The Gals
October 27, 2019

Here again are some aspects of my “out with the old” authoritarian parental paradigm (interesting that they look so great on paper):

  • A predictable, smooth-running household, run almost exclusively by Rules;
  • Kids obedient to parental authority;
  • Quick, decisive action on the part of the parent when kids veer in thinking or action from our desired path for them;
  • A no-tolerance policy for disrespect, talking back, contention, ;
  • Quick to give punishments and consequences and/or use authoritarian words and tones in an effort to get what we want from our kids (because we want it now).

Next, I’d like to identify two family types who live this way. See if you can see your family in one of the following descriptions:

This first family is one that’s been operating under the above mindset but for whatever reason, it is not necessarily creating obedient, compliant kids; rather, it seems to be causing more and more emotional walls to come up between parent and one or more of the kids, and them with each.

Since you are seeing relationships deteriorate before your very eyes while the initial problems remain or worsen, you have become open to new ideas.

(This describes the scenario with some of my own children and is why I eventually found a better way.)

For this first family, the reason I’m taking the time and energy to promulgate a new mindset may be clear:

I feel you, my friend!

Whether you’re a single parent (some of the most “single” parents are married), your child is especially strong-willed and “difficult”, or you have other big challenges, I want to offer hope!

My goal is to save you time and frustration, worry and tears.

I hate that your suffering and searching could go on as long as mine did when maybe, just possibly, my speaking out could help speed that process up for you. So here I am with hope in my heart.

The second family is using this same authoritarian paradigm but it appears to be working just fine. The kids are obedient, things are smooth for the most part, and there is much love to go around. The parents have a tight handle on things. This describes the home I was raised in.

So why might any of this apply to you? Why consider a new way of thinking when old ways are working just fine?

Well, I feel for the kids. I was one of them.

Perhaps it’s not going quite as well in the hearts of your kids as they would have you believe…

Now that my eyes are open to it, I have become stunned by the number of children in loving homes who (though generally content and happy): feel they don’t have a voice; don’t feel comfortable letting their true thoughts and feelings be known; don’t feel appreciated and valued (unless they achieve–or pretend–a sameness with their parents, or can jump through an acceptable number of hoops).

The result is not necessarily a lack of love, but often a lack of Depth, a lack of Real, and a lack of Joy in those relationships, to the point that emotional detachment and even physical distance become the most desired option to children. Children often feel this way without their parents even knowing it!

Or….you may be a family of a third variety, just starting out but concerned and open minded realizing that the stress, pressures, and anxieties of our day make for a daunting atmosphere in which to raise children. Yikes. This puts your antennae up high for extra parenting tools.

Whatever your situation, would you mind if we take a fresh look down a less-traveled parental mindset? Could these become the goals highest on your parental totem pole?

  • A completely flexible and ever-adjusting household, run almost exclusively by
  • Children who not only CAN talk to us about anything, because they feel it emotionally safe, but who WANT to talk to us about everything—even the hardest things—because our relationship is that tight…
  • Same between siblings; 😊
  • Children who feel free to voice their opinions and even discontent, free to say what is true and important to them at any given moment, no “elephants in the room” or even “dirt swept under rugs”,
  • Children who—using Truth, Conscience, and Love as ultimate authorities—drive their own education and growth, freeing up your time and energy;
  • Children who are Genuine, the precise people in view of those they want to impress, as they are out of it—no respecter of persons;
  • Children who are Confident in themselves, who despite the mistakes they will make along the way, believe deeply that it is a GOOD THING to be who they are

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll discuss more specific ideas of how to shift to and operate under this new mindset. I welcome your worries and questions and am sure that just like us and our kids, we will learn more together than we could ever learn alone.

If you choose to take this journey, please plan to give yourself a whole bunch of mercy and grace along the way, because I can assure you that despite all the mistakes you will make, it is a GOOD THING to be YOU.


The Gals
October 27, 2019

Out with the Old:

Don’t we all naturally believe that the ideal family is one in which there is no fighting and all children are obedient and compliant and lovely and clean and nary is there a snotty nose or a temper tantrum? Isn’t it natural to assume that whenever there IS fighting or disobedience or a bad attitude or defiance or disrespect that something has gone terribly wrong?? That we are “off script” and therefore there must certainly be someone to blame?? We can end up blaming our kids by attaching negative labels (“You are SO disrespectful”), or ourselves by believing our own faulty character is behind it. Often, we blame both, even if only accidentally.

