Hi. My method of teaching math works. It is enjoyable for my students; I enjoy using it. Does it fit into the current educational system? Probably not. But doesn't it sound ideal for home schooling?


What are your goals? Do you want your children to be able to do fractions? Of course. But...

Do you want your children to learn the same things that are learned in the established educational system? Then you are in luck. Most children do not learn much. (If it is "learning" to know something for a test, they forget what they have "learned".) To duplicate the learning in the traditional system, you can ignore math completely. Well, most children in the established educational system learn to dislike math, and they learn the wrong way of learning math. Did you want to teach that?

Look, there are three important skills your children need to learn: social skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills. Math won't help with social skills. My method of teaching math does develop communication skills. But the big goal here is problem-solving skills. The best reason for including math in your curriculum, other than that you have to do it, is that math is a most excellent medium for teaching problem-solving skills.

The reality is, if a student does not learn math, the educational will beat up on the student -- the student will do poorly on standardized testing, entrance exams, and even tests for professional accreditation. So would do your child a favor if your child learned math (in a way that they remembered everything they learned years later).

Fast Learners

My friend Marvin Levine taught statistics to psychology majors in college. He said there were two types of students. One type of student thought it was the most difficult class they ever took and they earned a C. The second type of student thought the class was easy and they earned an A.

I want your child to be this second type of student. So do you. Your child will learn math easily if your child has a good grounding in the basic concepts of math, and if your child understands how to learn math. That is what I teach. That is what you want to teach.

Then it will be easy to teach fractions.

But is it Math?

I think that I teach real math and what they teach in schools is not math. But the students think that I don't teach real math, I just do math enrichment.

So let's go with the flow and call what I teach "math enrichment". You will, sooner or later, have a regular curriculum of traditional math skills. In addition, you want to teach math concepts, how to learn math, and problem-solving skills. You want to teach these because they are important; but you also want to teach these or otherwise you are wasting your time trying to teach traditional math skills.

Don't worry that your children are falling behind because they are not spending time on traditional curriculum taught with traditional methods -- those students are not learning anything.

Philes and Phobes

Some kids love math. They will love my problems. Most kids don't love math. I am a math-lover, and I think the people who don't love math have the easier life. So I have no problem with kids who don't love math.

Some kids who don't like math nonetheless do like to think. They will enjoy my problems. I have a special concern reaching these kids.

The rest can still be taught to enjoy math and thinking. These are the students who are most at risk for learning nothing in the school system, but they can learn to enjoy to There is little about fractions on these pages, because that is such a tough concept. But why do you want your

This website is about what I call the problems-first method of teaching math. This method has some theoretical justification; the normal method does not. This method works; the normal method does not. This method makes your child think, but can be very enjoyable. The normal method makes your child memorize and is not fun. You will enjoy this method.

You do NOT need to take my word for it. You should, beyond a shadow of a doubt, try these problems. If they don't work, no harm is done. If they work like I think they will, you will be a convert to the problems-first method of teaching.

The problems-first method can be adapted to the classroom, but it is better-suited to one-on-one teaching or even to your child working alone. And you don't need to know math to use the method, because your child is learning from the problems, not from you. To be sure, if you know math, you can do better than if you don't know math. But this method does not require you to know math.

This website explains the problems-first method. It also provides problems for teaching with the problems-first method, designed for your child to learn in small steps. Right now, this is not a complete set of problems to teach every content area in math, so you would add these problems to your regular curriculum. But do not underestimate the power of just giving problems.

The Casual Teaching Parent

I am not home schooling. But when my daughters are bored in the car, or in a restaurant, sometimes I try to think of a math problem for them to do. When my oldest daughter was doing stick problems, I would sometimes ask if she wanted a stick problem. She would say yes or no, and it seemed like it was no more than yes, but the point was that I got some yes's. And sometimes she would ask for a stick problem.

Email me (rfmail1>@rfrick.info) if you have any problems. If you have something other parents might like to read, there will soon be a message board you can post to.