Two weeks ago at our local homeschool co-op I had a mom ask me what curriculum I used. I didn’t hesitate to tell her that we have used Time4Learning since first grade and have continued to use it even now, as my daughter enters 9th grade. What can I say, it works for us!
At any rate, she was frantically trying to cobble together a fifth grade homeschool curriculum at the last minute because they had decided after only a couple of weeks of public school that it was not going to work for them. She cited concerns about Common Core, and told me about some of the math problems that her son had been doing.
I realized that I had heard similar tales about this new Common Core math in other places. Just this week I saw a video where a teacher explained how to add together two numbers, 9 + 6 (I think). She explained about how 9 was too scary alone, and so the 6 had to be deconstructed or disassembled or something so that a 1 could be added to the 9 to make it a more friendly 10. Do our numbers really need to be “more friendly”??!! I’m suddenly reminded of the elementary math joke, why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 (ate) 9!) But I digress!
Anyway, instead of becoming a one step problem, 9 + 6, it became a multiple step problem, looking something like this:
9 + 6=
9 + 5 + 1=
10 + 5 =15
Now, I do remember my daughter doing some math problems like that in her lower grade math courses. But what I don’t understand is why a problem like that has to have multiple steps. Isn’t part of the reason our kids learn math facts is so that this type of problem becomes automatic? When I was in elementary school (admittedly a very long time ago!!) we learned addition facts, and multiplication facts, and subtraction facts, and division facts through a lot of repetition, until those things were automatic.
So, I’m just wondering…
Is this type of math that I’ve been seeing related to Common Core new? Did you learn this deconstruction step? Are you teaching your kids this step? Honestly, my elementary math was so long ago I just don’t remember doing this, and my daughter would rather learn it the first time than to do mindless repetition or even show her work (becoming a problem for her 9th grade algebra, but that is another gripe for another day!) so this is not really how we learned math.
Please chime in and tell me what you think on this subject or any other!