… a phenomenon that everybody who teaches mathematics has observed: the students always have to be taught what they should have learned in the preceding course. (We, the teachers, were of course exceptions; it is consequently hard for us to understand the deficiencies of our students.) The average student does not really learn to add fractions in an arithmetic class; but by the time he has survived a course in algebra he can add numerical fractions. He does not learn algebra in the algebra course; he learns it in calculus, when he is forced to use it. He does not learn calculus in a calculus class either; but if he goes on to differential equations he may have a pretty good grasp of elementary calculus when he gets through. And so on throughout the hierarchy of courses; the most advanced course, naturally, is learned only by teaching it. This is not just because each previous teacher did such a rotten job. It is because there is not time for enough practice on each new topic; and even it there were, it would be insufferably dull.
School classrooms can be exceedingly difficult places in which to learn mathematics well.
Teachers vary in passion and ability (as is natural); class behaviour and attitudes (and bullying) can alter the learning environment radically; learning in a large group at the same speed and with little opportunity to receive one-on-one help leads to boredom or frustration for many/most students; textbooks vary in quality and frequently lack stimulating material (because publishers restrict the size of the books); and sometimes students are negatively influenced by parents and peers who share their own bad experiences or attitudes.
Home educators, too, often feel that they lack sufficient understanding to teach their children mathematics … and the resources that they have access to can sometimes be bland, unstimulating, and even poorly explained or constructed.
My wife and I home educated our daughter and I have taught and tutored mathematics for many years. I am aware of the difficulties listed above and have often been asked by students and parents to create a website to share my understanding and resources with others. Crystal Clear Mathematics is the result.
Because this medium is not interactive (in the sense of allowing immediate interaction between you and me) I cannot provide the quality of tutition that I would like to offer you … but I hope you find the videos and the supporting files to be useful none-the-less.
Wow, how useful. … I always had a hard time with the chain rule, until I watched this video. The right presentation makes all the difference. Thank you very much. … These 20 second math videos you’ve graciously posted are excellent. I’m my little corner of the world, you’ve done great things.
avaratatat (on a CCM YouTube video about the Chain Rule)