Math Ladder

Thank you S.S. for writing in with this question: Why is my child working on fractions in math book at school and on decimals in his math book that you use for your programs curriculum?

Answer: In school there is not enough time to do every chapter in a math book. The average math book between grades K-2 has 22 chapters and between grades 3- high school the average textbook has 19 chapters. The amount of time each day does not allow students to do each chapter in their book. Pages are often skipped sometimes entire chapters are skipped. The chapters chosen are based on teaching standards for each grade as well as teaching the chapters that will be covered on the standardized testing.

Additionally, the textbooks are often not done in sequential order. I’ve had many parents express their confusion and frustration as to how their children could be on chapter 3 in their textbook one week and chapter 9 the next.

Our programs are based on the individual student. While it is true that a student will often skip a chapter in our math textbook, this is because they have demonstrated a mastery of this particular chapter. The have demonstrated an understanding of the vocabulary, concepts and procedures of the chapter.

Additionally, math is like a ladder, skip a rung and you can often slide back down. You need to have one foot firmly planted on a rung before you start climbing. Math builds upon itself; you need to have on concept understood before building or adding to that concept. This is why we do our math textbooks in sequential order. Pick up a math textbook sometime and you will see that the book has been arranged this way, concepts were not just arbitrarily assigned, but actually carefully plotted out and organized as parts to a whole.


Welcome back to another school year!

Many students spend their summers at camps, visiting relatives and taking vacations, making “getting back into the grove of things” a little more difficult.  Below is a list of some tops that I’ve complied to help make this transition easier.
1.       Keep the lines of communication open because you want to be the first to know of a situation that is bothering your child. It is important to remind your child that you are there for them. Additionally, take the time to personally introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Instead of starting off asking the teacher for something, let the teacher know that you are available to speak with at anytime and welcome his or her input. Teachers are often overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year, trying hard to establish their own line of communication with each student.  Let your child’s teacher know if there is a particular way that is best to communicate with your child. For example, “my child is able to listen better when seated at the front of the classroom”, or “my child often needs directions repeated more than once.”  The teacher will appreciate your insight and this will go a lot further in developing your relationship with your child’s teacher than approaching the teacher with something like, “Why did you send so much homework last Thursday?”
2.       Reinforce your child’s ability to cope. Give him/her a few strategies to manage the situation on their own, but also encourage them to tell you if the problem persists or worsens. You can do this in several ways. Ask your child what they believe the best way to deal with the situation is. Tell the child how you would personally deal with the situation. Ask your child what would happen with regards to the situation if they could wave a ‘magic wand’ and have things fixed, and then come up with different ways to achieve the ‘magic wand’ results.
3.       Resist the urge to fix the problem. Yes, there are times when you must step in to fix a problem, but there are also times when your child must solve the problem on her own. This will help her cope with similar issues in middle school and high school. Don’t insist that your child handle the situation your way, let them use some of your advice as well as their own. 
Here’s to a successful and fun filled year of learning and academics!