# John Taylor Gatto quote about learning all math in 100 days?

#### Rebecca M.

Hi all:

I figure if anyone knows the source of this, they'd be on this list. :)

I realize Gatto is not an unschooler but I also know that his work has inspired many of us in our living/learning journeys with our kids.

Somewhere along the way, Gatto made a comment about all it would take to learn all the conventional math from K through 12. Someone did find the quote in the Seven-Lesson School Teacher essay:

"Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and

arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience

is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then

move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these

things, it really isn't very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric

textbook from 1850 and you'll see that the texts were pitched then on what would

today be considered college level. The continuing cry for "basic skills"

practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for

twelve years and teach them the seven lessons I've just described to you."

-John Taylor Gatto

Is this all there is? Or did he go into it more somewhere else? Or did someone else go into it more somewhere else?

This is bugging me today (as I swear I've read something more detailed about it recently) and any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

Rebecca

I figure if anyone knows the source of this, they'd be on this list. :)

I realize Gatto is not an unschooler but I also know that his work has inspired many of us in our living/learning journeys with our kids.

Somewhere along the way, Gatto made a comment about all it would take to learn all the conventional math from K through 12. Someone did find the quote in the Seven-Lesson School Teacher essay:

"Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and

arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience

is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then

move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these

things, it really isn't very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric

textbook from 1850 and you'll see that the texts were pitched then on what would

today be considered college level. The continuing cry for "basic skills"

practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for

twelve years and teach them the seven lessons I've just described to you."

-John Taylor Gatto

Is this all there is? Or did he go into it more somewhere else? Or did someone else go into it more somewhere else?

This is bugging me today (as I swear I've read something more detailed about it recently) and any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

Rebecca

#### aldq75

Not Gatto, but an article that discusses it:

http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/math_david_albert.html

http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/math_david_albert.html

#### Sandra Dodd

-=-Somewhere along the way, Gatto made a comment about all it would

take to learn all the conventional math from K through 12. -=-

When I was first around homeschoolers, there was a John Holt quote

passed around. I never found the original. This was before Gatto was

on the scene at all.

It was 12 months, I think. And what it was was not "K-12," but how

long it took someone to "catch up" if they came on the scene late for

some reason or other--from a totally different culture, for example,

of if they had been incapacitated somehow. It didn't say all that,

but I can't remember what it DID say. :-)

I'm guessing Gatto might've picked it up from the same source,

whatever that is. It might not even have originally been John Holt--he

might have been reporting something else he read, but it's a quote

I've hoped to find for years. So thanks for stirring it up again! I

hope someone stumbles upon it so it can be clearly cited and spread

all around!

Sandra

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

take to learn all the conventional math from K through 12. -=-

When I was first around homeschoolers, there was a John Holt quote

passed around. I never found the original. This was before Gatto was

on the scene at all.

It was 12 months, I think. And what it was was not "K-12," but how

long it took someone to "catch up" if they came on the scene late for

some reason or other--from a totally different culture, for example,

of if they had been incapacitated somehow. It didn't say all that,

but I can't remember what it DID say. :-)

I'm guessing Gatto might've picked it up from the same source,

whatever that is. It might not even have originally been John Holt--he

might have been reporting something else he read, but it's a quote

I've hoped to find for years. So thanks for stirring it up again! I

hope someone stumbles upon it so it can be clearly cited and spread

all around!

Sandra

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

#### Sandra Dodd

The quote from that page:

I had just explained how the Sudbury Valley School - a

democratically managed, child-directed learning environment that has

been around for almost 40 years - has demonstrated repeatedly that a

child could learn math - all of it grades K through 12 - in eight

weeks. Average (if there is such a thing), normal (never met one),

healthy children, hundreds of them, learned it all, leading to

admissions to some of the leading colleges and universities in the

nation.

===========

I'll say this about Kirby: He went into the remedial college math

class he took baffled. Frustrated for a week. Dawning with help for

a week. Then he had it and got the highest test score in the class

and the second-highest class grade. It was fun for him, once he

could understand the notation.

