Thursday, January 22, 2015

More adventures in Common Core math

Math should not cause a kid to look this depressed and frustrated!
Oh ya, we all have them, don't we? Those nights of bending over the elementary school math paper going, “Huh?” Good heavens, I was in Trig and Calculus in high school. It was easier than this “Common Core” crap. Who in the heck decided to bestow this gem on grade schoolers? Is there still a firing squad, because....

The kid is frustrated. I'm frustrated. My ever-supportive boyfriend is on the phone with an elementary school teacher trying to sort out the madness. All because they added money to the subtraction equation in my grand-daughter's homework assignment without explaining to her how to break down money when subtracting a larger cent portion from a smaller cent portion. What?

Why are we doing this to kids who understand fully the math concepts behind conventional subtraction? Why are we not just glad they have the mental capability to find the answer ONE way? That used to be a good thing.

My grand-daughter learned math the “old” way. She's good at it. She gets it. Now, she has to turn around and learn math all over again. Because the fact that she understands it the old way just isn't good enough any more. Not only that, I can't help her with her homework because I have no idea in hell what she's supposed to be doing.

Both my boyfriend and my grand-daughter spent time on the phone with a grade school teacher last night. They still didn't get it. Friends, if the teachers can't even explain it to the kids or the parents after a half hour phone conversation, who the hell can and why are we doing this?

I know. I know. Times are changing, right? But let's face it. Not every kid is destined to be a rocket scientist. They don't all need advanced math skills, especially at the elementary level. Surely, that can wait until they reach high school, can't it? Then, they can decide if their chosen career warrants it and go from there.

Oh, but that makes too much sense. Instead, let's confuse the hell out of kids, parents, grand-parents and everyone else involved until they all hate math so much that they never, ever want to use it again, even in real life.

Let's make it as complicated and frustrating as possible because that's how we make kids love math, right? WRONG!

Elementary school math should involve simple, basic concepts that are easily explained. It should give kids the basis for understanding the way numbers work. It should not be an exercise in hair tearing, gut wrenching exhaustion.

So, what happened? Well, what happened was that my grand-daughter went to school today with her math problem done one way and a note for the teacher to please sit down with her and explain how to do it the second way so that she can understand it.

Will that happen? Who knows? At this point, I'm not even sure the teacher gets it. Because if she did, you would think that by the time the kids got an assignment requiring them to use it, they would understand it. That's the point of teaching something, right? Making sure the kids understand it? Or at least it used to be.


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