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The ABCs of 1-2-3
Volume 118, Program 39
1/30/2013
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We all know you need the ABCs for reading, but what are the building blocks of math? Find out on today’s Home School Heartbeat with your host Mike Smith and his guest, Henderson State University math professor Fred Worth.

Mike Smith:
On our last program, you gave us some great suggestions for how homeschool parents can bring up their student’s math scores. Fred, can you tell us about the importance of sequence in teaching math, as well?

Fred Worth:
Sure, Mike. If you’re building a house, the order in which you do things is obviously going to be important. You don’t start off trying to build the roof. You start with the foundation and do things in a certain order. Mathematics is no different.

Mathematics is fairly unique in academics. It and maybe language arts are the most sequence-dependent subjects. We don’t start trying to teach complicated algebra until after children have learned their basic arithmetic skills. So it’s important that homeschool parents pay very close attention to the level of understanding their children have as they work through the mathematics.

A lot of problems in mathematics arise because previous material wasn’t learned on a deep enough level. Lack of understanding may not show up right away—it might show up a couple or three years later. Parents should regularly give their children the opportunity to play teacher. Let the children teach how to work a problem, and make them explain why they do what they do. Make sure they understand what they’re doing, but you also want to make sure they understand why.

If a child struggles with mathematics, don’t stress about how fast you go through the materials. I’d rather have a student only get through algebra I, but really understand it, than go through lots of mathematical content with minimal understanding.

Mike:
That’s great advice, Fred! I’m sure all our listeners will find it very helpful. 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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