Skip to main content

Explain Why 3 + 8 = 11

Why do our children have to prove they understand math by explaining it when they are unable to explain their Language Arts. If I asked my son to explain why he put a comma in a sentence, he would not even know the vocabulary to explain why.

Sentence: I went to school, and I took a test.

Explanation: When two independent clauses are connected with a coordinating conjunction, one needs to place a comma after the first independent clause and before the coordinating conjunction.

Does he know English if he can't explain it?

-- written by an activist mom on an education-related facebook page.  Used with her permission.


  1. Well I've learned something today. Now I know why a comma is put into a sentence.
    I still don't know why 3+8=11 though. The only way I could explain it is with 11 items, 3 on one side and 8 on the other, then put them together and count. Which really only proves that 3+8 is11, and doesn't explain why.

    1. And really, if you're gathering your bills together to pay the cashier, do you care why right then?

  2. Am I great at grammar? Nope. But I write fairly good-like [grin]. And should I ever go try to get officially published and all, I'd have an editor help with finding all my typos and extra commas and dangling prepositions and whatnot.

    For people who like grammar and rules and knowing the technical descriptions as to why we do things this or that way, more power to 'em. But, for me, writing is about expression and communication; we can communicate even if we don't know the official rules. In fact, that's the idea behind programs like Rosetta Stone: Stop starting with the rules and just learn the language; the rules naturally fall into place.

    I see the question behind the question as, "What do you mean by 'knowing English'?" Are we discussing his ability to speak, to construct sentences, to perfectly utilize grammar rules, or to write a textbook on the history and logic behind those rules (such as they are)?

    It'd be like asking this: Does Luke know food?

    Um... he eats it like a pro, especially ice cream. He can use chop sticks. He can cook mac 'n' cheese and make a pretty mean pb&j. He knows a bit about food groups and nutrition and calories and that bananas have potassium. He knows which restaurants he likes (and can even spell restaurant).

    All well and good, Luke. But for this test, you must be able to explain why browning butter tastes good from a chemical standpoint and the neurotransmitters involved.

    Uh... I've heard about this. Um... yeah. No idea. Don't remember.

    And this is the point where I ask, "What is the point of education? What are we trying to teach/test/determine/prepare?"

    Why does 8+3=11? Because those are the symbols we have opted to use to express the reality that combining a certain set of distinct units together is the same as if we had kept them separate.

    How's that?


    1. lol Written like a well-rounded Biola graduate! :)

      But those poor second-graders... they're asked "why" all the time in these math worksheets. Activists tend to think this is all "Common Core" math, but the truth is, this crapola has been around for a long time.


Post a Comment

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK. 

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series. 

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

 All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap! 

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.  

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D! 

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: