What Was Wrong With the Old Way?

 Photo courtesy of Americans Against Common Core.  Used w/ permission.
The "standard algorithm" shown at the bottom of the picture works every time if one knows the basic math facts.  So why aren't schools teaching that, and having children practice problem after problem this way a good majority of the time?

I understand that sometimes we want to give children "number sense" or show them different ways to solve a problem. There's nothing wrong with occasionally showing children this sort of thinking once they have a solid understanding of how to do it the standard way.  Certainly what I often would do in cases like these is take the 200 away right off.  I'm left with 368 - 93, which I would either line up old-school style and solve OR I'd take 100 away and add seven.  Whatever I felt was easiest at the time.

But I think if I were shown this backward/ shortcut way of solving the problem at the same time I were learning my standard algorithms, I'd be very confused.  And that's just what many schools are doing now.  I know that works for some people, but I don't think we're helping a large number of children with this teaching method.

Worse still, schoolchildren often bring home entire packets of homework which must be done as above and/or the answer "explained" in a sentence.   Often schools hold entire "how to do Common Core math" parent nights to explain to the parents how to help their children with schoolwork at home.

It just seems like a lot of energy to expend on something that will be understood more naturally later.

Caveat:  this sort of convoluted math has been in schools since Patrick was little, and he'll be 23 this year.  So the example above is not just a "Common Core" math problem, but a problem we should all have with the "new math" that is de rigueur in all schools under the current system.  Still... yuck.

1. That seems like a terribly roundabout way to be solving a simple problem. I've never seen math done that way and you say it's been around for years there? 568-293, set out as the bottom picture there is all we've ever learned, math style. So much simpler.

1. Me too! But yes... it's been around for years. It's just becoming more entrenched as schools buy new curriculum under the new Common Core standards.

Deeper, more rigorous learning indeed...

2. It appears the objective is to confuse kids. I have no idea what they are trying to do but they are doing it well.

1. Ha ha! I see just what they're doing and I do see it as an interesting way to solve the problem. I just object to their teaching that to the children at the same time they're still learning how to do problems like this. :)

Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK.

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series.

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap!

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D!

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: