Should we teach math early at age, five or six years old?
Or should we teach it later, maybe after 10 years of age?
Or wait until 18 years of age to be teaching math to kids ?
The answer might be obvious to you, but I’d like to share a few stories to help you decide what is best for your family.
I didn’t think about this much this topic until our youngest, Hunter, was starting first grade. Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, authors of Teaching the Trivium, stayed with us for a couple days. Laurie questioned me on why Hunter was doing math at age 6. My immediate response was, “He’s good at math. It’s his favorite subject.”
My discussion with Laurie encouraged me to think about when my I should teach math. Should I be teaching math in the early ages or should I be teaching math at an older age? Where does math play a part in my kids’ education?
With the math & science society we live in, you would assume math should be taught every year your kids are in school. However, I would like to suggest a different approach for homeschoolers.
Let’s start by looking at how math has been taught to those who make a difference in society.
Teaching Math to Kids in History
For centuries, sons of nobility and gentry did not study math. Mathematical teaching was unknown at that time. Children could not divide 2021 by 43, or I should say the ordinary boy, because most boys were the ones going to school.
Eton College, where the princes go to school, is the posh-est school in England. Until this century, there was no such thing as a teacher of arithmetic in schools like Eton. Math was not compulsory until 1851. The poor boy sometimes studied it, but the rich boy did not need it. (Did you catch that?)
Also in Germany, math was only available in commercial classes like trades and skill classes.
What does that tell you?
Mathematics wasn’t taught at an early age, it wasn’t even compulsory until the 1800s.
Before you bow up & leave, I’m not saying, “Don’t teach math.” I’m suggesting we think about what’s the best use of our time during the different stages of education. Waiting to teach math a little bit later might help your kids be more ready. Teach math when they begin thinking abstractly, around 10 or 12 years old.
If you wait to teach math, it frees up hours during your homeschool day for more important activities when your child is developing language skills. You can spend more time on vocabulary and language during the Grammar stage.
Research says the best time for a child to learn a foreign language is when they are young. That’s when their brain is developing in language skills. So, I suggest spend the younger years in language skills.
Yet, most homeschoolers want to section off an hour a day to teach math.
But can you really wait to start teaching homeschool math?
Next week, I’ll share a few case studies in when to start teaching math to kids.
Question: When do you think is the best time to start teaching mat to kids? You can leave a comment by clicking here.