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Boston Tutor Charles Robinson, Ph.D.
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  Tutor Advantage.com   >    Boston Grade School Enrichment Tutor

Boston Grade School Enrichment Tutoring

The child who has learned arithmetic strictly by memorizing has missed the first great opportunity to develop his or her intellect.  The most fundamental act of the intellect is to see the same thing in two or more different ways.  This act is at the basis of art, literature, and humor.

The child who has learned that 6 times 8 equals forty-eight strictly by memorization has missed the chance to develop the intellect by knowing several different ways to figure that out.

Another problem that comes up in grade school arithmetic is that some children find it impossible to memorize the addition and multiplication tables.  Some very bright children find themselves in this situation.  These children are at risk for developing a life-long aversion to arithmetic, and later, to math of all kinds.

The way out of this dilemma is to teach these children to understand the addition and multiplication facts.  The understanding of the facts, and the ability to work out several different approaches for arriving at each fact, provide a pathway that these children can tread to learn their tables.

Our feelings about the very important addition and multiplication tables can be summarized as follows:

Memorizing a fact without knowing how to figure out the fact for oneself
Hard to do
Bad for the mind
Memorizing a fact based on knowing several ways to figure out the fact for oneself
Easy to do
Good for the mind

 

Another problem inherent in the math education that most children receive involves the skill of reducing fractions.  Children learn to reduce 6/8 to 3/4, but even most adults will have difficulty reducing the fraction 38/57.

I personally remember the distinct feeling that I experienced in fourth grade in this connection.  I realized that I had been taught to reduce simple fractions, but that larger numbers (like 38/57) would defeat me.  It was my first feeling of loss of mastery.  A child should be taught the basic structure of integers that would complete the skill of reducing fractions.

Take a look at your child after he or she has learned to handle the integers and can "flash" on the addition and multiplication tables.  This child walks straighter, likes school better, and feels good about himself or herself.

This child will no longer have difficulty learning that there are three feet to a yard and three sides to a triangle.  Arithmetic, and later the higher forms of math, will come easy to this child.

One other thing about grade school arithmetic: again picture the child that has overcome all difficulties with arithmetic.  The child takes quizzes and tests and gets no scores below 100%.  This child is ready to become a "mathlete" in the wonderful math competitions that are available in middle school.

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