. The folks over at Math U See have but in so doing they neutered the power of the method by waiting far too long to teach and introduce algebra concepts and they basically blended the current method of step by step segmented instruction and partially showed how to present some concepts using manipulatives. A step in the right direction but still several steps short. I am not putting them down by any means, if you knew the whole story there, you'd be amazed that their company even exists and it is testament to the fact that there is a great need for advancements in mathematics education.
We must deconstruct the mathematics through play and reconstruct it thoughtfully through play and directed discovery. This works universally. I have proven this countless times over the years with every kind of student imaginable from the most gifted to the most challenged. The moment you try and get everybody to play the same...you aren't playing anymore. Now I will agree that Crewton Ramone's House of Math is very much akin to The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler but it's getting better. And a password will go a long way to clearing this up because the password protected pages are more organized (I said "more" I didn't say completely organized) and the more money I make doing this the more time I can spend doing it. But even then one person will get a password and then 20 people will have access. (I have stat counters and I can do a little math you know.) I find those self same people will bitch about it not being more organized and that it needs more of this or that...or that I should spend more time answering their inane and banal questions for free when everybody has a search engine.
I also have zero patience for the many doubting Thomases who ask questions about whether this really works or if you need to use manipulatives really or if the young students actually really understand what they are doing and other such questions from well educated math teachers who are complete failures at teaching mathematics (look around the nation and yet they still fail somehow to perceive this) which causes the urge to well up in me to want to bitch slap their dumb educated asses right through my computer but this is not currently possible or socially acceptable so I will respectfully demur the invitation to partake in these civilized educational forums. I am in the process of grooming a more couth and politically correct representative to do it for me but this too will take time. I have heard decent things about The Well-Trained Mind so perhaps this does not apply to this particular group...other home school groups have proved infuriating just to read, however.
I haven't even gotten around to changing the password which works nicely for those that just spend 5 bucks...but I'm just about to do it. Most people can't believe how much they get for 5 bucks. There would be even more if more people got passwords. A select few understand this simple feat of logic which just reflects the fact that I have a hell of a lot more work to do. Most people are innumerate and their logic and reasoning are fatally flawed so it's not really their fault. They aren't really cheap just stupid.
I am in stage one of a seven stage plan...I may complete stage one in my lifetime but it's not looking very likely. If you are curious stage one involves getting the majority math literate the same way most Americans can read.
PS I am going to make a blog post out of this. It will have links and maybe a pic or two to dress it up...
PPS thanks for the mention on your blog.
BHR aka CR
As if to underscore my point:
Hive Mind Queen Bee
Join Date: Aug 2011
Ladies and gentlemen, the Larry Sanger of elementary math: Crewton Ramone.
Not a good week for us hidebound WTM'ers.
Today, 11:55 AM
Hive Mind Queen Bee
Join Date: Aug 2011
Beth, thanks for sharing. I do intend to re-read later when I'm ready to filter out his condescension but at first glance I'm a bit disgusted.
Mostly if people actually go to my websites I get responses like this:
"I just have to say thank you for your efforts to share your ideas. I've been very ... obsessed! To the exclusion of other things I should be doing! That's a compliment to you. I wish someone had shown me how to factor polynomials with blocks many ages ago."
:) JG, Utah
"All I can say is WOW!"
"My family wonders how I can spend so much time watching videos about math, but it is fun!" ~BS, USA
"This website is crazy. I love free stuff." ~BZ, USA
You have more questions? I have some answers.
Also A Getting Started Page has been added and there will be more getting started pages added eventually. Be sure to scroll down for the pdfs on that page.
And there is also 90 CrowdFundRaiser going on via Indiegogo: