Another Great Site for Learning Math at Home

For online math learning, I usually recommend Khan Academy. But it’s good to find other resources too. I recently came across, a great site that could be helpful to you or your kids for math studies.

Using the site is free. You don’t even need to log in to access the lessons, though logging in allows you to record your progress. (I haven’t yet set up an account, but I think there are also more opportunities to review material if you’re logged in.)

From what I’ve seen so far, here’s what I like about this site:

– The videos are interactive. During each lesson, the video stops at various points, and you’re asked to solve problems. This means you can’t just listen passively. You need to be able to show that you’re paying attention and can figure out what’s going on.

– The lessons check that you have the relevant background knowledge. For example, at the start of the video on raising numbers to a negative power, you’re tested with a question on dividing exponents and given a chance to review if you’ve forgotten.

– Basic math doesn’t get overlooked. For instance, the algebra unit includes videos on arithmetic principles. This is helpful to students who are starting algebra but may have forgotten certain rules about multiplying negative numbers, for instance.

One drawback to the site is that it’s a little “calculator-heavy” in its approach. If you want to study how to multiply or divide decimals by hand, you may need to look somewhere else for a review.

But overall it’s a useful site that I recommend as a supplement to your math studies.

Counting counts for young children’s math performance in school

The Count from Sesame Street

Does your preschooler know how to count from one to ten? How about from one to twenty?

And is the child really counting or just reciting the number sequence?

Preschool-aged children can know the order of numbers from one to ten or twenty, much as they know how to recite the letters of the alphabet in their proper order. But counting is not only about knowing the numbers in order; it involves assigning each number to an object being counted in a given set (e.g. the ducks on a page in a book) and understanding that the last number in the sequence is the total number of objects in the set.

One reason the distinction between recitation and counting is important on a practical level is that preschoolers who are able to both recite numbers and count with them perform better at math when they enter elementary school, according to this study.

Teaching counting can be a simple matter of integrating it into day-to-day activities, as the researchers recommend:

“When adults read books with children, they can count the ducks on the page. They might count the leaves that fall to the ground outside or the number of carrots at lunchtime.”

I think regularly using math in everyday life also teaches kids that math isn’t a weird and difficult subject. Many kids fear math and see numbers as abstract nonsense. Incorporating math into simple daily activities (counting money, telling time, sharing toys or candies equally among friends) may show them otherwise.