Methods - Shortcuts

Teaching children to use shortcuts to solve word problems is entirely different from teaching them to make models. I have encouraged you to show your children how to model word problems. But shortcuts are something that they should figure out on their own.

Can My Children Figure Out Shortcuts On Their Own?

Absolutely, yes they can. The videos in this website should help to convince you of that. And, once again, not for one second do I believe that any mathematical abilities that my grandchildren may have are inherited. Based on many years of teaching I believe that almost all children can do the same.

Why Should I Let My Children Figure Out Shortcuts On Their Own?

If you want your children to be good problem solvers, across all disciplines, in novel situations, you must give them opportunities to figure things out on their own. Finding shortcuts is a good place to begin practicing because it is relatively easy and unambiguous. Shortcuts either do or do not get the same answer that the corresponding model would. To the extent that you show children shortcuts you are depriving them of opportunities to practice figuring things out.

How Can I Get My Children To Figure Out Shortcuts On Their Own?

Once again, the following is very general advice. I think that the best way for you to understand the methods for helping children to learn shortcuts is to view the videos on the Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division tabs.