math educationMath for Keeps

Math and happiness

In public education, currently, it seems students have two options: they learn at the school’s pace, or they end up having a less than happy, thriving experience in math. Sadly, most fall into the latter camp, because the school’s pace really doesn’t work for that many students (at least not without a different approach for practicing skills to mastery).

Students learn at different paces. If practice methods were introduced earlier, we could probably equalize better, but as it is, the further along you get in age, the more likely you will be in a class full of 15+ other kids all at dramatically different levels.

In the work I do, if I get a student early enough, I can make sure they’re ready for each class as it happens. The more likely scenario, however, is that parents have no idea just how behind their students are until after the student is multiple grade levels behind. The pain point gets loud enough long after the “ideal” time to fix it.

This doesn’t mean it’s not fixable. For many students, remediation can still happen in time for them to get on grade level. Then there are students who, even though entirely capable of learning math, at their own pace, will not catch up with the school’s pace. In this scenario, for students in public school, it is so easy for everyone involved to feel defeated. Parents, students, teachers alike are all operating under the assumption that because the student is not learning math at the school’s whirlwind pace, which has been pushing them along before they are ready for years, the student is condemned to struggle and to be perpetually behind and to probably not really learn math at all. And this is all with students (those using my practice method anyway) who are absolutely learning math.

What if “behind” didn’t even have to be a notion? Already, some students don’t go as far in math as others, and that’s fine, but what if those who didn’t go as far still learned math, and still loved it? Of course, this is totally possible in public education, with a bit of overhauling. Meanwhile, let’s explore it via all the amazing alternative education options in Austin.


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