Homeschool Math That's Fun,
Rigorous, and Engaging.
Don't let math ruin your school year.
You don’t need another variation of the same math . . . you need to think about math differently.
Let’s face it, teaching math isn’t easy. If it were, homeschoolers would be outperforming public school students in math the same way we generally outperform them in other areas.
But we don’t. Our kids barely score better than their friends at public school.
That’s not good, because the public schools are doing a terrible job of teaching math.
We’ve been doing a poor job for the last 100 years. You know what that means? It’s likely your math education stinks.
If you don’t have a good math background, it’s going to be hard to teach math. That’s just the facts.
So you do what you can, and you buy that curriculum for $100 and hope it works. You go for scripted lessons because you aren’t sure how to teach. And when that curriculum doesn’t work, you drop $150 on another one that uses a different approach and has the DVD's to go with it and cross your fingers.
Why Getting Another Curriculum Won't Save You...
The problem is: most curricula have failure built in.
There's a lot of reasons for this failure. But, the biggest reason is that no matter which program you're using --whether the focus is spiral vs mastery or concepts vs procedures or some combination of all of them -- the bulk of the material relies heavily on memorization.
You can't get away from memorizing in math. But very few of us can memorize all the facts, all the symbols, and all their relationships and all the possible strategies and when to use them.
For some, memory gives out about 3rd grade. For others - it is in middle school or high school.
When memory fails, we assume it's because we or our children aren't mathy.
Memory failure has nothing to do with math. It has to do with memory. The two are only casually related.
In any case, what you need is the exact opposite of what nearly every program available is doing in mathematics.
Let's Pretend Your Kids Have Super Memories
That Won't Help Them Overcome Their 2nd Largest Hurdle . . .You.
But is the Situation Really That Bad?
Don't take it from me, let's look at a few random facts that show just how badly we are missing the boat in math education.
Math Anxiety Begets Math Anxiety
Teachers who are math anxious pass that anxiety on to their students. Children learn less from math anxious teachers.
Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez (2010)
Lagging Test Scores
60% of 4th graders and 67% of 8th graders scored below proficient in standardized math tests. We scored about the same as Croatia and Slovakia, with 35 counties scoring much better.
Baturo and Nason (1996)
Lack Of Mathematical Reasoning Among Teachers
Only 7 out of 71 prospective elementary teachers could explain why a non-standard algorithm works.
Harkness and Thomas (2008)
Think about it. You can only pass on what you know. You likely learned from someone who didn't like math, wasn't competent in math, and was anxious about it.
That means that most homeschool parents were taught poorly and are attempting to now teach their own children. It is no wonder we aren't doing a very good job.
We haven't even addressed what or how we teach yet 😒😒😒.
It's no wonder we've got a Math Problem.
Only a third of our 8th graders are proficient or above in mathematics.
Percentage of Students Choosing Math/Science Majors at Grove City College in 2010:
We're failing our kids. It doesn't matter whether the curriculum is DVD or workbook based. It doesn't matter if the curriculum comes with lots of bells and whistles.
What is clear is that whatever we're doing - it's not working.
The Simple Truth Is: if we don't fix the memory problem AND the teacher problem, nothing else matters.
This goes for the school setting and the homeschool setting.
There is only one program available that solves both of these issues. Just one. It's nothing like the math education you received.
And it's not even new.
Enter Caleb Gattegno
Who Is Caleb Gattegno?
He was the most prolific math educator of the last century that you've probably never heard of. His legacy spans the entire globe.
- He founded the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) in the UK.
- Helped establish the International Commission for the Study and Improvement of Mathematics Teaching.
- Authored more than 120 books and numerous articles.
- Professor at the University of Liverpool and the University of London.
- Developed Visible and Tangible Math or what is now called Gattegno Mathematics.
Gattegno's ideas about teaching mathematics were a sea change on the educational front. He knew successful math education is mostly about how the teacher teaches. For those who took up the teaching challenge, this is some of what they had to say:
Promise of Gattegno's Method's
"The promise of Gattegno’s methods was not just that children would perform at grade level, but that they would perform at levels beyond expectations . . . and prevent what we now refer to as 'the achievement gap'."
