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Parents of Grade-Schoolers - Thoughts on Common Core

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

As many of you may already know, I have a couple of kids, B-), and the oldest is about to start kindergarten in the fall.  So the wife and I have been getting ourselves educated on what to expect.  I'm sure everybody who has kids in school now (in the United States, at least) has some opinions, possibly strong ones, on the new "Common Core" curriculum that several states are implementing.

 

Even those of you without kids have probably seen people posting on Facebook, or stories on Yahoo!, or both, and seen the complaints of the 'ridiculous' way that they are teaching the kids to add and subtract, among other things.

 

Anyways, let's hear your thoughts ...

post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

As many of you may already know, I have a couple of kids, B-), and the oldest is about to start kindergarten in the fall.  So the wife and I have been getting ourselves educated on what to expect.  I'm sure everybody who has kids in school now (in the United States, at least) has some opinions, possibly strong ones, on the new "Common Core" curriculum that several states are implementing.

 

Even those of you without kids have probably seen people posting on Facebook, or stories on Yahoo!, or both, and seen the complaints of the 'ridiculous' way that they are teaching the kids to add and subtract, among other things.

 

Anyways, let's hear your thoughts ...

Can you elaborate on that? I'm in the middle of reading the Wikipedia page at this time. I have a 2 year old boy and a little girl on the way soon. Anything impacting/changing their future education has my attention.

post #3 of 28

My daughter is graduating H.S. this year and my son is a H.S. freshman.  Political issues aside the issue I have with all of these assessment based programs is they take away learning time from the students in order to prepare for the tests.

 

NY has had their own version of tests to evaluate student / teacher performance in the lower grades.  What was happening is teachers would dedicate 3-4 weeks to prepare for the testing so their students and teachers ranked well.  Given the shorter school years in the U.S. 4 weeks imo is too much time to prepare for a test that really means nothing for the students.

 

What's scary as a parent is that both of my kids are National Honor Society members and my cousins son who is Top 10 in Charminade can't add two 3 digit numbers in their head and forget multiplication and division of numbers greater than 12 or fractions.

 

Go to a store where kids have to count change and it's painful watching them try to figure it out. I had one girl struggle so badly, she pulled out a pad and pencil, so I told her the answer but she didn't believe me.  She asked if I used a calculator, I said no I did it in my head, she said you must be really smart.

 

They may be learning some more advanced theory, but in terms of what you need in everyday life it's a good thing smartphones come with calculators.  :no:

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
 

Can you elaborate on that? I'm in the middle of reading the Wikipedia page at this time. I have a 2 year old boy and a little girl on the way soon. Anything impacting/changing their future education has my attention.

Yeah, here's the other link in my OP, but not hidden: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/common-core-parent-facebook-post-indiana-school-181841158.html

 

Ignore the story about the dad's letter for now, just read the question at the top of the paper.  They are teaching kids to do math differently.  And at first glance, it looks A LOT different and it seems counter-intuitive because it appears much harder than the "normal" way.

 

So the kid has to subtract 316 from 427.  Nevermind the fact that it's a ridicuously easy example that doesn't even involve carrying using the old way.  But basically, it appears as though they have you break it down into segments.  Something like:  you subtract 100, then 100 again, then 100 again, then 10, then 1, or something goofy like that.  Like I said, at first glance, it appears pretty ridiculous.  I would lean towards giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, because I find it hard to believe that they'd make changes like this for no good reason.

 

I also recognize that this way of adding and subtracting is oddly similar to how I do math in my head, as opposed to the old way, so I think it has something to do with that.  For example, 7512-1515 (our post counts):  I would certainly not picture the numbers stacked in my head, then try to subtract them using rules and carrying.  What I would do is say to myself "7512-1515, well 7515 minus 1515 is 6000 and 15-12 is 3, so the answer is 5997."

 

And I'm leaning towards the assumption that smart people have come up with these new standards for an actual reason.  However, I've heard very few positive things about this so I reckon I could be wrong ... this is why I asked.