Not a fun way to live.

With this “Carnegie Hall” mindset, somehow, somewhere deep in our subconscious is the underlying belief that life is a performance with a full house of people in their tuxes and evening gowns just watching us, ready to think in their heads–or worse–mention to their friends just what they think of us. What an embarrassment it would be to hit wrong notes…or lose our place…or trip over our feet!

This performance mindset about life can create a sense of worry and urgency; we feel the need to get a handle on things [our kids] and to get it NOW…if not yesterday…. :/

But then, what if we find that controlling our kids isn’t working out as we planned?

Well, if it’s not, that’s a good thing to realize because if we’re not careful, those negative feelings and labels can stretch out and deepen, like an underground life-sustaining root system.

But there is hope! Always hope.

I ask you to consider: might thinking this way be a little like expecting a person to begin a gym membership with already bulging, fully developed muscle….or to play the violin right from the start with perfect pitch and form, not a squeak or a squawk?

Unheard of.

(Incidentally, the squeaks and squawks that grate our nerves and make us stand up straight are not an issue of character and we know it. Therefore, how much easier patience is to come by! There is a lesson in this!)

If you relate to this hurried, worried way of attempting to influence children that I’m describing, I want to see if I can talk you into changing your expectations as a parent, to change your whole definition of success. (You can do that, you know.)


“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James


In with the New!

What if we thought of life and growth and parenting less like an unnerving performance and more like the working of a puzzle? Though there is much to be done to complete a puzzle, puzzles don’t stress us out. We are content to work on them here and there, twist pieces this way and that, scan for colors, take breaks if we want, and work on them deep into the night if we’re feeling adventurous. If we get some pieces in the wrong places, it doesn’t throw us off our groove; we know we can make adjustments as the need arises. If others help us put pieces into our puzzle, we are not threatened or defensive (unless it’s the final piece, of course!); normally we’re glad for the help and the company.

Another thing: as we pass by the puzzle throughout our day we tend to be nothing but pleased seeing it slowly take shape, rather than critical of what’s left to finish.

Buddha said it this way: “There is much to be done; therefore we must proceed slowly.”

I think Buddha got it right. I’ve tried it both ways and I’ve found that adopting his paradigm provides for a much happier day-to-day existence. Slow and steady, yet very gentle pressure, always proceeding but never in a rush, lotsa spice and lotsa flavor (i.e. finding out what your kids REALLY think) and lots of simmering—this is a good recipe for a delightful gourmet dish, wouldn’t you say?

You know, the little turtle didn’t get much notoriety for being so slow and I imagine he got criticized along the way, but wherever he is right now, he’s probably still a walkin’, headin’ to the sea….

The Gals
October 27, 2019

Speaking of jumping on brains (I prefer the verb “dancing” because it feels more…creative 🤠), making what we call “tectonic shifts” in thinking is a bit of hard work. All people are sure they want better results but wish they could do it without letting go of current paradigms, aka what they are used to, aka what’s “comfortable”.

 In my experience, the “letting go” part is 80% of the work. I picture a monkey, grasping a banana that’s inside a little cage, unable to free himself of the cage because his little fist full of banana is now too large to come back out through the bars. Yip, that’s us.

 So, as you go about your coming days–driving, washing dishes, standing in line, waiting for sleep to overtake you–will you reflect on the following examples of “shifts” and determine if you are ready to make your next one:

 * Think about the difference between someone feeling love for you, and someone who makes you. feel. loved. I bet you can quickly come up with examples of both. How many divorces are there between people who love each other? Also take note how many emotional walls are erected by people who do not feel another’s love, though it most certainly exists. Are there emotional walls in your home, your relationships, that you wish were not there?

* Think about the difference discovered by Sam Walton, a discovery that produced for his company a quantum boost in sales and net profit, and started a trend. You see, at Walmart, the customer is always right, always pleased, even if Walmart has to take a hit for it. Have you noticed? They’ll take stuff back you didn’t even buy there, just to make you walk away happy. So what if we applied that thinking to our parenting? Aren’t there many things we want our children (students, employees, anyone in our charge) to buy from us? Our advice, wisdom, guidance? Our hopes and dreams for them? Our instructions?? What if they bought our parental wares as freely as we buy any little thing from Walmart?

