"Math for Elementary School Teachers"

NON-Compulsory Schooling

Notes and Comments from Math 211, 212 Class discussions


Our education system is based on the Prussian System installed back in the early 1900's. It had the sole goal of producing non-thinking folk who could work all day in boring jobs. You will find warnings about our system buried in tomes like "Lord of the Rings," "1984," "Atlas Shrugged," on and on.

I have had wonderful, scintillating, shocking discussions with many of you over the years, and I was blessed to have a student in 211 who knew someone who is doing "non-schooling." So, rather than repeating myself, I thought it would be cool to post John Taylor Gatto's essay on compulsory education (by link), followed by everything from Unschooling to Calvert, and Saxon to Abeka. I will also include the homeschooling legal site that is standing nose to nose with the Prussian/Darwin/Carnagie anti-homeschool forces.

There are other quantum consciousness subjects to be discussed in class. The past members of the class asked me to make a web page about those points, and I have. It is called "Mike's Musings". I hope to also be adding stuff here based on visionaries like Rupert Sheldrake, Nick Herbert, and others.

So, here goes:

The single best written description of our education system.
Now requested to speak all over the world, the world having taken on our system ("Prussian") and watched their children collapse (required reading, now, for Math 211/212):

John Taylor Gatto

Click here to read the essay
Harper's has placed Gatto's essay in their
archives. I have located a copy on a specific
Teaching site. I am only referring to this
article as a teaching tool for my students,
former students and homeschool parents.

There is a variety of children in families, with a huge variety of "savants." One of the most unusual types of child is referred to as an Indigo Child. There are schools, now, for Indigo Children. You might find, though, that you or one of your kids, or one of your family are technically "Indigo Children." There is also a group of people who deal with their "savants" by allowinig them to do "unschooling," where they direct their own educations.

The apparent founder of "unschooling" type home education was "John Holt." At one time he had a web site called "Growing Without Schooling." Since his passing that site has faded into obscurity, but his books have NOT. I know any number of young parents who read Holt's books and love their contents. At least one of those people using Holt's encouragement is on our 211/212 mailing list. So, I have created links to Holt's books and Grace Llwellen's book, in order. Certainly you can buy these books on line.


Teenager Liberation Handbook
Extremely Contoversial
Unschooling Book

Before I continue, I MUST recommend that you read at least one book by Anthony Esolen. It was brought to my attention by a former student of mine, trained to be a teacher, but homeschooling her family instead.

The title of the book is "10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination Of Your Child." Had I known about this tome when I was teaching my 211/212 courses I would have made it required reading.

You can find it both new and used on Amazon, and, for that matter, in quite a few local libraries. PLEASE read it, even if you chose not to homeschool.

Yeah, but Mike, I'm a single parent. I'm unemployed. I can't AFFORD homeschooling. I can't AFFORD private schools. NOW WHAT????

Consider buying a used Saxon Math book online and having your student work problems in the evening. All you need is a grade level text book. You don't need answers unless you are very poor at math yourself. The student texts have odd answers in the back of the book. There are usually at least 100 lessons in the book, enough for a year of study in the evenings. Be SURE you buy a pre-2002 edition of the book. The elementary school level have "Hake" as a co-author. Those are the ones you need. For further information, scroll down a ways and you'll find a more thorough discussion of the "Saxon" Math issue.

MEANWHILE, back at the Homeschooling ranch...

The "COMMON CORE" to the whole problem, now, is the "COMMON CORE." This unconstitutional system has hi-jacked not only State control of education, but book publishers. Further discussion will now attend to the "COMMON CORE" issues in Publishers

Some years ago an adult student of mine named Tom mentioned in class that one of his kids would probably dive into the Sega if given a chance to do independent studies, and another might just take of very comfortably in independent studies. Perfect...there are those whose backgrounds, genetics, whatever, would benefit from directed homeschooling and there are those whose proclivity is for self directed research. Question - WHY DO WE SEQUSTER THEM ALL IN ONE ROOM AND DEMAND UNIFORMITY!!!

So, I'm compiling a list of all the incredible homeschooling information here, beginning with the national association. If you are going to do homeschooling you should consider joining an umbrella group where you can have protection from the minions of Sargon who would have your children toiling under the industrial system, to (quoting Malthus, Darwin's cousin) be given "short brutish lives."

The LEGAL umbrella, knowing the group is a must:

It is here you can locate information about your state or county

Home School Legal Defense Association

MEANWHILE Designing your own Home School Program

Hunter Safety

Smithsonian Visits for Homeschoolers

Incredible Distance
Learning Program


For the advanced homeschooler who wants the absolute best eductaion available, MIT has created an ENORMOUS body of free materials in a host of subjects. Each course offers it's Syllabus, the textbook (which I found can ordinarily be purchased used on line) ISBN, course outline, assignment sheets, special readings, and in some instances video lectures. The project requests "donations," but the whole body for each course, subject, discipline is listed as free. I noticed that materials are presented in downloadable PDF format....this is a JEWEL for your student who is looking for top level education.


