Friday, January 4, 2013

Changing Math Expectations: This Ain't the 50s Anymore!

If you're a classroom teacher, you already know this. If you're a homeschooler, you'll probably want to know it. Math expectations for our kids have changed. Drastically.

I point you to a fascinating article, "Ralphie's Math Vs. the Common Core," which compares what 9-year-old Raphie--of the movie A Christmas Story--was supposed to know vs. what current third graders must know.

Some days, I look at Common Core Standards, my eyes glazing over, trying to figure out how to make the content user-friendly. Not long ago, this was my fourth grade bugaboo:
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.4a Understand a fraction a/b as a multiple of 1/b. For example, use a visual fraction model to represent 5/4 as the product 5 × (1/4), recording the conclusion by the equation 5/4 = 5 × (1/4).
Hit me with a watermelon truck in January.

It's too embarrassing to share how many times I read that over, trying to figure out how to make it palatable to the average 10-year-old.  Palatable. Not necessarily fun. Or able to compete with the newest video game. Just palatable. How would you make that standard developmentally appropriate for a 10-year-old? I've got one. A 10-year-old, that is. Not a way to make that standard developmentally appropriate.

Read the article.  If you're a teacher, it might make you feel better. If you're a homeschooler, it sheds some light on what your child's peers are up to.


  1. Here's the great thing about homeschooling, Cindy ... it doesn't matter what their peers are up to! :) We can school like the 50's and be happy to do it. As long as our kids are prepared for their particular futures, we are all good. Homeschoolers always have that inner fear that we aren't doing "enough", but by whose standards? So far we have done exactly what our particular children have needed. And we've had fun doing it.

  2. Thanks for admitting the CCSS for math are almost impossible to understand in many places. I, too, have to read them over and over, and still look for those "I Can" statements released by many school districts to help me out. :)

  3. Reminds me of that video you posted awhile back - was it a TEDtalk? about teaching kids basics and then engage math through play and common sense guidance while the interested kids go on to learn CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.4a

    can you link that video again?

  4. I am sorry but Americans are spoiled. There is nothing wrong with having these kind of problems for 10 year olds. In fact, my first grader as able to figure the cookie problem out by reading it twice. She is good at math, yes, but let's have higher expectations of our children, so they are not miles behind their Chinese or Finnish counterparts.


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