 * Think about the difference between paying for the Backs and Hands of others to get our job done, and inspiring them to also volunteer their Minds and Hearts to our task? Enthusiasm. A Great Attitude. Flexibility. Creativity. These are things money cannot buy.

 * Think of the difference between “It’s a hard life; we gotta toughen kids up, make them do hard things!” and “Follow your bliss; find your passion; do work that doesn’t feel like work to you and that is the quickest way to success.” The first philosophy, while good, can be totally eclipsed by the latter, with astonishing results.

 * I once heard of a man with a hot dog stand on a busy street in the metropolis of New York (I think it was). His business had a horrible bottleneck with his lunchtime crowds of getting people their change. Finally, he decided to take the “formidable” risk of trusting his fellow human beings, and began leaving a bowl chuck full of bills and coins completely unattended for his customers to make their own change before heading on their way. Do you think anyone stole from him? You bet. Funny thing is, his business went through the roof, netting him a great deal more than ever before. Not only did he sell more hot dogs, he made more money per hot dog sold, presumably from unsolicited tips of gratitude in exchange for his decision to trust.

 Well….my biggest goal (shhh!) behind MathHacked–teaching kids their multiplication and division facts in a way they dig and that ignites their thinking capabilities–is to be part of an educational shift that is similar in scope to the shifts mentioned above.

I hope to convince your mind (and who knows, maybe the world will catch on!) of a better way, one that will add life to your life. I call it my Millennial Paradigm Project. Hope you’ll join me!

Why do I do it? I do it mostly for the kids. I’m willing to bet you’ll like what you see happen inside of yours.

 You in?


The Gals
October 27, 2019

ALL I wanted to do was help my child succeed, so how is it fair that I had to be the bad guy? I had become the mother I never wanted to be, having to push and pull yet another child through that old math grind.

It was hurting our relationship. A lot. Plus, it was clear to see that my “helping” wasn’t helping at all. I was afraid she’d get behind her peers, but all my “requiring” served to demoralize her further until one day, she just completely gave up.

The doors of her mind had snapped shut, and it was apparent that she KNEW she couldn’t do it. She was so low it was frightening. I felt desperate to do something about it. But what???

Luckily, upon just a little investigation, I discovered something I could do! My daughter was

1) iffy and somewhat slow about her times tables and

2) they were literally EVERYWHERE in her math work.

Hmm…very interesting… YAY!! We’ll start those over, worry about what’s next later… But how? How will I to teach them?

One thing I was sure of is that memorization wasn’t working.” Not only had this method of learning not stuck the first time with my daughter, I had noticed from my own life that while memorization may have gotten me through tests or assignments, it did absolutely nothing to educate me. I wanted more for my daughter.

I told her the good news, “NO MORE MATH UNTIL I FIGURE THIS OUT.” (Luckily, I was home schooling and had the leeway to do this.)

I forced myself out of that centuries-old box and looked at math through the eyes of my child for the first time. Just as soon as I made this shift, ideas started coming to me, one after the other after the other.

One step at a time, I discovered a completely new way to approach math, a whole new teaching style, new sequences, exciting new philosophies…everything NEW.

I brought my daughter back and together we tried it out. Wow, piece of cake! Not only did she love this new process, it TOTALLY turned her around. So much so, that she quit needing my help (or pushing) and just took off through her regular math curriculum independently (!). (As it turned out, there were no more math issues to overcome! Another YAY!!)


The time savings to me were enormous—but that was nothing compared to the joy I felt, seeing my daughter discover and OWN the fact that she really was SMART! It unleashed her in ways far beyond math, and our relationship was sweet again.

Since that time, it literally HURTS to hear of kids struggling in math, feeling stupid just like my daughter did. That’s why I should be retiring and hitting the beach, I’ve “sold the family farm” to bring hope and solutions to every family I can possibly reach.

Call it crazy, but I love your children. A lot. It’s super hard to hear of kids struggling when I’ve got a solution that works SO WELL! It’s a game changer for your family, and for your child’s life–and it’s all figured out and DONE FOR YOU, every step is outlined, every “t is crossed.” You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

I can say this with confidence, because I have used it not only on my kids and many others, but at a private school (6-8 year olds). These were kids that came to math with the usual dread and complaining. This voluntary program ended up with 100% of the kids in the class opting in and nailing 100% of their times tables and division facts (in fact, they’d line up, wanting to be first–and were SAD when the process was over!!).

