Can You Teach All K-12 Math in 8 Weeks?

Elizabeth, @Ser3nd1pity, tweeted an article to me the other day about homeschooling K-12 math.

Reading through it the thought that came to mind over and over was, “Finally.”

The article is an excerpt from a book by David H. Albert called Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow. Here was my favorite part:

…the subject matter itself isn’t all that hard. What’s hard, virtually impossible, is beating it into the heads of youngsters who hate every step.

Indeed there is a gracious sufficiency of beating – and resistance – when teaching math.

But everyone already knows math!

In his article, Albert wrote:

If you never teach a stitch of math, in a mathematical culture your kids will learn heaps of it anyway. …learning math along the journey is a difficult thing to avoid.

Daughter playing with washers: counting them and learning math in her world.

You can’t not do math and exist. It’s like not breathing. Impossible.

We survived for a very long time without the written word. But we’ve never existed without math.

Early humans knew that to divide a chunk of meat between two people would yield too little:

meat  2 < what I need

He might not have have had the fancy way to write it – but he could learn how to write it in 8 weeks.

Can you teach all of K-12 math in 8 weeks?

The short answer – it depends on to whom. In Albert’s article, he’s teaching children. You can totally do this with kids. And cavemen, I suspect.

Grownups are a different story. Innumerate adults already have anxiety, anger or fear associated with math. There’s a whole lifetime of un-doing that would have to take place.

But once you undo this, then the 8 weeks would work.

The way I teach college classes is this: we’re going to spend 48 contact hours together – I’m going to wow you in ways you’ve never expected. When we’re done, you’ll be much calmer. You’ll be able to learn math much better, both on your own or in a classroom.

I don’t force learning. I don’t even require learning. I let it happen. It’s the closest I can get, in the classroom, to what Albert is saying.

Can you get closer to the 8-week method?

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