Tag Archives: associative property

How to learn how to learn. Or teach.

Tons of problems face us.  Well, mostly K and the boys.  But overall, how to learn how to learn and teach.

I get the impression we have worried too much about what to teach.  What curricula.  What book.  What subjects.  All right, the list of subjects is pretty important.  We are seeing a repeat of what we saw five years ago in searching the online home school community.  That is, the mind-numbing amount of rubbish available to be taught to kids for religious reasons.

It seems pretty clear to me that people who teach their own spawn at home for reasons of quality education are in the minority of those who do this.  What this means to K is that she has to wade through, in engineering terms, a significant amount of noise to get to any useful signal.

That is one of the main purposes for this blog.  We are secular.  Atheist.  We have no interest in teaching our boys dogmatic mythology.  You will find none of that around here.  We aim to have a very high signal to noise ratio, indeed.

K has her first little taste of what is to come, this week.  The boys are off for the next five days.  H has some mathematics homework he needs to master by next Monday.  Simple enough stuff, multiplication and division.  Except for some small, absolutely vital details:

They have not even discussed the idea of the associative property of numbers.  H has no idea that A x B is always the same as B x A.  Accordingly, he doesn’t just instantly know that 2 x 6 = 6 x 2 = 12.  Instead, they are simply expecting him to memorize those equations, and others like it.

Dammit, once you know these rules of arithmetic, they work to solve all problems.  Once he knows that rule, he can work with any size equation of that form.

For us, we have to analyze and try and figure out why this homework assignment isn’t simply obvious to him and discover what he is lacking to understand it.  I actually expect we will have to regress a bit with both boys to rebuild foundations they have probably not been given.