An incredible new tutoring program had arrived on the internet, supported by Bill Gates, and designed by a young genius who's last hame is Kahn. Since it's inception, the Khan program has become "Common Core" compliant. For that reason I can NOT recommend it, or any of it's many products.

Here is their statement taken from their site:
Created and peer-reviewed by a team of math educators, our exercises include full coverage of US Common Core and beyond, ranging from early math through calculus.


Writing from Newport, Washington, a former student and long time homeschooler wrote me:

For web generated worksheets we discovered "HELPING WITH MATH":

There are games and such.

I can see why she uses the materials. I looked over several practice sheets and they are great. They have a little box at the top that will include or exclude the answers to all the problems from your printout. The service is free.
Thanks, Judith!!!!


The early SAXON
Mathematics Program
is of finest quality

The Saxon Math program was so successful that it became a curriculum in a great number of schools nation wide. I used it to restore a traditional math program in three different school districts over the years. Unfortunately, John Saxon passed in the late '90's and in 2003 his family decided to sell the Saxon Publishers to a European holding company that owns Harcourt-Houghton Mifflin Publishers. At that point, the publishers decided to make the program compatable to the "New Math" concepts that were sweeping the nation.

Since then, the Hougton-Mifflin writers worked to make "Saxon Math" Common Core compatable. Fortunately, there are thousands of used Saxon Math books available on-line. The parent needs to look for titles that were published prior to 2002. One of the things to look for in the lower grade books is "Saxon - Hake" as authors. The books are available at a modest price at such sites as "" and ""

One habit John (Saxon) had was to include Venn Diagrams in his Algebra -1/2, Algebra I, and Algebra II books. I found that it was best to just skip ALL those lessons that had those pictures in their problems. I tried to explain to John my distaste for the needless concept, but he held that visuals like that were useful. I countered with the FACT that at least 40% of Math learners were NOT visual no avail. SO I just skip all those lessons (there is NO loss to the flow of the courses).

If you can obtain the "Teacher's Edition" of the level you are going to use, it gives you access to all the answers in the text book. If you are home-schooling you should also try to pick up a set of tests and a set of quizzes (though the quizzes aren't as imperative as the tests).

Here are several pictures of a few the texts you should consider:

Here is another recent product on the market for home and private schooling use.

VideoText OnLine

We have had the opportunity to study every aspect of this complete Math package. There are several glaring weaknesses in the Pre-Algebra/Algebra sections, but the Geometry section is very clear. A number of home-schoolers are now using this package, so you might be able to borrow or buy the Algebra-II and Geometry sections.

...and you MIGHT want to include reading and penmanship

The Common Core system virtually eliminated penmanship for a specific reason. It has been shown that cursive writing is part and parcel of the development of the human brain, right along with crawling and poetry. Leaving the child printing, as you probably have noticed, has contributed not only to incomplete development of the child's brain, but sloppy writing which has become somewhat of a nationwide joke. Click to read an article (there are a number of studies posted on the internet) that cover the tragedy of leaving out cursive writing training.

...and you want to include a music lesson system that promotes
maximizing your child's progress, self confidence, and joy...

...then you need to contact other families and get in an umbrella group

Various Organized Schools With Curricula Packages

Click here to look at another incredible program for Homeschooling Note that you can keep your own records or they will do it for you
Having had a great deal of experience with the 7-12 levels of Abeka Math, I would
recommend it more for those students who are obviously advanced placement students,
and who have a drive to do very complicated word problems of all types.

ANOTHER COMPLETE homeschooling package for the parent who does not want to create their own program

Last year I came across a complete homeschooling package I'd neve heard of
before. The creator is a world famous scientist who worked with Linus
Pauling, and who initiated the Global Warming Petition to protest the
incredibly bad science used to foist social change on the world population

The program uses Saxon Math, and insists on reading, exposition and
other subjects. If you go to the site, you can print out his manual and it
is truly refreshing and exhilarating to read

Various Organized Private Schools With Curricula Outside The Home

Our grandson attends a Stevens County private school that uses the Waldorf method of teaching. The program is incredibly flexible and concentrates on developing the whole child, knowing that no two of them are alike. The school's name is "Riverwood." If you are local here is their web page: The Waldorf Method of teaching has been in use for a long time. Here is a web site specifically directed to their programs. There are connections to regional information on their "Resource" page.

In addition, the Montessori program has been in operation worldwide as well. The program is structured for the very young student and develops the whole child.

America has a problem. You can help by doing everything in your power as a parent to make sure your children are well educated and resiliant enough to make a life for themselves and their children.

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