Mathematics: An Advantage for Life

A strong foundation in mathematics gives children a competitive advantage throughout life, regardless of what career path they choose. Any student can do well in math with preparation, focus and a little hard work. Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.44.25 AM

A STRONG FOUNDATION

Our young kindergarten students start with creative, oral and written drills in mathematics. They quickly move on to firstgrade level work, which allows them to stay ahead by one grade level through Lower and Middle School.

Each level builds logically from the one before, establishing true mastery of complex concepts by easily working with simple facts. Our Lower School follows the A Beka program one year above grade level, supplemented with various resources, including Singapore Math and Core Knowledge — not to be confused with the Common Core.

Addition and subtraction are mastered at the kindergarten level. Multiplication is introduced in the first grade and the tables are memorized in the second grade. By third grade, students tackle long division; all arithmetic skills are mastered by sixth grade and students are introduced to basic concepts of Algebra and Geometry. Our seventh grade students take Pre-Algebra. (Note that some government schools now call this class Algebra 1.) Eighth grade students take Algebra 1. In high school, students take Algebra 2, Geometry, Advanced Math (with Functions), Analytical Geometry and Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus and the elective Business Math.

BEWARE OF FALSE MEASURES

In an effort to close achievement gaps, some government schools have resorted to “dumbing down” their math programs. This kind of thinking reflects no understanding of the true nature of mathematics. The U.S. Department of Education’s new Common Core curriculum is especially suspect. Its higher levels blur distinctions between discrete skill sets. By reducing content and presenting what remains out of context, educators who follow Common Core rob students of the essential building blocks of the discipline.

Common Core levels for younger students delay instruction in the most basic mathematical elements. These children are more or less trained to perform simple operations by counting on their fingers or resorting to calculators. Without a foundation and with little structure, these students suffer a disadvantage in working competently with higher math.

GREAT RESULTS

The mathematics curriculum at the Fairfax Christian School challenges students to their highest levels of achievement. Our students gain a vast working knowledge of mathematics, which applies to all aspects of their lives. Through focus, preparation and hard work, mathematics becomes more than just getting the right answers. It lays a foundation of discipline and problem-solving which cannot be otherwise achieved.