Others (without realizing it) expect kids to do a lot of “heavy lifting” right from the start of their multiplication studies: The child must, a) hold still…which by itself is hard for most kids, b) write…which they may not love to do, c) memorize math facts…a tedious task for most kids, d) simultaneously do their other math assignments…ALL THESE AT THE SAME TIME. In addition, all this is expected of children, e) without their choice or buy-in, often even against their wills!! No wonder we have discipline problems.
At MathHacked, we realize that the act of Focused Thinking is heavy enough all by itself for a little child…so rather than expecting kids to keep five balls simultaneously in the air, we ask of them only one: the Thinking part.
We’ve also designed the system to start out so easy and fun that “buy-in” is automatic. (We don’t believe in forcing education on kids.) As they gain mental strength, more “weight” can and should be added. We’ve found that developing mental muscle is very similar to the physical: we all know that lifting too much weight at the gym is demoralizing and too little is boring. We want neither a lack of confidence nor a lack of desire in our students, so we pay extremely close attention to this balance. All comes in due time, which incidentally, turns out to be much faster than traditional methods.
P.S. We don’t bog you moms down either, in figuring out how not to bog the kids down!!
4 – We have no respect for numerical order
Others teach multiplication first the 1’s, then 2’s, 3’s and so on to 12’s.
At MathHacked, we begin with what’s easiest for kids and move systematically to what’s most difficult. Throughout the program, there are trademark patterns set up for the child as things get more difficult that help them “figure out” the answer until the recall is automatic and the patterns are no longer needed. As their “mental muscle” strengthens, so do their challenges; this keeps the child empowered and enjoying the process from start to finish. Once you experience this new sequence, you’ll wonder how in the world society stuck with doing it the hard way for so many generations!
5 – We’re not in a hurry
Others move on to teaching new math knowledge before a child has any confidence in the old. With traditional approaches, we build on wet cement, wet cement, always wet cement. This is horribly demoralizing to kids. It makes them want to quit because they feel dumb.
At MathHacked, we’ve realized that 80% mastery equals 20% confidence. The math shouldn’t work out this way, but strangely, it does. For this reason, we teach you to “wait for the cement to dry” on your child’s learning in each of our steps to mastery, before moving on to the next step. It is counter-intuitive but we assure you that slow is fast and fast is slow. (Building a house on wet cement would sure slow the building process down, right?)
If a child has been pushed to move before he/she is confident, the fastest way to move forward is to back up and start over. You’ll be astonished at how quickly kids catch right up and even pass their peers when conditions are right.
6 – We don’t bore kids
Others use memorization as their principal method for teaching times tables and division facts.
Napoleon Hill, author of the iconic book, Think and Grow Rich, advocates a better way of learning when he said, “The school system endeavors to teach children to memorize facts instead of teaching them how to use their own minds.” Hear hear, Mr. Hill!
At MathHacked, we avoid using memorization because not only does the information not stick very well or very long, is it BORING to a great many students…prompting them to turn off their inner genius. (I mean, don’t YOU check out when you’re bored??) What children like–what they love, in fact–is to think for themselves…but you knew this already, didn’t you??
So, as it turns out, it’s not math that’s boring to kids; it’s the way it’s been taught.
We’re out to change that!
Central and unique to our system–and not achievable through memorization–is that children learn to “think for themselves”–to learn the skills of “mental gymnastics,” that is, the ability to manipulate and figure numbers in their own minds, and to jump back and forth freely between ideas and functions.
Additionally, in our quest to avoid “boring,” you will also see that we have gone to great lengths to make all our materials amusing and delightful to children.
Doing all we can to make the child WANT to do the work is important because they then become sponges for learning–ready to soak it up!
7 – We don’t want to be the “smart ones”
The current model is that teachers are the “smart ones,” dispensing information to the young’uns, who will in their turn (if they behave and happen to be “gifted”), become the “smart ones”…and the cycle continues.
At MathHacked, we believe that kids are smart ALREADY; they are born smart because they are Human and each and every one has his or her genius to add to the world (which naturally goes for you, as well!).
Rather than giving kids the answers, our system provides a way for them to find the answers THEMSELVES–in their own brains; it’s a bit like a hunt for Easter eggs and when they find them, you can watch and enjoy many light-bulb moments; these illuminations bring both joy and confidence to children. When joy is returned to the educational process, the inner genius of kids is set free.
(We always knew there was more brilliance to tap into, right? Just look at how smart kids are at figuring out computer games and electronics!!…and breaking through all our efforts to lock them out of things!!)
8 – Our ideas are not “math” philosophies, but life philosophies applied to math
Other well-meaning programs are satisfied with mastery of the things they teach. For example, with regard to teaching basic math facts, others use external crutches such as math manipulatives (things you can touch and count); skip-counting; catchy songs or chants; tricks using fingers; math charts or graphs; cute pictures or stories; etc. They use these because they work for the most part…unaware that these types of crutches are also hard for kids to shake, even into adulthood. For example, how many of you still use fingers to count? Educators are also sometimes unaware that the use of these things are missed opportunities for confidence to the child, since subconsciously the kids give the song (for example) the credit for their success.
At MathHacked, we’re not satisfied with simply the mastery of basic math facts, though a very worthy goal. We want more! We want confident kids who understand the workings and power of their brain, who feel competent and adept at using their own mind as a formidable math-figuring tool. This is a great source of general confidence for kids that we can tap into–one that extends far beyond math.
Similarly, we’re not satisfied with just getting the “back and hands” of kids coming our way because we make them do what we want them to do; no, we want their “minds and hearts,” their creativity, enthusiasm, great attitudes, and solid work ethic–all of which much be volunteered.
Simply put, our overarching goal at MathHacked through our Revolutionary Process and Teaching Style is to instill in children a can-do, self-starting mentality, and thus empower them to drive their own education. To this end, we urge parents to learn the principles and practices involved with this program and utilize them in other areas of education and parenting.
The great surprise is that when we do this, it’s not just great for our kids; it recovers to us an untold amount of time and energy, as well as a richer, more joyful relationship with our kids…not to even mention greater influence in their lives.