Q&A #1590

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching basic addition and subtraction

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From: Suzanne A.

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000062115:51:39
Subject: Re: Addition/Subtraction facts

I am a middle school mathematics teacher but my husband and I
home-schooled both of our sons from the time they were born until they
entered college. So, I have a little bit of experience to speak from
and, in addition, our older son just graduated from college with a
degree in mathematics!

 From my experience it is vital that students have a conceptual
understanding of arithmetic and, for that matter, all mathematics. If
they just learn rules and methods for manipulating numbers they do not
have a good foundation. I agree that learning math facts has a place
in their mathematical education but it is also important that they
understand numbers and their significance.

 From what you have explained it sounds like your son displays an
interest when you are working with concepts rather than just facts. I
would continue encouraging that. I don't think that you are
compromising. If he is using his math facts as he is working on
concepts then he will display that he knows them without having to
display them out of context.

Keep encouraging him in his mathematical thinking!

Have you considered using the Elementary Problems of the Week? They
are great for encouraging problem solving. You can find them here:


Your son may be a little young for them now without having help from
you but in time they may be a great resource for him.

 -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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