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Professor B Mathematics
Activating the Contextual Learner

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Professor B Math Startup Information
A small package packing a LOT of power!

Professor B Math uses such a different approach to math that we believe it is important to begin with lesson one of Level I, no matter how old your child is and move through as quickly as your child needs to until you reach "new" material. This allows you to fill in unknown gaps in their learning to date.

It is important to follow the teaching methods and not skip what does not seem important. If the instruction says to touch a number on the chart, then touch it! If the child is to repeat specific words or follow specific instructions, then they should do so. To not follow the instructions carefully could undermine the child learning the concept with ALL of the senses such that it becomes a part of them through sight, sound, touch and understanding.

You may be tempted to skip what appear to be easy lessons or those you already believe your child knows well enough. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING! Go through the lesson to be sure of your child's level of understanding and mastery of the concept/skill being taught. If they have truly mastered the concept you can take less time to complete the lessons or skip the "practice" sessions.

There is no set time-table for completing the ungraded Professor B lessons. Completion of Level III is considered to be completion of grade seven level mathematics instruction in all areas except geometry.

The books are laid out to typically take one year to complete even if the child is only five or six when they start. Progress at the speed each child needs to master the concepts being presented. Level I may take three months for one child, or two years for another, depending on age, skill, and ability. The lesson plans give the recommended time to spend on each activity. There is virtually no lesson planning or preparation required other than to familiarize yourself with the new concepts.

You will see at the end of each lesson the instruction to have the student practice to the "level of facility." "Facility" means:

  1. ease of doing or making: absence of difficulty
  2. a ready ability; skill; dexterity, fluency

Your goal is to have the child master the concept to the point of not having difficulty and to have fluency and speed before going to the next assignment. This may take a few days for one child or a few weeks for another, depending on age, skill, and concept being mastered. If you see they thoroughly know the concept but just cannot seem to gain good speed (perhaps because of a natural learning potential) then proceed to the next concept and just keep practising for a few minutes each day for speed in the earlier concepts.

Each lesson builds on previous lessons. Level I adding and subtracting instruction lays the foundations for ease in learning the other computations of mathematics: multiplication, division, percents, decimals, fractions . . . that will be learned in Level II and Level III. Do not fret about taking the time to do just adding and subtracting. You are accomplishing important foundation work without the clutter other curriculums introduce.

Aim for speed and accuracy.

DO NOT work in the workbook pages until you are instructed to do so (do not "jump the gun!").

Professor B aims to have the child learn instant mental math concept recognition and understanding even before they put pen to paper in working problems. Therefore, extensive practice work on paper is not usually needed. An erasable white marker board is very handy.

PROFESSOR B MATH takes a unique approach to math. It should take only 15 to 30 minutes per day to complete Level 1. Let your child know it is helpful for you as the parent to begin with Level 1 so that you can "unlearn" some of the mathematical untruths you were taught as a child and to learn this exciting way of doing math. If you have a "math phobia" or would like additional teaching techniques consider the video tapes. The ones for Level II and Level III are particularly helpful.

Even if your child has already learned basic number facts, it would be good to begin with lesson one and move along as quickly as you need to, ensuring at each step that the child thoroughly understands the concept. Do not skip lessons just because you think the child knows the concept. You never know where the gaps are in a person's learning and if you skip some things you may miss filling in the gaps. Do not hesitate to move quickly through the lessons that may be review to your child. However, I encourage you to go through them so that you familiarize yourself and your child(ren) with these new techniques. Give older children the instruction manual to teach you and younger children the first number of lessons!

Have some fun with the finger games and drill charts and have your child try to trip you up as you work together. Touch your fingers to the child's fingers. For instance, when you are holding up seven fingers, have her/him mirror image your fingers and you touch together. This helps the numbers to take on an important touch sensation so the child "feels" the numbers.

Understanding – If the child is not "getting" a concept, back off for a few days and review previously mastered concepts and then go back to the challenging area – reintroduce it or take a slightly different approach.

Unison Response Note – When the teacher guide talks about "unison response," you, as the instructor should speak out the answers along with the children. Set a good pace for the drills, having the child(ren) calling out the answers with you. Eventually pick up the pace. Make sure each child is looking at the chart and following your finger as you point to each spot. They must not be allowed to look around the room and just repeat what you are saying! By saying the answers with them until you are sure they know them, you speed up their learning time. Be sure to include pre-schoolers in this activity and the finger games – you will be amazed at what a two or three year old can learn even by just watching and listening to the proceedings!

Full Worksheets – Some children find some of the pages in Professor B and other worksheets you may use to appear rather full. If you have a child who has trouble focussing on one number on a page of numbers, you may find it helpful to provide a plain white piece of cardboard or paper about seven or eight inches long and perhaps four inches wide. Instruct the child to slide the piece of paper under the question or line of figures being worked with, thus covering up everything else on the page. This should help the child to focus on the problem at hand without being distracted by the other numbers.

MATH Practice Sheets – there is a terrific web site for downloading practice pages for math. You tell the program what types of questions and level of difficulty you want and it generates a sheet of questions for you to print off free of charge. This is a particularly helpful resource for the child who seems to need extra practice work. Suggestion: do one page of addition and one of subtraction questions each day to increase their speed and accuracy, taking 5 minutes per sheet. The address: www.themathworksite.com Another good website is www.aplusmath.com