Knowledge vs. Thinking ( #homeschool )
<- Neil deGrasse Tyson speech. (I’ll edit this to embed it soon)

Tyson’s ultimate point in this video is one of the big reasons I wanted to do Owen’s education mostly at home. In  kindergarten there was a lot of emphasis on “right” more than “try again” or “did you look at it this other way?” despite “common core math” being about being able to figure things out different ways. Yes, precision is important, but if you start with precision, you end up having to memorize facts rather than develop mental processes.

It took me awhile to loosen Owen’s writing willingness after he left kindergarten because his teacher introduced invented spelling only at the end of the year, and he felt very nervous about spelling anything that didn’t match basic phonetic structure. He doesn’t want to spell things wrong. 

Eighteen years ago a CTO/engineer at a tech firm interviewed my husband for a job and gave him a question that had nothing to do with the job but was designed to bring out his thought processes. My husband was so impressed with the question that he talked about it for months afterward and incorporated the “how do you think?” idea into his own interviewing style. (I don’t remember it, except that it involved the variable N.)

Done well, what folks call “common core math” really loosens the brain for processes that help with more complicated mathematics. I’m all for it. And while I’ll help Owen find the “right” answer where precision is the ultimate goal,  I’ll reward process often, as getting the processes down really leads to precision. 


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