In the 1930's, Louis Bénézet, a superintendent of several schools in New Hampshire made the interesting experiment of teaching no formal arithmetic until grade 6:
In the fall of 1929 I made up my mind to try the experiment of abandoning all formal instruction in arithmetic below the seventh grade and concentrating on teaching the children to read, to reason, and to recite - my new Three R's. And by reciting I did not mean giving back, verbatim, the words of the teacher or of the textbook. I meant speaking the English language. I picked out five rooms - three third grades, one combining the third and fourth grades, and one fifth grade.
He wrote about it in Teaching of Arithmetic I, II, III: The Story of an Experiment, and the results seem very impressive. On the other hand, the findings are described in a style that seems more anecdotal than objective at times, and I would like to know more details.
- Did Bénézet or someone else publish more details on the experiment (like the curriculum used, or how teachers were trained for it)? Did someone follow up on what happened with the children that were thought with this method?
- Has the experiment been reproduced since then? Was further research done in this direction?