Welcome back for the second installment of three WeE-Book reviews. I chose to read “Building Strong Arithmetic Thinking” by Dr. Ruth Beechick. Check out the first review here.
I always struggled with math in school and now my oldest struggles with an “I hate math” attitude. When I saw this title, I was very excited to get the opportunity to read it and glean anything I could to help my kids have a good basis for math.
I really am loving the short nature of these books! I can whip through them in just moments – which is about all the time I have during the day to fit in anything extra! They are so well written and easy to read that you are done before you even feel like you’ve started. They are not lacking on great information for their length, though. The books are action-packed with advice and stories that relate so well with what I go through.
That said, let’s get to the specifics of this particular book, “Building Strong Arithmetic Thinking”. The author immediately brings the information to my level by having a few wingding characters written down and asking me to solve the math problem. And then throws another one at me! She then related that to children trying to grasp their first encounters with certain pieces of math.
There is a distinction between abstract math and concrete math and we are forcing our children to look at and comprehend the abstract far too soon. After laying the groundwork that we should be focusing on concrete math concepts all the way through to third grade, the author walks through what we should be doing instead.
I like that she not only pointed out the problem, but helped me figure out a solution. She made some very practical, easy-to-incorporate ideas that would work in my everyday life – not some top notch curriculum with a top notch price tag.
A very comprehensive checklist is included to help make sure our children have a strong foundation in math with such things as counting, skip counting, exposure to money, basic adding and subtracting, basic fractions and more. I’m going to be hanging this in the house somewhere so I can be reminded daily of the math goals.
Finally, she covers the topic of common sense math – teaching our children the math of everyday life. “We need to return 5 library books and only 3 are here.” It’s a reminder to expose our children to the things that automatically go on in our heads before we know it.
Overall, I thought this book was very beneficial in redirecting us from teaching our children the abstract too soon and helping us to make sure the proper foundation of concrete math facts has been laid.
Join me next time when I review, “The Great Books: A TOS Interview with Classical Educator, Fritz Hinrichs” by Kate Kessler. Until then, keep on growing!