Delayed formal math really makes sense

by | Math | 2 comments

Our now 14-year-old son had a horrible time trying to learn to read and do math simultaneously. I read about delaying formal math and promptly threw out his math book. Well, shelved it anyway. Within a month, his reading level soared 2 grade levels. It seems the stress of learning both was more than his brain could handle. He was 9 at the time. After he turned 10, I put him into Saxon 6/5 and he’s done fine ever since. He’s now just finished Jacob’s Algebra and is starting Jacob’s Geometry.

So, now, concerning our second son, who is almost 10 — he has never had any formal math. He helps us cook, so understands fractions. He spends money, so he can count, etc. He’s figured out addition, subtraction and multiplication on his own. He begged me to teach him to tell time, so I finally did and it took him less than 5 minutes to get the whole thing down. Last year on the IOWA test, he scored 3 grade levels ahead of his grade in math. I’m planning on starting him on Saxon 6/5 this fall and doubt he will have any problems. We haven’t done ANY informal math either, except giving him money to spend and having him help cook, etc. — things that come naturally in the day.

Delayed formal math really makes sense — as one wouldn’t try to teach a child to tie his shoes before his brain was prepared to deal with the complexity of shoe tying. Same rationale for math.

Carmen in VA


  1. Carolina

    I agree with you. But I live in NY, and in this state we have to report continually, present plans, and our children have to take tests every certain time, so i can not delay academics as much as I would like to.

  2. Jody

    We use Saxon as well. What if the child is very, very bright and you know he can do it, but he can hardly sit still most days…or would rather be out catching green anoles, insects, and the like.


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