Monday, March 16, 2015

Traditional Arithmetic: Part 2

Where in the world has Cyndi Homeschools been? It has been one struggle of a school year! This blog has been laid aside as a result of a tired mama trying to survive a K5 super active boy and a 2nd grade drama queen girl. I'm exhausted! As inconsistent as I am, I don't want this blog to just stop. I want to keep it going. So here's to beginning to post again!

I have an unfinished series, per se, to complete: Traditional Arithmetic. 

In Part 1, I mentioned that in the front of the Arithmetic Lesson Plan book, the writers explain why they chose to teach traditional arithmetic. I shared the first three of seven reasons they give. 

Let me continue...... 

4. Traditional arithmetic trains the intellect. 
     Would you read this article more closely if a graded quiz followed or if you were given an oral examination? If you were expected to know these facts, you might make a list of them and say them over and over until you had them memorized. You would probably review them every day for several days to make sure you remembered them. Traditional arithmetic expects children to learn and remember necessary facts. A traditional arithmetic program is not ashamed that children must memorize facts, because memorization of facts promotes an acceptance of absolute truth. Children need to memorize facts for these three additional reasons. 
     a. It lays the correct foundation for understanding mathematics. - Just as a Christian memorizes Bible verses and principles to build strong Christian character, the math student memorizes facts to build mathematical knowledge. 
     b.  It increases the child's capacity to understand concepts. - Math is a building-block subject in which facts are needed to learn new concepts. A child can easily understand that 2 x 6 = 12 because he knows that 6 + 6 = 12. 
     c. It helps the child develop concepts. - Have a child memorize that there are twelve things in a dozen. Teach the concept that one half is one of two equal parts of a whole. The child can then bring together the two learned facts to tell that there are six things in one-half dozen. He can also tell that six inches are one-half foot because he has memorized that there are twelve inches in a foot. 

5. Traditional arithmetic is usable. 
     Why do you enjoy a beautiful painting? You may like to look at its beauty of color and light. You may enjoy the memories it brings to your mind. All would agree that the painting brings beauty to our lives. These are appropriate responses to art. The modern mathematician views math in the same way you view your painting. He sees the beauty of structure and form. Modern math inappropriately tries to make all children learn and appreciate this structure. The appreciation of math for its structure is a mistaken view of mathematics, for God used mathematics as a tool to benefit mankind. The using of mathematics in science, architecture, business, technology, etc., is what makes math beneficial - not the learning of its rigid structure. Children are taught in traditional arithemetic to count, add, tell time, give change, find interest, etc., because it is useful for them to do so. 

6. Traditional arithmetic builds Christian character. 
     Do you believe Philippians 4:8? Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Story problems do more than help children apply mathematical knowledge. They influence the thinking of the children by the way they are presented and the subject matter of the word problem. They can show people working, tithing, enjoying God's world, and engaging in Christian activities, or they can show only secular interests and behavior. The A Beka traditional arithmetic program uses word problems that help to develop strong Christian character. 

7. Traditional arithmetic lays the foundation for higher mathematics.
     Elementary arithmetic, quite naturally, begins with the most elementary, basic arithmetic processes. Children learn best when they proceed from the particular to the general, from the concrete to the abstract. Traditional elementary arithmetic properly emphasizes the facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that accord with the child's stage of mental development and have immediate practical application. Traditional arithmetic lays a solid foundation for high school math, which appropriately (but still gradually) introduces the child to a higher level of abstraction. He learns and understands algebra and all higher math better if he masters arithmetic first.

And there we have it. The foundation for using traditional arithmetic. This is certainly the way I learned math growing up. I see absolutely no reason to switch to a different method.

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