Delaying formal arithmetic

Denise at Let's Play Math has been discussing delaying formal arithmetic, as based on Benezet's experiment in the early 1900s.

I have read the whole story (The Teaching of Arithmetic I: The Story of an experiment) and it's a FASCINATING though long read! These kids ended up having superior math skills in middle school.

Anyhow, Denise has highlighted some points of this "experiment" and you might enjoy her posts:

Delayed arithmetic

Personally, I do like to introduce "formal" or paper-pencil arithmetic earlier than Benezet did... as is customary in today's culture, BUT it's beneficial to be aware of how things can work without it also! You might get some ideas to use in your own teaching.


Christy said…
Have you read any of Constance Kamii's books on math? She did something similar, I think, in having some classes not taught formal algorithms.

For me, teaching my children, I'm not so concerned about avoiding formal math teaching as I am about also including all of those other math experiences.
Maria Miller said…
I tend to agree: I want to include activities etc. but not avoid writing down math problems (formal math).
Unknown said…
Maria, is there a curriculum or book that follows the Benezet model?
Unknown said…
Maria, is there a curriculum/book that follows Benezet's model?
Maria Miller said…
No, I don't know of any.

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