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Why Do We Divide Fractions Like That?

One of the things we often do with math is have students memorize algorithms–which is fine! Good, even! Efficiency and automaticity matter, especially for students with low to average working memories. That is, most students, unlike people who majored in mathematics and then became math teachers, don’t have the mental “space” to derive the procedure…

Not Alone

To borrow a phrase from an amazing young person on Twitter and an insight from a sharp fellow educator, yesterday’s ResearchEd in Frederick, MD was valuable in part because it made me feel less alone. When I walked into the opening remarks, I followed North, whom I’d only ever conversed with on Twitter, to meet…

Homeschooling in the Early Years

I distinguish between parenting during the early years and homeschooling. Homeschooling happens when you introduce formal curricula, and for most children, that won’t happen until the kindergarten years, about age five. When you introduce formal curricula, the curricula should center on reading (decoding and read-alouds), math (with manipulatives), and developing handwriting. I do not recommend…

Ukraine Invasion Booklet

Ukraine has long been a special interest of mine. My great-grandpa Dmitri came from the Ukraine 100 years ago, and my family has always been proud of our heritage. My last name is Ukrainian, not Irish. When the invasion happened, I was glued to the coverage. But I noticed that background knowledge was missing from…

Dimensional Analysis

When I went to undergrad, I had chem lab, and I was terrible at it. To be fair, my fine motor skills are not the best, and I did end up paying several hundred dollars for extra glassware, but the worst part was the math. We did a lot of dimensional analysis. Dimensional analysis tends…

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

The Cult of Smart by Fredrik deBoer, 2020, St. Martin’s Publishing What is intelligence? A book whose thesis seems to be ‘the unintelligent will always be with us, so it’s our moral duty to take care of them’ should spend some time carefully defining terms, but instead deBoer uses a slew of synonyms, not unlike…

Youngest Child’s Curriculum List, K-2

Math: RightStart A, B, C (primary curriculum)Saxon Math (daily, morning meeting only)KumonSimple AdditionGrade 2 SubtractionGrade 2 AdditionGrade 3 Addition & SubtractionMy First Book of Money: Counting CoinsMath Mammoth Light Blue SeriesLollipop Logic: Grades K-2, Book 1Primarily Logic, Grades 2-4 English Language Arts Reading: All About Reading Pre-readingTeach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy LessonsThe Ordinary Parent’s…

My Baby Can Read

Over the last 30 months or so, I’ve taken my youngest daughter from unable to recognize all her letters to maxing out a phonics and high frequency word recognition test, and sliding into a reading comprehension test at a “grade level equivalent” of 12.8. (This does not mean that my daughter can read at the…

Why Use Discussion Questions?

Written discussion is one of the ways in which teachers can assist students in building camaraderie within the course. Shy students, students with low processing speed, students with facial recognition issues, students with high anxiety levels, students with speech delays, and so on can feel especially isolated. Having written discussions helps give students a low-key…

Curriculum — and What It Isn’t

Philosophy of Education   Have you got one? Why should you have one? What are the main areas? Contrary to my MA in secondary education, I don’t think this has anything to do with constructivism. That’s a pedagogical style, not a philosophy. Instead, I offer you these four contrasting ideas in tension with each other.…

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