As I launch “The Grandpa Project” I have two grandchildren in the upper elementary, middle school range who have mixed attitudes and skills about math (i.e. basic arithmetic). I really see myself as a High School / Jr. College level teacher for physics and mathematics from Algebra 1 on up. I personally never enjoyed math as a student until I got to Algebra. It just seemed tedious. It was always taught with an emphasis on perfection in the performance of routine tasks rather than problem solving and understanding patterns or interesting ideas. The main problems that interested me at this level were the “word problems,” as they called them in my day, or “story problems” as they seem to be called now. I haven’t seen myself as the right person to write a prealgebra course. I gladly pass that baton off to other teachers, like Maria Miller, who do a good job at this level.
Nevertheless, my daughter prevailed upon me to do some middle school level videos for long-distance video tutoring of my second generation offspring. I am putting these on YouTube with an annotated index here on my website primarily so they can easily access them. At the same time these videos can become a free resource for other students not yet ready for Algebra. If you watch these videos you will get a feel for my teaching style and hopefully will come back for more when you are ready for the Algebra through Calculus curriculum.
I am not following Common Core or any other set of standards. I am teaching the math as I know it, to be accessed and used by families of elementary and middle school students in whatever way they see fit. I teach methods that work well even though they may or may not follow the “standard” procedure. There really is more than one way to do just about anything in math. Finding new ways to do computations and new ways to visualize problems is closer to real math than just sitting down and memorizing a process. This may get you in trouble with overly rigid (Freud had a better word for it) teachers that insist that students do things their way. My attitude is that if a method gives the correct answer, reliably, it is a correct method.
I don’t have a complete curriculum here, with practice problems, etc. These videos are intended to supplement any textbook. They are aimed at students who have had a first exposure to these concepts in the lower grades and want a good review with more understanding this time around. That is the goal, at least. I am open to feedback, especially requests for topics you would find helpful to add to the collection.