Answers to Questions About Learning and School
Parents send their children to school and trust that the "magic" of learning happens. Parents often think they know about school because they went to school. People who have worked in school know it is quite different from what they remember from childhood.
When children have no problems in school, parents don't think to ask questions. When children have difficulties, parents often don't understand the situation and try to deal with the consequences of the problems. This page attempts to simply answer common questions that many parents have about school and how their children learn.
- Why don't my child's teachers teach what my child needs to know?
- Who decides what my child will learn?
- What is taught in each level of school?
- What does it mean that my child's school is in crisis?
- Is this a good system of grading schools?
- What are educators doing?
- What is the difference between remediation and intervention?
- School Safety
- Cognitive Development
- School Readiness
- What are the most important things for my child to know in math?
- What are the basic problems children have in math?
- What are other problems in math?
"Rules" change in math. Children often have problems with time, measurement and money. Our number and money systems are easy to learn because they are based on 10. The problems arise when children are not used to handling or using money. They must count pictured money that uses the different coins. They must be able to count by combinations of 1s, 5s, 10s, 25s and 50s. They usually go back to counting on their fingers again. They become overwhelmed with changing and keeping track of how many times they added or counted.
We now use digital time pieces and children don't learn to tell or change times with analog (round) clocks. Time is based on 60 (seconds per minute and minutes per hour), 24 (hours per day), 7 (days per week), 12 (months per year), 28 or 30 or 31 (days per month), and 365 or 366 (days per year). Children become overwhelmed with the different systems and quit trying.
Measurement is similar because it is not as simple as the metric (base 10) system. In our linear system, we have 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet or 36 inches in a yard; we rarely use feet (5,280) or yards (1,760) in a mile. Our inches are divided into 16 segments that may change names (for example, 1/2=1/4, 2/8, 8/16). Students who don't understand division and fractions will have difficulty with linear measurement. Volume and weight measurement, if covered in school, is done abstractly (pictures and words only). We have an 8 ounce cup but 2 cups to a pint, 2 pints to a quart and 4 quarts to a gallon. A pint (16 ounces) is the same as a pound which has no larger units that are commonly used.
- What are the higher math classes my child must take?
Click here to listen to recordings of Dr. Jennifer Little discussing various topics relating to education.