I learned early on how to teach math for K-6th grade in one year. My oldest son refused to do math curriculum. I made up for this by using Math Facts to the Max, Times Alive:Times Tables the Fun Way, Family Math, and a few other tools you can find in this math resources post. If he wouldn’t do the typical scope and sequence math progression, then at least he’d know his math facts. Then, when he was about age 12, I decided it was time to hone the rest of his math skills, things like long division, multiplying fractions, and understanding exponents. What happened next astounded me. He filled in the gaps in less than one year. And, no math phobia.
A teacher discovered how to teach math for K-6th grade almost 100 years ago!
In 1929, a superintendent of schools, Benezet, conducted an experiment among elementary school children in New Hampshire. He was able to prove that children can learn K-6 grade math in one year. Furthermore, students who did not receive any formal math instruction until they were at least age 12 performed better than those who did. In addition, the students who participated in his experimental classrooms were the children of poor immigrants, not children of privilege. That way, no one could argue that the children performed better because of an enriched home life.
Verbal skills develop better mathematicians
Rather than teaching rote memorization of math facts, teachers encouraged young students to read and discuss lots of books. Therefore, students and teachers discussed history, literature, geography, and natural sciences and consequently, developed large vocabularies. They were encouraged not only to tell stories, but also to analyze maps, estimate time and distance, and make change for small purchases. Everyone also played games.
However, they did not do math worksheets or memorize formulas. Check out some ways to unschool math that includes some fun ways to do what Benezet’s students did.
The unexpected results showed that they outperformed their traditionally schooled peers on problems that required analysis and problem solving ability. They equaled their peers on calculation ability. Also noteworthy was that none of Benezet’s students had math phobia. Math was easy and natural to them.
Sudbury Schools have also proven how to teach math for K-6th grade
It is hard to believe that the Benezet study is almost a hundred years old and yet, schools keep pushing formal learning to younger and younger age groups. Even homeschoolers often fall prey to the idea of formal math instruction for very young children. In contrast, the Sudbury Valley School, under the direction of Daniel Greenburg, has repeatedly shown in the past 30-40 years that motivated children ages ten and up can learn all of K-6 math in eight weeks. Eight weeks! (If you couple that with learning to read in 30 hours or less, well, we spend an awful lot of time worrying about nothing…)
CTCMath: A great math curriculum for this!
So, if you want to try to teach math for K-6th grade in one year, how would you do that? How would you determine what your child already knows and what gaps he has? How would you avoid unnecessary practice and drill-and-kill? My favorite math curriculum for this is CTCMath.
CTCMath is a self-paced, online math program that can be tailored to your child’s needs from Kindergarten all the way through grade 12. So, you never need anything else and you can use it for your entire family. I didn’t get to use it with my older two children as I didn’t know about it then and I’m not sure it even existed. But, my younger son is a lot like his older brother. He resisted curriculum as a young boy. So, I used a lot of games, music, and fun tools to teach him his math facts before age 12.
He caught up to Algebra in one year
But, when he hit middle school, I felt it was time to fill in the gaps and get ready for high school math. I signed up for CTCMath to help him do that because he could take a placement test and then, I could handpick the lessons. The short videos and practice sets were perfect for him. He worked through the lessons and was ready for high school Algebra in less than one year, even though his previous years of math were pretty relaxed.
And because CTCMath online math program offers lessons all the way through Calculus, I didn’t need to switch him for high school. He and his sister are using CTCMath Homeschool Family Membership to complete their math requirements. His sister, who was behind in math, is now excelling in math and breezing through Geometry because of CTCMath. She is set to finish a a year’s worth of Geometry in just six months! I love that!
Here’s a sample lesson so you can see for yourself.
Ready to teach K-6th grade math in one year? Grab your FREE trial of CTCMath and see your kid soar like mine have!
Benezet, L.P. ?The Teaching of Arithmetic I, II, and III: The Story of an Experiment. Journal of the National Education Association, vol. 24, no. 8, November 1935, pp. 241-44.
Also vol. 24, no. 9, December 1935, pp. 301-303 and vol. 25, no. 1, Jan. 1936, pp. 7-8.