Dr. Marilyn Maye
Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at New Jersey City University and a Mathematics Education Consultant for state and national organizations
What Happens When You "Get" It
"What I prize most from Gattegno is his belief in the inherent genius of human beings. It is a belief that I have tried to make the foundation of my own practice as an educator. It is what has kept me in the field, and has kept teaching fascinating . . . Everyone else, even my graduate school professors, seemed like fluff after Gattegno."
Dr. Paula Hajar
Professional Development Specialist in Mathematics at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, NY
Producing 'Aha!' Moments Among Teachers
"He talks about awareness and mathematics and then asks us to do some work. It is not a soothing experience as he keeps each one of us on edge with provocative and challenging questions. But we work and there are many 'Aha!' moments in the room.
Emeritus Associate Professor of the School of Education at the University of Cape Town (UCT)
Gattegno mathematics uses Cuisenaire Rods.
Cuisenaire Rods happen to be the most mathematically accurate manipulative available. Gattegno combines it with a method of instruction that allows students to make connections between the different areas of mathematics.
Students learn to shoulder the responsibility for their own educations AND parents learn to stop teaching and allow their students to learn. Parents become their child's cheerleader and advocate in the learning process.
The most tedious parts of learning math - gone.
Drill. Endless problems on endless worksheets. Memorizing isolated math facts.
It's all gone.
Three Main Things That Make Gattegno Different -
Notice, Wonder, Discover
Notice, Wonder, Discover is the process he used to assist students in becoming aware of the rules for manipulating math symbols and the properties of numbers.
Subordination of Teaching to Learning
This is simply a fancy term for how parents and teachers conduct lessons. The focus isn't on what is being taught, but rather what the student is learning.
Algebra Before Arithmetic
Yes. It's true. We moved algebra from 8th and 9th grade to pre-k and kindergarten. And we teach with a focus on algebra all the way through. It saves a ton of time and tears.
Introduction to Cuisenaire Rod Structures -
The Program that Teaches You to Think
If you want to try your hand at Gattegno, his textbooks Gattegno Mathematics are inexpensive and easily purchased. However, the best bits of Gattegno aren't in his textbooks - you could use his textbooks and end up in the same position you are in now.
Remember when I said that there are two main problems with math education? The first is the curriculum that focuses on memory. The second is the teacher and how the teacher teaches.
The biggest problem we have is US.
Gattegno activities and exercises will help with the memory issues, but only if you learn how to "Subordinate Teaching to Learning."
If you haven't experienced being taught the way Gattegno teaches, you'll never really get an idea of how different and effective it is. You'll just go back to what you know.
If your math background stinks - you can do all the Noticing, Wondering, and Discovering you want, but you won't know what it is you are looking at.
How We Solved the Teaching Problem
Lack of clarity about what students must understand to grasp a concept.
I teach each lesson for you in a 1 - 3 minute video. For each lesson, assignments are provided for the student to work through. You just have to print and do the lesson alongside your student.
Unaware How to Gradually Increase Degree of Difficulty
We gradually increase the degree of difficulty and we provide you with a framework that will allow you to do exactly what we do while following your child's leading.
"Subordination of Teaching to Learning" - who knows what that means or what it looks like.
Weekly live workshops. We are going to hold your hand all the way - even if it takes you three years to get through all the material (there are worse ways to spend 3 years). When you're done with with the course, you'll be a pro!
Each lesson also has a place for comments. There you can ask questions specific to that lesson and Lacy or I will get back to you. You can also share your variation of the lesson with others.
Math - your own math education stinks and you aren't sure what to do.
We develop understanding through the manipulation of Cuisenaire Rods. You don't have to be good at math, but you do need to do the activities with your kids. This is how you will fix your own math issues.
In addition, during our weekly meetings, we'll be covering a lot of math ideas which will help you understand where all the playing with rods is going.
Wondering Why You Should Take A Course From Us?
Hi, I'm Sonya.
I'm not anything special. I don't have magic powers. I don't even have a long list of credentials that scream, "Hey - take a course from me." I'm just a homeschooling mom who has spent over a decade trying to figure out exactly why we have a math problem and what we can do to fix it.
