## Archive for August, 2010

### Pattern Recognition and Intelligence

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

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My method of teaching the times tables is based on pattern recognition. Did you know there’s a relationship between pattern recognition and intelligence?

I found the following on

Out of all mental abilities this type of intelligence [i.e., pattern recognition] is said to have the highest correlation with the intelligence factor, g.  This is primarily because pattern recognition is the ability to see order in a chaotic environment . . .  Patterns can be found in ideas, words, symbols and images and pattern recognition is a key determinant of your potential in logical, verbal, numerical and spatial abilities.  It is essential for reasoning because your capacity to think logically is based on your perception of the logic around you.  Your pattern recognition skills are expressed verbally through your long term exposure to language and your mathematical and spatial abilities are based on your perception of numerical data and 3D objects.

The webpage presents five problems that can be solved through pattern recognition.

Back to “pattern recognition is the ability to see order in a chaotic environment.”  Don’t we feel relieved when we recognize a pattern when confronted with a chaotic environment?  We feel panicked and stressed in a chaotic environment.  Stuck in a long line at the movie megaplex?  You notice the line on the left is comprised mainly of families with children while your line has mostly adult couples.  Your brain takes this in.  It has found a pattern.  The line with the families will move more rapidly because there will be fewer transactions at the box office. You step into the left lane behind families and smile as your line moves more quickly than the other. You’ve made order out of chaos.

We are happy when we make sense out of chaos.  We are frustrated when we can’t.  This is how many children feel when confronted with mastering the multiplication tables.  All those tables, all those math facts to learn.  For many children, the tables become a blur.  How to make order out of the chaos?  I believe my method of pattern recognition does just that.

### Our High School Curriculum Fails Our Students — What Can Parents Do?

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

An article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported that fewer than 25% of this year’s high school grads who took the ACT college-entrance exam, had the necessary academic skills in math, reading, English and science required to pass entry-level college courses.  Yet elementary school students improved on national achievement exams.  So why the desultory results for our high school students?

Experts, quoted in the Journal, fault the lack of rigor in high-school courses.  “High schools are the downfall of American school reform,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy.  “We haven’t figured out how to improve them on a broad scope and if our kids aren’t dropping out physically, they are dropping out mentally.”

As a former university English composition instructor, I can attest that the students who loved to read and were voracious readers had the greatest fluency in writing.  They knew how to compose coherent sentences and paragraphs and knew the rules of grammar.  They also had excellent vocabularies.

Regrettably, reform in our schools comes slowly.  The teacher’s union is powerful.  It is resistant to change.  Good teachers tire of battling complacent administrators and leave.   Parents tire of battling administrators and opt to homeschool.  Whether you homeschool or not, recognize that YOU are your child’s first and primary teacher.  The school may schortchange your child but you as a parent should not.

……………………………………………The WSJ article can be found at:  online.wsj.com/…/SB20001424052748703824304575435831555726858.html

### Summer’s winding down. Time to put away the lemonade stand?

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

It’s the first week of August and orders are trickling in. Either school starts early for many families or moms are taking the last weeks of summer to review the times tables with their third grader or maybe give their child a head start in math.

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Many parents remember mastering the times tables as a dread rite of passage in their childhood.  But it doesn’t have to be for their children.  My method is fun!  And not just because I, the author, think so.

I’ve received countless emails from moms telling me nothing worked till they tried my workbook.  Moms tell me that they never had to say, “You’re going to do 20 minutes of math every day this week.”  Their child needed no prompting after a few minutes of exposure to my workbook to become intrigued and continue working on their own.   Of course, this is what I’d hoped for.  I wanted my book to teach your child serious multiplication skills but be a fun activity book as well.   I wanted my workbook to be a real page turner!

If you have a story to share about your child and my workbook, please submit if.  I love hearing from you.

Image from bettertheworld.com.