TEDxManhattanBeach – John Bennett – Why Math Instruction Is Unnecessary

Talk title: Why math instruction is unnecessary

John is a teacher of math and a homeschooling parent who offers a radical-sounding proposal: that we cease to require math instruction in middle and high school. He came to this point of view over a number of years, as he attempted (and failed) to convince students that the math they were learning was beautiful, useful, or an imperative component of their future prosperity. When he stopped trying to connect math with students and simple tried to connect with the students themselves, he made a profound discovery – kids are suffering from “math anxiety.” If the goal of teaching math is to teach us deductive and inductive reasoning, might games and puzzles be equally effective in developing kids’ reasoning skills – and allow them to fulfill their life missions? “We want to reawaken analytical and critical thinking schools that have been anesthetized by the standard curriculum,” says John.

John Bennett is a math teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and a home-schooling father of four. An outspoken advocate of education reform, he has presented lectures and workshops throughout California. He uses logic puzzles and strategy games in the classroom (and at home) to supplement the traditional mathematics curriculum. John has written three volumes of Pentagrid Puzzles, a new puzzle form he created to challenge deductive logic and visual-spatial reasoning.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxManhattanBeach, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxManhattanBeach event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.


From the Smiths:


Updated 25 March 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here


Needing help for your home schooling journey:



Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:




This link is motivational:

One thought on “TEDxManhattanBeach – John Bennett – Why Math Instruction Is Unnecessary

  1. Sorry, but this is an awful idea.

    Math is the key that unlocks both science and engineering — and without math, these disciplines are impassable.

    To think that logic puzzles are sufficient for home schooled students to obtain a math educations is foolish. Math puzzles should compliment a solid math foundation.

    Granted, students at school do often get left behind in math, but that is often not because of math, but because of poor teaching and student confidence and practice and practical applicability of math and home school mothers who also cannot do math, and student laziness.

    If home schoolers want to compete in the world and become salt and light in the workplace, they should as much math as reasonably possible. To not force your kids to do math is — to my mind at least — a form of omissive abuse that the government should clamp down on.

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