Calculus by and for Young People

by Sharon
(Leavenworth, Kansas)

We've used Calculus by and for Young People by Don Cohen from early elementary to junior high since 2004.

Likes: This is serious math and yet my kids catch on.

The worksheet book is huge: over 300 perforated pages! I let them do what they want and they may practice as much as they want. They actually have fun, especially with infinitive series.

This seems to help other math they are doing, too. All other functions, from fractions down to addition seem to be clearer to them after working with these worksheets.

Who would have thought this could be? It seems backwards. I am truly amazed. I don't have natural math whiz kids. Furthermore, higher math was always a foreign language to me. They look at the workbook and just figure things out without me.

I also don't let them write in the workbook so that we can save money. This works fine. You have permission to copy special graph and design papers in the appendix.

I like that this in not a linear program or simply a one-year course. It is a program that introduces problems for the kids. They may work for weeks on one problem, but as long as they are having fun, why should I complain? This has really helped them see the math. We use it for fun, instead of as a regular math program. Yes, a game of calculus worksheets! That even sounds wrong, but as long as it is not stressful, most kids think learning of any kind is fun.

Mine like the worksheets. Perhaps they also just like it when I say they can do something beside their regular math program that day.

It also seems that you could likely use the worksheets without even getting the book, though the newest edition of the book might help in implementing the worksheets (I have a much older edition of the book). For example, a page in chapter 2, after working awhile with infinitive series, Mr. Cohen has the child tell how he would share 6 cookies with 7 people. The child is told to cut 3x5 cards to show his operations. It works so much better with rectangles than with circles, but one of my kids did craftily suggested that we "experiment" with real cookies. They relate to this, though! That is what is wild. He makes young kids relate to calculus!

You will need to purchase extras like graph paper, index cards, and such. The worksheets are written for the child. The numbers and graphs confuse me, even though the kids get it most of the time (maybe it would help if I had the newest edition of the book). I admit that I sometimes suffer for a lack of understanding. I can't answer their questions beyond what the book tells them. Someone who knows higher math would have no problem, though.

The book and the workbook together will cost $35. and that is no small price.

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