Making Priddy Part of the Family
Feature Profile: The Spear Family
For the past four years, Priddy Learning Academy has been a constant in the Spears’ lives. “I feel like it’s a second home,” says Mrs. Spear, mother of three. “The years go by, it doesn’t change. It’s like visiting an aunt or uncle. Math is just something you do when you visit.” Mrs. Spear’s eldest daughter, Carolina, enrolled in the Priddy math program in second grade because her basic skills were not what Mr. and Mrs. Spear had expected. “She wasn’t having any fun,” says Mrs. Spear. A friend referred her to Priddy, where Mrs. Spear noticed the approach was “traditional, how we used to learn math,” through memorization and repetition. Mrs. Spear’s son, Matthew, then in first grade, also enrolled.
Carolina soon became much more secure with basic arithmetic. She demonstrated quick recall of the basic facts, the hallmark of a solid foundation. “Memorization is not a substitute, but a basis, for more advanced learning,” says Mr. Priddy, founding director of Priddy Learning Academy. “The ability to instantly recall basic concepts allows us to learn more complex ideas, as in problem solving.”
“At Priddy, you don’t move on until you truly master a step,” says Mrs. Spear. Carolina was pre- and post-tested, then tested periodically while she was on a new level, just to assure her foundation was still strong. This is Priddy protocol.
Problem solving, like reading, requires abstract thinking. To think abstractly, one must have material to abstract. Pablo Picasso studied classical painting before he could trailblaze the cubist path. He mastered the fundamentals of drawing before he could have any fun bending them. As in art, before we can get creative with numbers, we have to understand their properties, what they represent.
Carolina, now in 6th grade, loves art and is enthusiastic to learn and create. Her main after-school activity is tennis, which she practices daily. Priddy helps her see that through hard work, effort, and tenacity, you can succeed. “I look at it as insurance,” says Mrs. Spear. “Priddy is a critical part of learning, and I’m not willing to take a gamble on that.”
With Priddy homework, there’s always something to do. The student is never bored. There are always problems they can practice, because Priddy assigns them daily. It helps the student see that the effort you put affects the results you receive. “Anything good takes hard work,” says Mrs. Spear.
Mrs. Spear plans to enroll her youngest daughter, Gabriella, who is four years old and shows a passion for singing and dance. As for Matthew, his favorite school subjects are science and math. No matter what the child’s interests, Priddy helps instill the discipline of daily practice. Comfort and security with basic facts is essential in assuring academic progress. This security, along with the confidence it breeds, is a lifelong gift.
Carly Susser is the Communications Assistant and Writing Coach at Priddy Learning Academy. To share your story, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org