I'd almost given up when I found base ten blocks and Caleb Gattegno's work which led me to other brilliant math educators. Then, I spent 5 years figuring out how to take what I've learned and help other parents who find themselves in the same boat I was in.
This is My Sidekick Lacy.
Lacy is a jack of all trades. She's a single mom with a real job, homeschools 4 kiddos, has dipped her feet into homesteading, and she's got skills when it comes to PowerPoint.
Lacy is the only person I know that could take Gattegno's ideas and turn them into a worksheet while remaining true to Gattegno. Not even Gattegno could do that - he didn't even want to create a curriculum. If you only use his textbooks, you're going to miss the best parts of Gattegno's vision. Lacy has captured the very best and managed to put it on paper. I probably email her every other month and exclaim anew, "These things are brilliant!"
She used to blog over at Play, Discover, Learn 24/7 and you can find her work (and download samples) on her Teacher's Pay Teacher's site.
Our Commitment to You, the Homeschooling Mom
We've been there. We know what it's like to have little eyeballs staring at you expecting something, while you have no clue what you are doing.
Your success in teaching math depends on your ability to execute the curriculum.
You can't get away from that. Even though we teach each lesson, it doesn't solve the problem. If your child doesn't understand, the only option you have is to replay the video.
Math seems like the biggest hurdle to climb over, but it's not.
It's us. That's why we are going to take you by the hand and teach yo workshops, we go over the math and how to teach. I answer questions about where you are stuck. If that isn't enough, email me. We'll figure it out together and -
You're going to learn how to teach your kids to think.
"People often say: 'I teach them but they don't learn'. Well, if you know that, stop teaching. Not resign from your job: stop teaching in the way that doesn't reach people, and try to understand what there is to do for you to become daily more skilled in helping these youngsters furnish their minds with things which are so elementary that, where they take five years today, I can do them in 18 months, sometimes less." (Gattegno, 1988, p 12)
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Learning Well At Home is the new name of Sonya Post's groove. She is a Cuisenaire Rod goddess and runs the Homeschool Math with Base Ten Blocks group. I have dropped in on a couple of her classes and they are A-FRAKING-MAZING! The kids were LOVING doing math and at such a high level.
“Sonya has put together this wonderful course on c-rods that makes math fun, understandable and open and go for parents. Her course walks you through the proper way to use the rods and teaches parents the importance of notice and wonder. I sincerely feel my children are getting a superior understanding of math. We have all learned so much and my son enjoys his math lessons!”
Homeschool Mom, Texas
Learn About Our Core Curriculum Courses
Introduction to Cuisenaire Rod Structures 1
This course covers all the material in chapters 1- 3 of Gattegno's Textbook 1, plus appropriate topics from his other works and activities we feel are essential for success.
Parents can participate in live workshops (recordings available) that cover the course content, teaching/mediation, and fixing our math problems.
Introduction to Cuisenaire Rod Structures 2
LEVEL: Advanced Beginner
PREREQUISITE: Introduction To Cuisenaire Rod Structures 1
This course is only sold with Introduction to Cuisenaire Rod Structures 1. It covers the rest of the material found in Gattegno's Textbook 1 and more.
- Measuring Rods
- Numbers 1-20
- Addition of Numbers Inside of 20
- Subtraction of Numbers Inside of 20
- Multiplication of Numbers 1-10
- Distributive Property
- Fractions of Numbers to 20
- Factoring Numbers to 20
- Odd/Even Numbers
- Algebraic Transformations
- Number Studies/Compositions
- and more . . .
Students can participate in live classes that cover course content, NWD, plus logic and reasoning skills.
Introduction to Algebra
AGES: 9 & up
This course covers all of Gattegno's Textbook 1 in more depths and moves faster than the other two courses. Topics are covered in the same order so that a parent can teach students 4-12 at the same time. In addition to the Introduction to Cuisenaire Rods Structure Courses 1 & 2 topics, this course also covers:
- Introduction to Variables
- Distributive Property with a Variable
- Multiplying Polynomials
- Factoring Polynomials
Students can participate in live classes that cover course content, NWD, plus logic and reasoning skills.