**Should I make my boys show all their work in math?**

…let me tell you a little story…

I once had a brilliant student in my 5th grade class. (Back in the days I taught 5th and 6th grade)

I mean crazy brilliant.

We all knew he would grow up to create Iron Man for real or blow up the moon.

This student refused,* I mean refused*, to write down the steps in math. But we stayed on him. We kept making him and he kept refusing. We were determined to help him learn the discipline of showing his work.

That was about 10 years ago. This morning I woke up curious, so I decided to ask him.

Here is the core of my message:

*Hi there!*

*I wanted to ask you a homeschooling question, that truthfully,*__you__are the most qualified to answer from personal experience…

*When you were in 5th/6th grade we used to “make you” write out all the steps in math. We argued that as you got into higher and higher math (and problem solving in general) that this would be necessary.*

*…I’m curious from your perspective as a now extremely successful adult… Were we right?*

*Do you now see the value of writing out the steps logically?*

*Why the heck am I asking you? I am now teaching my own younger boys (4, 6, and 7th grade) and every time I am “making them” write out the steps I think of you and wonder.*

*~Mrs. Sayler*

“*Well, to be fair I am one of the few people in the world that benefited from it.*

I went all the way through calculus 3 and ended up becoming a non communication signal intelligence analyst in the Air Force. I use high level electro – magnetic theory on a daily

You can let your boys know if they want to break apart the signal of a missile guidance or reverse engineer the jammer blocking out all the GPS systems of our troops on the ground, **you are gunna have to show your work because it only gets harder the cooler the stuff is.”**

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Related: Math Fact Mastery Kit