Last week I discussed some ideas about when to start teaching math to kids . In case you missed it you can read it here:
I want to follow up with some case studies that might surprise you.
Case Study #1 in Teaching Math to Kids: Hunter
Hunter was six years old when I decided to take him off formal math studies. He didn’t do math workbooks, or math curriculum until he was 11 or 12 years old. Within a year or two, he completely caught up with all the grades that he missed.
I was pleasantly surprised.
Does that mean he never “did” math in his life?
No. He used math all the time.
Often, he answered math questions faster than his older sister.
Think about it this way. If a child develops a hate for school as we cram lots of subjects into their heads at a young age, we take away the natural love of learning. By the time they’re seven or eight, kids lose their natural excitement for learning.
Case Study #2 in Teaching Math to Kids: Gentry
Losing her love of learning happened with my middle daughter, Gentry. By the time she was 10 years old, she hated math.
At that time, I took her off formal math. I wanted to change her attitude towards math, so we started with a “break” from math curriculum.
I don’t know if she ever fell in love with math, but she did tolerate it better.
When she started her math curriculum again, I gave her a times table and said, “Here is your times table, use it any time you want.”
During those early years, I bought every contraption there was so Gentry could learn multiplication facts. I discovered she would learn her times tables when she was ready or had a need to learn them.
Fast forward a few years . . .
By Algebra, she was fine. She knew all those times tables. I think she got tired of looking up the answers on the chart, so she eventually memorized them on her own. I also think she is not naturally a math person, so it took her longer to learn math.
The irony in this case study is Gentry helped her friends in college math classes. She could figure out a way to solve the problems, and would share that with her friends. Gentry made an A in both freshman math classes, without tutoring help.
Case Studies in Math: Final Thoughts
Just because your child isn’t working through a math workbook or math curriculum doesn’t mean he isn’t “doing” math. Hunter did math on an everyday basis, without a math workbook.
We all do math everyday. How?
When you’re at the store, let your child figure out the discount on a sale item, or how much 5 juice boxes will cost.
When you’re watching the weather channel, let him determine the difference in temperature between your home and Grandma’s home.
You get the idea.
Even if your kids love math, like Hunter loves math & science, it’s okay. I recommended waiting until after 10 to start teaching math to kids .
You might still be thinking, “If they’re good in math, we ought to teach math as early as possible.”
My suggestion continues to be:
Wait until your kids are older.
Use the younger years to spend more time on reading, on language, on having fun, and encouraging a love of learning.
Abstract learning is best at older ages. Your child will better understand the abstract concepts of math after the age of 10. He might even be like Hunter, who won the math award as a sophomore in high school.
No math in Early Years –> Math award in High School
Question: When do you think is the best time to start teaching math to kids? You can leave a comment by clicking here.