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Posted on November 4, 2011 by Christine Crosby in Learning, Math, Trickomatics

Are Your Grandkids Math Savvy?

Ever lay awake worried about your grandchildren?  It’s the three AM conversation with yourself that starts with the  gnawing question – am I doing enough for my kid’s kids? Does this ring a bell?  If so, you’re not alone.   Here’s what I’ve discovered…

Every parent wants to prepare their children for the big, scary, competitive world that awaits them when they leave the cocoon of childhood — everyone including Rebecca Ehrlich, a speech-language pathologist in New York City.  She was one of those people staring at the ceiling at three AM, wondering if she could do more for her children.  Only they weren’t her own children she was worried about – they were other people’s children–the kids she was tutoring in after-school programs who were struggling to understand core math concepts.

So who do we blame?

Sure, public education is an easy target.  Despite larger class sizes and shrinking budgetsn schools are expected to perform better with far less.  Complicating the issue is the fact that children are being asked to learn more than their parents when they were their age.  Add to it the speed at which teachers must work to accomplish grade level standards and it becomes painfully clear why so many kids are being left behind.

“Professor John Richards, a social policy scholar said something that haunts me to this day” said Rebecca.  “Children who eventually drop out of school start falling behind by Grade 3.  Grade 3!  This is scary stuff we’re talking about.  Once a student falls behind, it’s very difficult to get them back on track.”

Simply put, children fall behind in math because it’s a vertical learning experience. You cannot become skilled at D, if you don’t understand A, B, and C.  Once gaps form in understanding, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up. This makes it critical to reach kids before it’s too late, but how? If your home budget doesn’t include the enormous cost of expensive after-school tutoring programs parents are left with a fist full of flashcards and a frustrated child who’s one step closer to believing the voice in their head that says something is wrong with them.

But here’s the deal – plenty of smart kids struggle with core math concepts, just ask Rebecca. “I was one of those kids.  I know what it feels like to believe that your brain isn’t wired for math.  I know what it’s like to feel stupid in a classroom and it’s a horrible feeling.  I can understand why students give up and what each and every one of those students needs to understand is that it is not them. It is how they’re being taught.”  

Despite Rebecca’s post-graduate degrees and honors she struggled with something as simple as calculating a tip to a restaurant meal.  Enter Barrett, Rebecca’s future husband, a successful investment banker with a passion for numbers.

“One night I mustered up the confidence to ask him, how do you calculate numbers like that?  I’ll never forget that night – in mere seconds he showed me some simple tricks that changed the way I looked at math.”

Rebecca found that the methods Barrett taught her were created in ancient Asia hundreds of years ago.  Wanting to know more, Rebecca looked at math test scores from around the world and discovered that the most successful students share one trait in common- they think in numbers.

Armed with this realization she brought this discovery to her school district as well as the students she tutors after school.  When met with startling results she couldn’t stop there.  She needed to share her new teaching techniques with everyone.  So together with Barrett, they combined their passions and created a fun, entertaining, and effective math program using an alternative approach of Hollywood entertainment and interactive technology for teaching children, ages 7 -11, how to think in numbers.

To learn more about this revolutionary new product, visit  www.trickomatics.com  And start getting more sleep at night.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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