Their confidence shot through the roof, and, like my daughter, they went back to their math curriculum with eagerness and a belief they could tackle it. It rocked the school, it rocked my world, and has set me on a mission to share what I’ve learned for the benefit of others.

If you follow my simple, proven, revolutionary system, your child will gain the critical building blocks of confidence, solid math facts mastery, and mental flexibility to actually enjoy math and become an independent learner. See you on the inside!

The Gals
October 27, 2019

Natalia’s Math Struggles

Natalia hated math, and the more her mom pushed her and tried to help her with her lessons, the less empowered she became until one day she “hit the wall,” alarming her mother with the abject defeat she was exhibiting.

This defeat colored her entire world. Her confidence was shot not only in math but in everything else. Natalia had no try left. She was absolutely convinced she couldn’t do it. She was convinced she couldn’t do anything, that she was just plain dumb.

Math had been a struggle for Heather Linchenko already with Natalia’s three older siblings. It was the push, the grind, the fighting, consequences, ultimatums and the oft-quoted mantra, “You’ve just got to learn to do hard things” or, “Math is hard. Nobody likes math, but you’ve GOT to do it.”

The Old Approach To Teach Math Completely Fails

The same tired approach just simply didn’t work for Natalia. Heather confided in me one day that she feared Natalia was just…slow. She just couldn’t get it.

What Heather had done for the other kids just wasn’t working. Math had been the dreaded subject for them all, but she had at least been able to push her older children through it with some degree of success.

But she was getting nowhere with Natalia. Worse, it was fracturing their relationship. Yes, they still loved each other, but they didn’t like each other very much. They no longer enjoyed being together. Their relationship was strained.

It didn’t feel fair, because all she was trying to do was help her daughter and the consequences were ugly.

A quote Heather had heard many years earlier finally hit her consciousness with new force: “Learner inability is usually nothing more than teacher inflexibility.” Motivated to heal the damage she had unwittingly done to her daughter (in spite of plenty of love and very good intentions), she said to Natalia, “No more math until I figure this out!”


The Student Becomes the Teacher

With a sincere desire to fix the damage, Heather began seeing Natalia as a valuable resource as she asked question after question: “Why do you hate math so? What is hard for you? Why? Natalia became the teacher, the adviser on this journey.

Heather discovered in the process that the times tables Natalia had memorized hadn’t “stuck.” Because they were needed everywhere in her math lessons, everything felt so hard, so laborious, so overwhelming.

So, Heather figured she better start there to help her daughter.


A Better and Faster Solution Emerges

Memorization obviously hadn’t worked. Besides, It was boring and tedious so she knew she had to find a better way. With a mind open to thinking outside the box, ideas started coming to Heather. She started questioning, “What would I like? What would be fun and interesting for me? What would be hard for me?”

A system began taking shape that was based on associations, not memorization.

With the new approach Natalia felt like a winner from the start. Her confidence exploded.

To Heather’s delight, her daughter’s math facts were mastered in a fraction of the time it had taken to “learn” them before.

But this time, her math facts were solid. She owned them.


Mom Gets Her Time Back

With her math facts solid this time, Natalia sat down to resume her Saxon Math lessons.

Heather had assumed she would have to stay one step ahead of Natalia as she progressed through her math lessons. But to her surprise, all restraining forces were gone. Natalia took off on her own with newfound confidence. She knew she could do it, and do it she did!

Math became Natalia’s favorite subject even in high school (with no more help from Mom). What a transformation!


Trying the Process in a Private School

A few years later Heather served as a teacher’s aide in a private school. She saw that familiar dejected look, slumped shoulders, eyes down; the kids were whining and moaning just like her kids used to when it was time for math. Though the kids were only ages 6 to 8, she couldn’t stop herself from suggesting her new approach to the teacher. It had worked so well for Natalia and then her little brother. Why not for these kids?

She felt it was easy enough for the six year old kids should be able to do it. At least it was certainly worth a try.

So, this good teacher agreed, and asked Heather to try the program with any children that wanted to do it. Before long, every last child in the class joined in–even the defiant, the shy, the unconfident, the goof off.

Kids lined up, and soon Math became their favorite subject.

Startlingly, every last child engaged, and every last child — 100 percent — absolutely nailed their multiplication facts.

