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Public school math is confusing...

Posted by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM
  • 41 Replies

 I watch my neighbor's daughter a couple days a week. She's in the same grade as my daughter, but goes to a private school which does the exact same curriculum as the public schools around us. I was having her do her homework when we got home since my daughter still wasn't finished with her school work. She finished realtively quickly so I checked her math over - not a single answer right.  It took me at least 20 minutes before I figured out what they were even doing before I realized she hadn't answered anything correctly! I asked her what they were doing in math and she had no clue.

It turns out they're working on mental math apparently and they're trying to have the kids write out what their brains should be doing.

          43 = ____ + 3
        +67 = _____+__
        ___ = _____+____+_____
That's an example of what they were doing, but there were no directions. So unless the kids knew what they were supposed to do, the parents were kinda out of luck with helping... But there was more to just that.....
What they wanted you to do on the next part was take it to the next level:

          43 + 67 
         +__   -__
          45 + ____= _____
I had a really hard time trying to explain this to her... I think they're still working on it for the rest of this week. The worst part is, they were working on multiplication just a few days ago and it seems like they're back tracking.

Any suggestions how I can help explain this to her?
I've tried showing her on the marker board and with blocks and then having her try using those.  She said she understood, but her face looked so confused.
My neighbor is constantly calling and asking what they're supposed to be doing in math since they never tell the parents what they're doing or what they're expecting

I meant to add this in before, but my daughter had finished up her math lesson while I was typing this earlier this morning and I forgot and just posted it...
The answer would be:

 43 = 40 + 3
+67 = 60 +7
___ = _____+____
But then you would solve the extended version first:
40 + 3
60 + 7

Then mentally you have to know that 10 can't be in the 1's column and 100 can't be in the ten and you'd put the correct answer in the correct spot of 110.
For the second part it would be:
 43 + 67
+ 2
45 + 65= 110

Sadly, it wasn't until I just typed this up when I realized they were trying to show mental math in 2 different ways...
Still, I have run out of ways to try and explain the concept to her.
Any suggestions??

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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM
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by Gold Member on Oct. 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM
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I don't even know where to begin.  This is confusing and without a text book to sort of show you what you should be doing I am lost.  BTW I don't remember doing anything like that even in my college math classes!!

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 3:56 PM
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Ugh. Is it "Everyday Math"? EM is the devil. Srsly. I hated that program SO badly when my kids were in ps! DD used EM from 2nd-6th grade and when she and the rest of the kids started Pre-Algebra in 7th, the teacher was so frustrated because so few of the kids actually knew any math facts! DD - despite our best efforts - didn't learn multiplication until that year when she finally realized that if she wanted to do Algebra, she couldn't waste all her time doing stupid ladders to get the answer to 8x7.

I wish I could be more help, but I never understood any of her math homework, either. Sorry!

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 3:58 PM
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Dude I feel you. I have no idea how to explain it to her but I know exactly how she must feel. The whole children can teach themselves thing, right? They were doing that to our classes as a senior in high school with every math subject. No directions from the book or teacher just the problem. I think its absolutely stupid and its one of the reasons I've been leaning towards home schooling when my daughter gets there.

((oh and I got D to D- in high school in all of my math to college with an actual teacher that taught and received A's the whole way through on all my assignments.......yea))

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM

That is the new math, which teaches math concepts. Even if the children get the right answer, the school system counts it wrong if they did not do the process as  wanted. College professors complain that public schooled kids are entering college not knowing how to do basic math. I think it is because of the new math.  It does not teach analytical thinking.

But it sounds like she is not homeschooled.  So you will need to teach her the "new math" used in public schools. I would break the problem down in smaller pieces, and take one step at a time using objects (such as pennies or blocks as you mentioned).  Also I would start out with smaller numbers, and work up to the larger numbers.  Make it as experiential as possible.  

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 4:03 PM
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Is it suppose to be getting them to add large numbers by rounding?

43 = 40 + 3
67 = 60 + 7

43 + 67 = 40 + 60 + 7 + 3

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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM
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What's wrong with the way we learned math? Why must the gov't always try to "improve" things?! Sorry wish I could help :(
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM
This is exactly what I was thinking. Bju learns similar to this. The other part im not sure because we do it this way..


43-3=40 answer is 110.

You round 1 number to the closest tens then subtract the same amount it took to get there. Does that make sense?? Not sure how they got 45 though.

Quoting soy_latte:

Is it suppose to be getting them to add large numbers by rounding?

43 = 40 + 3

67 = 60 + 7

43 + 67 = 40 + 60 + 7 + 3

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by Sonja on Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Holy mamma! What kind of math is this?! I have never learned this and couldn't even begin to try and help explain it. This new fangled way of doing math would make me look like I was dumber than a bag of bricks. Even though I am not that bad. :)   I am sorry for not being able to help you. :( 

by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM
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And this helps them how? Sorry. I don't get the point of learning math that way.
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by on Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Ok I am super confused. Guess this is why I didn't become an elementary teacher. The math classes I took in college for becoming an elementary teacher were confusing. They didn't do anything the way I learned it because it wasn't "the right way;" even though I always got the correct answers. Without any direction, text book, etc... I cannot begin to help out with this. Sorry.
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