Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home Schooling - The Importance of Showing Your Work

The difference between showing your work and doing everything in your head is the same as the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Alex has always found math to be easy.  He is now starting to be challenged with Algebra II.  He used to complain about having to show his work...since he could figure out things easily in his head.  What he hadn't realized was as more and more variables are thrown into the becomes easy to lose track.  

There are many children who can think out many problems in their head....and it has its place...however, they never learn correct study habits....they never master the concepts of learning...they instead rely on their natural talents...not realizing that though they may be the speedy one initially...the ones who work methodically will eventually surpass them in capability.  As the problems get more complex...their ability to keep track of the details becomes strained.  When they write out the problems..they may then concentrate on problem progression.

This was one of his problems in today's lesson.  He tried to just figure it out in his head and give a snap answer.

He had gotten it wrong.....he retried...showing his work....

and had gotten it correct.

He was happy at not only answering the problem....but at the realization of the importance of showing his work.  He used to fight us over this since he hadn't seen the sense in it before.  He is taking on the aspect of the tortoise now.....the long term view of learning and math. 

The story of The Tortoise and the Hare applies to many things in them the story when they are is the way to true wisdom in whatever discipline they may choose.  Mastery of a logical progression of thought using proven concepts...step by step....Success is a forgone conclusion.

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