Parents saw a change in their kids’ confidence levels, even beyond math. Heather found herself surrounded by parents at school, wanting to know what she was doing. Their kids were even bringing their speed deck on vacation, and studying on their own after they were supposed to be asleep.

Quite unusual for an entire class to be so enthusiastic about anything to do with math!


The Power of Flexible Brain Training

It was in this class that Heather learned that a key outcome of the process (in the absence of rote memorization) was the development of a flexible brain, such that the kids immediately “got” their division facts. In one or two “light-bulb” moments, they realized they already knew them. Division was no new mountain to climb.

It was exciting to learn, also, that the six year old kids learned their math facts as quickly as the older ones. The visiting eighth grade reading helpers, on seeing these little tykes whip off their times tables facts would say, “How old ARE you? I can’t even do that!

Addition and subtraction were a non event for the first graders after that. Manipulatives were not needed. The kids could figure it in their newly trained brains, and they felt brilliant!

They had discovered they were brilliant through the process.

And just like with Natalia, math lessons were no longer a chore for these lucky kids.


Multiplication Facts Mastery Makes All Math Easier

Multiplication is everywhere in math, so learning, or rather nailing multiplication math facts without rote memorization (in a way that develops a flexible brain) powerfully paves the way to success.

The Gals
October 27, 2019

Memorization is an outdated and ineffective method to learn times tables and division facts!

Flexible-brain training is unique to MathHacked and starts on the very first day. For generations multiplication has been taught starting with the 1’s and ending with the 12’s through rote memorization. This approach is beyond boring and tedious, and it’s downright rare to hang on to those facts for any length of time.

Joshua Davis wrote an article entitled “A Radical Way of Unleashing a Generation of Geniuses” in 2013 for “Wired’ Business. In it, he states, “The [traditional] system as a whole educates millions and is slow to recognize or adopt successful innovation. It’s a system that was constructed almost two centuries ago to meet the needs of the industrial age. Now that our society and economy have evolved beyond that era, our schools must also be reinvented.” Here, here!

And to quote Stanford professor, Jo Boaler: “Too much emphasis on rote memorization inhibits students’ abilities to think about numbers creatively, to build them up and break them down.” She cites her own 2009 study, which found that low-achieving students tended to memorize methods and were unable to  interact  with  numbers fexibly.

In other words, we can memorize our times tables, but don’t have much power to do anything with them, at least with any kind of ease.

Kids quickly get overwhelmed and take on the belief they aren’t good at math

In learning their multiplication facts, kids generally start with optimism, but by the “threes” they are already convinced they aren’t smart at math. Only a small fraction of the kids rise to the top–not because they are smarter, but simply because memorization is their thing.

And so the self labeling begins: “Some kids are good at math, but I’m not.” Or worse, the child gets a label from the teacher that can devastate for a lifetime. Many adults have expressed to us the pain they experienced as a child (and beyond) due to degrading comments about their supposed lack of ability to do math; decades after the situation the emotion is still raw, and tears spring to the surface unbidden. One mother told us she and her sister still have PTSD from their grade school experience. We initially thought she was trying to be funny, but it quickly became apparent she was deadly serious. She had decided to home school her children to avoid the same pain for her kids.

Most mothers tell us they aren’t good at math. We believe this perception came from being required to learn their times tables through rote memorization. (Followed by the compounding overwhelm from new concepts rapidly being piled on a shaky foundation.)

The solution is simple and sure. With a flexible-brain training we have engaged 100% of the kids we’ve worked with (nope, not just the few “smart” kids at the top of the class). In this process kids actually discover they’re good at math (using a system that frees the mind to be creative).

Flexible-brain training leaves the mind free to see solutions

With MathHacked, even little tykes put on the “I am Smart” label from Day One. Quickly, they are able to jump between operations in their brains, and by the time they know ALL their times tables–i.e., the math facts pop out without thinking–their minds are free to notice that they already know their division facts. Division is NOT a whole new mountain to climb. It just takes a mind that’s free to be flexible.

With this solid foundation in place (math facts solid, flexible brain and “Dang, I’m smart!”), our experience is that kids are able to take off on their regular math lessons independently. They want to. They are their own tutor.

Just like they know they can figure out electronics, they KNOW they are good at math.

It is hard to understate the power of really believing you can do something. How far reaching it is, and how it spurs a person on to greatness, passion and mission.