 

And I've heard very, very little about the curriculum in the other subjects.  It's just the math that stands out.

 

@newtogolf , yeah I'm not at all a big fan of the 'teaching to the test' methods that have apparently become prevalent these days either.  All of the schools pride themselves on their grades, which are just based on what percentage of their kids pass the standardized tests.

post #5 of 28

im a spanish teacher in NYS, so to be honest its not much affecting me and my curric.  the performance review part that has been implemented would have been unnecessary if admins would just do their jobs and not grant tenure to mediocre teachers. 

post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 
 

 

Ignore the story about the dad's letter for now, just read the question at the top of the paper.  They are teaching kids to do math differently.  And at first glance, it looks A LOT different and it seems counter-intuitive because it appears much harder than the "normal" way.

 

So the kid has to subtract 316 from 427.  Nevermind the fact that it's a ridicuously easy example that doesn't even involve carrying using the old way.  But basically, it appears as though they have you break it down into segments.  Something like:  you subtract 100, then 100 again, then 100 again, then 10, then 1, or something goofy like that.  Like I said, at first glance, it appears pretty ridiculous.  I would lean towards giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, because I find it hard to believe that they'd make changes like this for no good reason.

 

 

 

 

I noticed this as well.  My kids do not even want me to help them with their Math because I try to do it the "old school" way.  I can't say I am a big fan of it.  I find it hard to give the benefit of the doubt on this one.

post #7 of 28
The elementary schools that I went to (probably more recently than most of you guys) adopted what's called the Everyday Math curriculum, which I still maintain was awful.

We never learned the normal way to do long division, we learned a system called partial quotients. Then when we got to middle school and high school our teachers laughed at us for not knowing basic long division, so I had my parents teach me. It also meant that if I needed help with a math problem my parents couldn't help, because they didn't know the method.

Everyday Math was also big on having students learn on their own. They would give us homework on something we hadn't learned yet, we'd inevitable struggle though it, and then they'd attempt to repair our psyches the next day by reviewing the homework and teaching us how to do it. I understand that when college professors do it, but it made no sense to a 5th grader.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

What's scary as a parent is that both of my kids are National Honor Society members and my cousins son who is Top 10 in Chaminade can't add two 3 digit numbers in their head and forget multiplication and division of numbers greater than 12 or fractions.   They may be learning some more advanced theory, but in terms of what you need in everyday life it's a good thing smartphones come with calculators.  z7_no.gif

That's why I got an engineering degree. Calculators for everything!
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

 

I also recognize that this way of adding and subtracting is oddly similar to how I do math in my head, as opposed to the old way, so I think it has something to do with that.  For example, 7512-1515 (our post counts):  I would certainly not picture the numbers stacked in my head, then try to subtract them using rules and carrying.  What I would do is say to myself "7512-1515, well 7515 minus 1515 is 6000 and 15-12 is 3, so the answer is 5997."

 

I'm not a parent of grade schoolers--my kids are still infants--but reading this paragraph of yours makes its hard for me to decide.  Looking at that diagram, it looks really dumb.  I had to read the thing many times to figure out what the heck it was.  But like you said, its closer to how you would actually solve the problem.  And the diagram is just a way representing that thought process visually, right?  Interesting.  

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post



We never learned the normal way to do long division, we learned a system called partial quotients. Then when we got to middle school and high school our teachers laughed at us for not knowing basic long division, so I had my parents teach me. It also meant that if I needed help with a math problem my parents couldn't help, because they didn't know the method.

Everyday Math was also big on having students learn on their own. They would give us homework on something we hadn't learned yet, we'd inevitable struggle though it, and then they'd attempt to repair our psyches the next day by reviewing the homework and teaching us how to do it. I understand that when college professors do it, but it made no sense to a 5th grader.
 

 

Partial quotients....  I have heard that one from my kids before.

 

Honestly the experience that you related is very similar to what I am witnessing with my kids. 

 

Like I said before, I am not a big fan of it.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

That's why I got an engineering degree. Calculators for everything!

