Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why there is more to life (and math) than long division (thought for the day)

"In our age of calculators and computers, we must question how much time even good students of arithmetic should spend working pages of problems of ever-increasing size....Curriculum improvements come slowly in the school world. But homeschoolers have an advantage. With just a decision of one or two people, you can make any changes you want. Will you skip the pages with three- and four-place divisors and let your children, instead, learn some BASIC computer programming? The choice is up to you."--Ruth Beechick, You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully (1984)

P.S. In case you're too young to know this, BASIC here refers to the programming language, not the fact that it was basic.

1 comment:

Sebastian said...

We traveled a lot when our older kids were learning arithmetic. One of the treats of travel was Dad Math. They would get a sheet of wacky problems based on what they had recently mastered.
If they had learned carrying, then it was adding two 10-digit numbers. Or subtracting them. Or some long multiplication problem.
Not because we wanted them to be mental calculators. But to show them that the same process that worked on a two digit number still applied with bigger numbers, just with more steps.
But at some point, it is ok to move on and grab a calculator.

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