But Kirby "had math" in very many ways, and that's what I think is

missing from that whole model. I think the "year" talk was for

someone who comes from some isolated village where they don't see the

printed word, where their mathematical notation is different, etc.,

and they come to the U.S. to study. They can catch up in a year.

But again that would be someone who CHOSE to do that, and who thought

it was interesting, as Kirby was with his math class.

MAKING a child "take math" year after year "teaches" some of them to

hate, fear and avoid math.

Sandra

I had just explained how the Sudbury Valley School - a

democratically managed, child-directed learning environment that has

been around for almost 40 years - has demonstrated repeatedly that a

child could learn math - all of it grades K through 12 - in eight

weeks. Average (if there is such a thing), normal (never met one),

healthy children, hundreds of them, learned it all, leading to

admissions to some of the leading colleges and universities in the

nation.

===========

I'll say this about Kirby: He went into the remedial college math

class he took baffled. Frustrated for a week. Dawning with help for

a week. Then he had it and got the highest test score in the class

and the second-highest class grade. It was fun for him, once he

could understand the notation.

But Kirby "had math" in very many ways, and that's what I think is

missing from that whole model. I think the "year" talk was for

someone who comes from some isolated village where they don't see the

printed word, where their mathematical notation is different, etc.,

and they come to the U.S. to study. They can catch up in a year.

But again that would be someone who CHOSE to do that, and who thought

it was interesting, as Kirby was with his math class.

MAKING a child "take math" year after year "teaches" some of them to

hate, fear and avoid math.

Sandra

#### Steve & Tracy Schad

The concept was from John Holt. He discussed math extensively in

"Learning All the Time." I don't have the book here to find the exact

reference but it had made a big impression on me.

Tracy in MN

"Learning All the Time." I don't have the book here to find the exact

reference but it had made a big impression on me.

Tracy in MN

On Sep 4, 2010, at 12:25 PM, Sandra Dodd wrote:

> -=-Somewhere along the way, Gatto made a comment about all it would

> take to learn all the conventional math from K through 12. -=-

>

> When I was first around homeschoolers, there was a John Holt quote

> passed around. I never found the original. This was before Gatto was

> on the scene at all.

#### NCMama

The story of Sudbury students learning math can be found in the book Free at Last:

http://sudburypress.com/home?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=43&category_id=21

Caren

-=-I had just explained how the Sudbury Valley School - a

http://sudburypress.com/home?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=43&category_id=21

Caren

-=-I had just explained how the Sudbury Valley School - a

> democratically managed, child-directed learning environment that has

> been around for almost 40 years - has demonstrated repeatedly that a

> child could learn math - all of it grades K through 12 - in eight weeks.-=-

#### Rebecca McClure

> **When I was first around homeschoolers, there was a John Holt quoteThe Gatto quote was from The Seven-Lesson School Teacher.

> passed around. I never found the original. This was before Gatto was

> on the scene at all.**

"The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher"...

"Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these things, it really isn't very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you'll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level. The continuing cry for "basic skills" practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the seven lessons I've just described to you." -John Taylor Gatto

I know I saw someone break it down... and it was David Albert! (Thanks so much, btw!)

>** I'm guessing Gatto might've picked it up from the same source,I'd love to read what John Holt wrote about this. I will look through my copy of Learning All the Time (after I finish my outdoor painting project!) and see what I can see (or maybe someone will beat me to it!). I'll also ask Marty Layne if she knows the source - she has a long memory for this sort of thing.

> whatever that is. It might not even have originally been John Holt--he

> might have been reporting something else he read, but it's a quote

> I've hoped to find for years. So thanks for stirring it up again! I

> hope someone stumbles upon it so it can be clearly cited and spread

> all around!**

cheers,

Rebecca

#### lylaw

there's this story too:

http://thewe.net/math/benezet.pdf

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

http://thewe.net/math/benezet.pdf

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]