 

Pretty much, break out the TI-83 :-D, then load up the software on it to play video games :dance:

 

 

As for the new way to teach math. It took me a while, but I understand it. I have to be honest, its not too bad. I will say it is logically easier to grasp the new method in my head than it is to do math the old way. Just visually its easier to break up the problem into what ever intervals I need to get the answer, rather than visualize the numbers, on top of the other, and try to work through that in my head. Given I have 5 years of advance level math in college, and basically taught myself the courses ahead of the teacher for my final three years at Ohio State. So I get math very fast,  it took me about 5 minutes to work my brain around the new math method. I can see how it would just go over all the heads of students, especially if teacher isn't good at teaching. 

 

The issue doesn't lie in the method, it lies in the problems. They are horrible. 

 

post #11 of 28

Reading, IMO, is the big one for kids entering school. I was reading as soon as my parents could get me, and I basically coasted through K-12 because every other subject is a lot easier when you're a good reader. The other kids who were still struggling with basics by 3rd grade or so had to work a lot harder to keep up. Not to mention kids are sponges so whatever they read or don't during their first 5-6 years in school will stick with them. The best thing for them is to have as much work as they're capable of doing, even if that means an accelerated program or something.

 

If you teach at home, and show respect for schoolwork, your kids will be better off. A lot of parents may pay lip service about their kid's grades and education but aren't really interested. It also helps if the kids see the parents doing the same sort of work they're asked to, even if it's doing crosswords or reading books or something.

 

With regards to math... If you don't speak the same language your kids use in class, they'll get confused. I don't like the stuff they teach now, but it's better to make sure they understand what they're being taught rather than teaching them another way. If they're talented in math, they'll probably do it in their heads intuitively and catch crap from every teacher they ever have because they did 40 problems in 7 minutes without showing any work. 

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post
 
Then when we got to middle school and high school our teachers laughed at us for not knowing basic long division

For the life of me, I do not AT ALL remember how to do long division.  For that matter, I don't really remember how to do long multiplication.  If I don't have a calculator handy, I'm doing it in my head my own goofy way.  670/46  I just whacked the keyboard to get those numbers, now I'm trying to do this in my head.  Here's the best way I can describe what happens:

 

50 goes into 670 13 times, leaving 20

4 (50-46) times 13 is 52

46 goes into 72 once, leaving 22+4 [(72-50)+(50-46)]

So, now we're at 14, plus a remainer of 26, which is slightly more than 1/2 of 46, so after all of the math in my head (which took me 3 minutes to write out, but would take about 10-12 seconds to think out) my answer would be:

 

"Just over 14 1/2."

 

That may look confusing to you guys, but it is quite simple and quite easy.  If the "new math" is following the same ideas, I can see where they're coming from.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

The issue doesn't lie in the method, it lies in the problems. They are horrible.

 

I don't see this as horrible.  To me, it's teaching kids to think and pay attention.  I see this as a very, very good thing.

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciusWooding View Post
 

Reading, IMO, is the big one for kids entering school. I was reading as soon as my parents could get me, and I basically coasted through K-12 because every other subject is a lot easier when you're a good reader. 

 

I agree with this point 100%.  I think many people underrate how much reading skills help out with all aspects of life.

post #14 of 28

Just remember it is the process not just the answer, if your kids can not understand the process and be able to show it your kid will be marked down.

So LuciusWooding you are correct about doing in there heads it does not work this way, even if they have the correct answer.

 

I can say that the best money we ever spend was sending our kids to private school from 6th - 8th.

One the class is small, two kids are not ready for middle school in 6th of course JMO.

But the big one was how much more of the processes they got with a more one on one with the teachers.

Some of you guys have met my son, he is in all AP classes with a 4.4 I would have to say it has a lot to do with him having 3 years of private school at the time he was starting to mature.

post #15 of 28

Mine are all grown. I have a few friends in the mid-west, and south, and here on the left coast that Refuse to enroll their kids in public school, and have been Home Schooling them. These are fairly intelligent people. IIRC there are guidelines you can find on the interwebs on how to get started. Something to think about if you have the time.

