I'm Bon Crowder and the photos above are both of me - in 1989 and today. I'm a Generation X mom of Generation Z kids.

I began peer tutoring in high school in 1984. MathFour.com is the 2015 version of me helping peers be comfortable in math.

If you're a Gen-X parent, you're in the right place!

Tag Archives: William Devine

Understanding That’s Math

During the Texas Home School Coalition Convention, That’s Math! had its “booth debut”. It was a bit difficult, at first, to decide how to present it (verbally) to attendees.

The Early Attempts

I found myself saying things one minute, and reversing my conceptualization, the next.

“Well, it’s not really a curriculum. In fact, it’s not a curriculum at all.”

60 seconds later…

“It’s actually more of a curriculum supplement.”

A few minutes after that…

“Are you familiar with the term ‘stealth-schooling’ or ‘un-schooling’… that’s essentially what this is.”

How to mentally “package” That’s Math!?

To be completely fair, and to try not to pat myself (ourselves) on the back too much, there is a lot going on with That’s Math! – it’s got a lot to offer.

After three days at the THSC Convention (which Bon presented at), I spent a lot of quiet time digesting the rhetoric and trying to mentally “package” That’s Math!.

Trying to tell someone all that That’s Math! does, much less explain how, in a matter of seconds is extremely difficult. Why? Because That’s Math! is a “multi-faceted” approach to parents’ involvement in their child’s math development.

There are a lot of parts that make up the whole (multi-faceted). And they all help do the same thing – just in different ways.

So where to go from there?

That’s Math! is a toolbox.

That’s Math! is like a well stocked toolbox you buy brand new. It has a ton of different tools already in it – many of which you will use often, some occasionally, some perhaps never.

You don’t need to utilize all of them all the time to enjoy the real value and purpose. The ones you use often are well organized and where you need them.

And the occasional ones – it’s great to have them there when you do use them.

Different parents – different tools

I’ve shared with you a few scenarios below. Chances are, at least one of these will apply to you:

Someone who has a bit of math anxiety, themselves, but wants to be a positive influence in their child’s life uses more of the practice elements and does more glossary perusing. This helps you to develop your own “relationship” with math so that this “rubs off” on your kiddo (and it will).

A (currently) math confident parent uses the activity pages (or worksheets) from the DO MATH section. These sets of “tools” give you fresh ideas of how to engage your child in the math around them.

Engineering and other STEM career parents may find themselves talking about intangible worksite projects that have confused their child.

You can use the Quick Reference Cards to help you find the math in your home and acknowledge that math in their world.

A busy parent who doesn’t have time to log on to the site utilizes the once a week mini-module “That’s Math! Quikies”.

They’re sent to you via email and can be done in a matter of minutes to keep you consistently involved in your child’s math development.

After the Conference

I realized That’s Math! can be described in a number of ways. It just depends on what you, the parent, need and want:

  1. Influence your child with positive math statements
  2. Engage your child with math happening around you
  3. Stealth schooling outside the “classroom”
  4. Supplement a traditional “pencil & paper” curriculum
  5. Socially model a healthy relationship with math
  6. Improve your own comfort level with math
All this in the service of being a positive and active part of your child’s math development.

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3 Responses to Everyday Math Exposure: Just Saying It Helps

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6 Responses to Performance vs. Understanding

  1. Wil, the examples that you provided were very helpful! I homeschool my daughter and was a little worried with the statement that performance based teaching was falling short. I mean, it’s math — it’s either right or wrong, right?! But your examples showed me how I was using both performance-based and understanding-based methods and where I could improve. Thanks for the specific ideas!

    • T,
      Glad it was helpful! With pressure on schools to show improvement on standardized testing to maintain funding, “the system” is becoming really focused on teaching “to the test”. When we do this, we lose focus on what will provide long lasting results – students who understand the concepts.
      Look for more posts on how we can do this and thanks for your interest!

  2. Thanks for this informative and practical tips, Wil. I’m sure the challenge will be on how to get teachers not to focus on performance when they are being assessed based on their students’ performance.

    • Absolutely. With standardized testing and perhaps some math anxiety of their own going on, it’s a hard sell to teachers to move that direction. The great thing is that we don’t have to convince anyone of these and other positive influential behaviors. We can use them ourselves when we see kiddos engaging in math anytime!
      Thanks for your influence!

  3. Thanks for this post, Wil.
    I agree with your basic advice, that teachers should focus on students’ understanding, rather than on performance alone. But as Erlina has pointed out, many teachers today (here in Australia as well as the US, so I hear) are stressed about their own performance reviews, in the form of high-stakes tests administered to their students. The result is impoverished teaching that focuses on the tests, not on understanding.
    One final comment: it’s a pity the journal you cited charges $12 for a 2002 article. Oh well.

    • Yes, unfortunately some of the research out there can be a bit costly or not be very accessible (require special access to databases). The upshot is that much of the literature can be accessed through your public library.
      Because of your comment, Bon and I are developing a “Research” tab/page on the MathFour.com website. It will have a few features:
      1) It will have hyperlinked titles that will take you to at least the abstract (summary) of the research article or (depending on access) the article itself
      2) An offer to help folks step-by-step get access to their local resources so that they can get access to articles/research
      3) Cycling quotes of specific interest to our mission here at MathFour which will be linked to the abstract or the article
      The nice thing about the last feature is that if you see something you like, click on it and away you go!
      Hope this helped, and thanks for the feedback!
      -Wil, the M4 research guy

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