Education,  Homeschool Ideas,  Teaching

Teaching and Learning Math at Home

Many of my peers, outside of the classroom, believe Common Core math is ridiculous. It is known as the “new math.” Several parents of my former students would tell me, “sorry, I taught my child the ‘old way’ because I could show them how to get to the answer so much faster.” You CAN get to the answer quickly with many “old ways,” one way is known as the standard algorithm. Basic multiplying and dividing strategies are taught early in Common Core math (as low as 2nd grade), prior to teaching students the standard algorithm, which is not taught until 5th or 6th grade. The Common Core concept is to teach various strategies so the students can manipulate numbers and begin to reason on their own.

How many times have you been to a store or sporting event and noticed the clerk can not figure out change for the cash handed to them? It is because they were not taught Core strategies to figure out the difference using mental math nor have the ability to manipulate numbers without using paper-pencil (or calculator) and the standard algorithm.

Common Core math spirals and builds on concepts to deepen understanding at each grade-level. It also encourages a focus of real-world problem solving even before students can read! In my professional and personal opinion, it is not “too much too soon,” as I have been told by parents who did not grow up learning these strategies. I have seen the benefits first-hand. Exposing students to real-world problems early and throughout their school years will decrease frustration and student shut down in upper elementary. After several opportunities, students were able to reason through a problem instead of relying on a teacher or parent to set up the equation for them. It also brought up great math conversations!

I highly recommend Graham Fletcher’s 3 Act Tasks to teach math concepts. Your students will be so excited and truly enjoy real-world math. They are unbelievably engaging! 3-Act Tasks | Questioning My Metacognition ( Kennedy Elementary School and Kami Cadeaux explain how to conduct a 3 Act Task: Math Generation: 3 Act Task – Kennedy ES – YouTube

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” — Napoleon Hill

If you find yourself frustrated with your child’s math problems, reach out to us! We have teachers at Kids Connected who can help. Our fabulous CEO, Tony Pritchett- accountant, is offering a real world math series for kids ages 9 – 17 for free! Kids Connected – Financial Basics for Kids

Our blog post, Keeping the Balance: Tips & Tricks on Managing Digital Learning / Homeschool – Kids Connected, provides some tips and tools you can provide your child during digital learning or homeschooling math lessons.

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  • Kristy Fahrenwald

    I believe the real problem with Common Core is the way so many school systems have implemented it. I think helping a child understand different ways of understanding math is great… but REQUIRING every child to fully understand EVERY method of getting an answer (which many Common Core classrooms are doing) is a big mistake. Children who understand the standard algorithm and are able to use well (even in quick mental math) have been made to feel like failures in some classrooms because they ‘did it wrong’ on paper. Many mental math strategies are difficult for these students to ‘show’ on paper even though they are capable of using them. Teaching other strategies is a GREAT idea… but allowing the child to work problems in a way they are comfortable with is also important. And teaching ‘new’ ways should never make a student feel like a failure.

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