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post
 

 

I agree with this point 100%.  I think many people underrate how much reading skills help out with all aspects of life.

QFT^

 

Strong reading comprehension is a key to success.  I love to read and have enjoyed a semi-photographic memory for most of my life, though it's not as good at 48 as it was at 18.

 

My wife taught my daughter and son how to read before they entered kindergarten.  They don't share the same passion I have for reading, but I believe it's been critical to their success as it has been to my own life.

post #17 of 28
Quote:
 

As for the new way to teach math. It took me a while, but I understand it. I have to be honest, its not too bad. I will say it is logically easier to grasp the new method in my head than it is to do math the old way. Just visually its easier to break up the problem into what ever intervals I need to get the answer, rather than visualize the numbers, on top of the other, and try to work through that in my head. Given I have 5 years of advance level math in college, and basically taught myself the courses ahead of the teacher for my final three years at Ohio State. So I get math very fast,  it took me about 5 minutes to work my brain around the new math method. I can see how it would just go over all the heads of students, especially if teacher isn't good at teaching. 

 

I basically agree with this^^^^^. I think one of the biggest things as adults we learn differently know then when we were children. My wife is a 5th grade teacher and has to teach common core. There are good a bad things about it, but for the most part they are teaching the same concepts. Adults complain about the number line because the majority of them were never taught it as a child, they just see the homework problem and their child asks them for help. If the parents are taught the concept behind it they will understand it better. I have two daughters, 6 and 7, I saw the number line on their homework and didn't get it at first. Once my wife explained the concept it made sense. One of the big concepts they are trying to teach at a young age is the place values in math.

 

I think parents need to keep in mind why common core was started, basically our country as a whole is falling behind the rest of the world in education. The program isn't perfect but it is a step in the right direction. Teachers still utilize other strategies to get kids to understand the concept they are trying to teach.

 

Outside of that, in my opinion, the most important thing you can do with your young kids is read with them and have them practice math at home outside of just what they get for their homework(at least with the ages of my kids). It is similar to getting good at anything, you have to put in the work and have good teachers and coaches(parents).

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

For the life of me, I do not AT ALL remember how to do long division.  For that matter, I don't really remember how to do long multiplication.  If I don't have a calculator handy, I'm doing it in my head my own goofy way.  670/46  I just whacked the keyboard to get those numbers, now I'm trying to do this in my head.  Here's the best way I can describe what happens:

50 goes into 670 13 times, leaving 20
4 (50-46) times 13 is 52
46 goes into 72 once, leaving 22+4 [(72-50)+(50-46)]
So, now we're at 14, plus a remainer of 26, which is slightly more than 1/2 of 46, so after all of the math in my head (which took me 3 minutes to write out, but would take about 10-12 seconds to think out) my answer would be:

"Just over 14 1/2."

That may look confusing to you guys, but it is quite simple and quite easy.  If the "new math" is following the same ideas, I can see where they're coming from.

Sure, but you would never do that method if you needed an exact answer. You'd either get out a calculator and punch it in or you'd do it on paper.

My problem was that the one we learned was neither fast nor simple enough to do in my head. I think being able to do accurate long division and more simplified approximations in your head are two different skills, and by combining them (sort of like the partial quotient way I was taught) you're just learning a method that's not particularly fast and is needlessly convoluted.

I will say though, in your defense, that guy in the picture you posted (http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/common-core-parent-facebook-post-indiana-school-181841158.html) was being annoyingly hyperbolic. Really buddy, you couldn't figure out a ****ing number line?

We shouldn't be dismissing that way of subtraction just because it looks weird. I first learned to count on my hands, but eventually I got to 11th grade and they told me that was weird so I stopped moved on to more advanced ways. The same way how in calculus you learn the long way to do derivatives (the definition of the derivative, or whatever they call it) before the shortcuts like the power rule, quotient rule, chain rule, etc. I'm sure that once they get the more visual way down they'll graduate to doing it out like we all know how to do.
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