Home School Heartbeat Radio Program


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When Johnny Can’t Count
Volume 118, Program 36
1/27/2013
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Is finishing that math assignment just a little less painful than pulling teeth for your homeschool student? Well this week on Home School Heartbeat, host Mike Smith and guest Fred Worth offer suggestions and encouragement for teaching math in your homeschool.

Mike Smith:
I’m joined this week by Dr. Fred Worth, a Henderson State University math professor and veteran homeschool dad. Fred, welcome to the program

Fred Worth:
Well, Mike, thanks for having me!

Mike:
Fred, you have a concern for helping homeschool parents who are struggling in teaching math to their children. Tell us some reasons why parents might see their students having difficulty in math.

Fred:
Mike, one problem that a lot of teachers have—and this is not just homeschool teachers—is teaching mathematics as though it’s just a bunch of number-crunching algorithms and memorization. Yes, there are algorithms, and there is number crunching, but there’s a lot more than just that.

In the early grades, a lot of the material can be done by rote memorization, so a child may be able to do the material, but not really have an understanding of what’s going on. This can fool parents into thinking that children understand the material. So it’s vital to work to help your child really understand what’s going on. Yeah, we want them to be able to say that 4 + 4 is 8, but we’d also like them to understand what that means.

Using manipulatives, which don’t have to cost a lot of money, can be very helpful in demonstrating concepts to your child, such as using dimes and pennies to help your child understand the idea of borrowing and subtraction. Legos can help your children with figuring out areas in geometry. So we want your child to be able to do mathematics, but we’d also like for your child to really understand mathematics.

Mike:
Thanks for those thoughts, Fred. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.


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Dr. Fred Worth has developed a plan of attack for that formidable math challenge, the story problem! Request our free resource sheet, and conquer the story problems in your math curriculum.

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