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To math, or not to math?

For about 40 years now, the prevailing approach for teaching mathematics has been to break math rules, methods, techniques, and procedures into smaller and smaller pieces, digestible for students within a class period.

The assumption is that these spoon-fed pieces will eventually magically connect and unite into a solid and holistic ability to solve complex mathematical problems. The advent of computer based teaching and learning has enhanced this trend dramatically.

Unfortunately, the number of students struggling with math at school shows that the pieces never come together by themselves and are rather quickly forgotten. At best, they remain recognizable on standardized multiple-choice tests, but never come readily when needed to solve any real life problem. (But you wouldn’t expect a patient kept on IV-fluids for 12 years to be able to eat and digest a steak, would you?)

Mathematics is a complex and elaborate product of the human mind. For all of our children, mathematical skills are important as tools of reasoning, analysis, and synthesis in every day problems like adjusting a cooking recipe, calculating mortgage or car loan payments, or doing taxes. And solving these problems after 12 years of sitting through math classes shouldn’t be a problem, right? 

Finding the right math curriculum and the right math teacher for your child as early as possible may be the solution. It's always easier to get things done right from scratch than to repair and patch what has already turned out wrong.  

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