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Introduction: When parents of children in Grades 3 or 4 have difficulty helping with math homework you know that the curriculum has gone off the track and is bouncing down a dirt road. In an attempt to get back on track parent groups throughout Canada and The United States have tried to convince the education bureaucracies to bring back a common sense approach to the teaching of math in our Elementary Schools.
Since their concerns have been ignored I believe it is time for parents to take matters into their own hands and make sure that their children are taught basic concepts giving them the necessary skills to succeed when they enter High School. With that in mind I have written this book to give some guidance as to what skills I believe are most important and how to achieve mastery of them.
I do not consider myself an ‘expert’ in grade school math but the fact that I have been teaching and/or tutoring university and high school math since 1966 gives me tremendous insight into what is essential for success in the upper grades. Also the basics I learned in the 1950’s are exactly the same skills that are needed today.
In every endeavour in life a solid structured approach is necessary. Whether we look at sports, music or education the first order of business is to learn the fundamentals. We don’t send our children to hockey school, piano lessons, or any other activity to have the instructor tell them to find a ‘strategy’. We expect them to be shown the methods that work the best. Fundamentals come first. Creativity comes much later. (If you want to read more of my views check out my blog at NotAnotherMathQuestion.com.)
So what I’m presenting here is a parents’ guide to what I feel is important and some suggestions as to how you as a parent can oversee the process. The main thing I want to stress is that this stuff is not complicated. If you are baffled by the questions in your child’s textbook the problem is not you. It’s the textbook.
More questions with detailed solutions can be found in my book ‘Get ready For High School Math’ which is available in the ‘Mr W Math’ Series on KOBO.