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Thread: What is the Math Philosophy?

02052008, 11:27 AM #1Junior Member Newbie
 Join Date
 Feb 2008
 Location
 Nebraska
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 1
What is the Math Philosophy?
Hi Everyone!
As my wife and I consider whether or not T4L is right for our children, I would like to know more about the math curriculum's philosophy. Does it take an integrated math approach or is it traditional? By "integrated", I mean: emphasizing process over content, encouraging guesswork (rather than knowing), using invented algorithms (there are many ways to get the right answer), etc.
By "traditional" I mean using standard algorithms to solve problems (the ones that most parents were taught) and the emphasis of memorizing basic math facts. I would consider Saxon Math to have a traditional philosophy.
The reason I ask is because since T4L is based upon state standards and many states are taking an integrated (some call it 'fuzzy' or constructivist math) approach, I was wondering if T4L took that approach, too.
Thanks for helping us to make a decision.

Hi, and welcome to the forum!
Let me point you here for some great information about Time4Learning's math program.

02092008, 02:05 AM #3
Hi  lookinhigh has an interesting way of analysing math programs. It's a new question to me. I'm not sure that I understand it. Is this the right restatement and example of your terms and how they're used?
For instance, here are two typical math problems:
738
 549

4/9  1/16 =
Traditional  Focus on the mechanics of math. It stresses learning the exact steps to get to the correct answer for each problem. For the subtraction problem, it might use the concept of "borrowing" one as a step in the solution.
Integrated Approach. Focuses on why going through those steps gets you to the right answer. Teaches students to also consider their problems from a common sense (estimation) point of view. For instance, the first math problem has two numbers near 500 being added so that the answer is going to be near a thousand. The second problem has a very tiny fraction being subtracted from something slightly more than a half so the answer is going to be near a half. Also, in terms of the subtraction, the "understanding" approach stays away from the concept of "borrrowing" as formulastic and instead, teaches that you "regroup a ten into ten ones".
Answer.
I'm not sure that your distinction is one that works to look at Time4Learning in that we teach at times both ways. If I had to say, I'd say we tilt:
towards an integrated "holistic" approach to looking at math problems which stresses understanding. We think people should understand math problems and be able to look at th answer not just from the process from which it was found but also an answer to a question asked
away from a traditional mechanical formulastic approach to solving math problems.
We are generally considered very strong on explanations and breadth of ways of looking at and approaching math problems. We are sometimes reproached for not having alot more math drills for things like math facts. BTW, while they are not integrated in the curriculum, the playground has some great math fact drill generators for both online or printable versions.John Edelson, Founder
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