kitchen table math, the sequel: Kitchen Table Math

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kitchen Table Math

So I was just over at Art of Problem Solving cruising their textbooks (I'm loving their Introduction to Counting and Probability, which may be a good example of what Barry calls guided discovery), when I saw a prominent reference to Kitchen Table Math:

How nice! I thought.

So I clicked on the link.


Catherine Johnson said...

I thought of the name "Kitchen Table Math," btw, back when Carolyn and I were kicking around names for the blog.

That was in spring 2005.

Looks like Chris Wright published his first book in 2007.

Catherine Johnson said...


I think they ought to be giving me free books.

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Ask them for a free copy! They are very nice people.

I've loved the AoPS books for my son, and he is currently taking their Precalculus on-line class. He thinks it is much better than in-person math classes he has had. The class has only just started though, so I'll report on it (in my blog) after he's been doing it for a month or so.

Anonymous said...

"He thinks it [AoPS Precalc] is much better than in-person math classes he has had."

Hey -- my daughter's in that class too. In her experience, the AoPS classes are so vastly better than the one's at her school that it's frightening.

lgm said...

Would either of you have an opinion of JHU-CTY's high school math classes vs AOPS?

Anonymous said...


Well, JHU-CTY is far more expensive then AoPS, and the books they use, when they use books, don't look as strong to me. But we've never actually taken one, so I can't comment on the lecture notes or the day-to-day instruction.

-- tjb

Catherine Johnson said...

Anonymous - wow, thank you for that tip.

How are the online classes taught?

The Counting book I'm using is fantastic -- although I think the author doesn't grasp the importance of memorization, and, as a result, does not give students the necessary help and practice they need to remember content as they go along.

I ordered the algebra 1 book yesterday.

My sense of these books is that they may be fantastic for SAT prep.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh and gasstationwithoutpumps --- thank you, too!

If either of you are around, let me know how the online courses are taught. (Of course, I could go look that up myself, couldn't I??)

Catherine Johnson said...

I have a question.

I haven't been involved in the world of K-8 math competitions...

Do SAT math questions strike those of you who have as being similar to math contest items?

Anonymous said...


1. The courses are run as chat sessions once a week. There are (ungraded) problems due every week (with solutions given so that students can check their work). There are also graded problem sets every three weeks or so. And, of course, the books include lots more problems to work through, if the assigned sets aren't enough to get things down.

2. On memorization, they seem to take the attitude that, instead of memorizing stuff first and then using it in doing problems, you just memorize it in the course of doing problems.

This may not work for everyone, but it's been great for my daughter. At the beginning of each problem set, I can see her flipping back to the book/notes to remember the definitions/theorems. But by the time she's done with the problems, she's got the definitions/theorems down cold. (And she very seldom has to look back at old chapters to remember stuff she hasn't used for a while -- once she's used stuff on hard enough problems, it's stuck really good.

3. Contest math is great training for the SAT. In a past life, I used to tutor students for the SAT. More recently, I've worked with really good Mathcounts students. The Mathcounts problems are similar to the SAT problems, but usually harder (and, in some cases, much harder).

-- tjb

Anonymous said...

After my son spent a few months on Mathcounts problems in middle school, his math ACT score jumped around 5 points. I can't be sure that was it, but It made me suspicious.


lgm said...

I'd agree that contest math is good prep, but the prep for contest math for me in my time was Dolciani & Brown. One just has to know the concepts well to begin solving tough problems.

I've been holding back on AoPS simply because Dolciani & Brown were what JHU-CTY was using when I looked into it a few years ago, and those books with their challenge problems are economical for using with an elmentary aged child. We're now at the point where the kid wants like minds so I'm leaning on him to sign up for Number Theory.

Thanks for comments.