This news article makes it sound as though parents of public school students should be secretive about teaching their own children how to do mathematics in the traditional way. It had a silly parents-being-persecuted sort of tone, and yet after reading this several times I've yet to see where the problem might be. In fact, I saw no hint of criticism from the public school whatsoever:
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jIknLQBhUVOj_QjvWRCm2sxwA4JQD91UHBDG0 Got the link from a post on Joanne Jacobs' blog, which you can view by clicking my post title. I think. Not being mathematically inclined, I'm still not sure how to link posts without the long nonsense. I'd like to say, at "this" blog, and if you click "this," you go right there. I haven't figured out how to do that, so if you're a smartie, would you leave me a comment and clue me in?
So... I'm no math expert, but I imagine the silly methodologies some public schools use to teach mathematics leave much to be desired. I don't understand how with "state standards" and NCLB laws that substandard (by any standard) math programs would be in place for long. But whatever. You know what? I really don't care how you teach your child math, or what they're doing in the public school to teach math so long as they aren't counting condoms in kindergarten. (Yes, I was being ridiculous on purpose, so no flaming in the comment section, please!)
Does the child know how to do the math? Does the child have a good grasp on how math works and how to apply the principles? I'm concerned about those two things. As an aside, I have one "gifted" child go through the public school's math silliness of adding left to right and whatnot. Strange, strange methods are used in these classes. It would be NICE if the schools at least endeavoured to have short classes for the parents so that they can help with homework when the kid doesn't understand why Mom is doing it "wrong." When Patrick would bring home multidigit addition and subtraction problems, I'd sit there perplexed. Thankfully, he could do all the math himself and didn't need help often. And G is in special ed and almost never receives homework.
To hear some tell it though, we need to pick up our Math Swords so that we can slay the Math Dragon in our Math Wars. Good grief. How about you teach the child the way you think he'll learn, and then if it doesn't work, try something else? I do have a problem, though, with skipping over learning some rote facts and methods altogether, though. From the article:
"... Long division wasn't on the agenda. As many parents across the country know, this and some other familiar formulas have been supplanted, in an increasing number of schools, by concept-based curricula aiming to teach the ideas behind mathematics rather than rote procedures."
"They call it the Math Wars: The debate, at times acrimonious, over which way is best to teach kids math. In its most black-and-white form, it pits schools hoping to prepare kids for a new world against reluctant parents, who feel the traditional way is best and their kids are being shortchanged."
In our district, some of the sillier aspects of the Everyday Mathematics program are alleviated because children are required to drill their times tables and learn division. I've said this before, but some of the worksheets are very interesting and force children to think of mathematics in everyday situations.