If you could have been a fly on the wall in my house on the first day of fourth-grade math homework…
The scene goes like this: a grown man with a doctorate, and a grown woman with a masters degree puzzling over a 4th-grade common core homework worksheet. You may have heard this derogatorily termed “new math”.
We finally did figure out what it was asking. Once we realized the drills and the purpose, we understood how to help him with his math.
I am still seeing a lot of complaints on social media from his classmate’s parents about the common core math, and I think there is a better way. A way to be positive and supportive of the teachers and the curriculum.
Fussing about the curriculum is not helping any of the children, so here are some ways to be positive about common core math.
How to Be Positive about Common Core Math
Understand the WHY Behind the Common Core Math
First of all, this is NOT new math. Common core math doesn’t just simply teach math but rather works to give the students’ number sense. They haven’t made up new math concepts, but our children are getting the why behind the basics.
It is taking out the memorization, and replacing that with the why.
I understand it’s controversial, and you may just not agree with it. One search on Google and you realize it’s hated. That’s your choice. However, don’t hate it if you don’t understand it. If you do hate it, it still doesn’t help your children be successful if they need to do it for their curriculum.
Be a Partner with the Teachers
If you don’t understand the math or any subject for that matter, pair up with their teacher. Ask for a meeting with the teacher so they can help you understand some of the concepts. Ask the teacher to spend extra time with your child on homework. Find a resource at the school who can help your child. At one point, last year, my son had a teacher who he just liked from seeing her in the halls and he asked her to help him with writing, so she did every morning before the bell rang. She wasn’t even his teacher, and also wasn’t even a teacher in his grade! Find a tutor for after school. The tutor could be a high schooler, maybe even a mature middle schooler, or an adult.
The saying it takes a village rings true. It definitely rings true for school. So, build a partnership with the teachers!
There are Plenty of Resources for Common Core Math
If you are familiar with the content, it will be easier to help your child.
If you feel embarrassed about asking for help on the math, don’t be. However, you can also find plenty of help online. This will also come in handy if you just need more time on it at home.
YouTube has some excellent videos. Simply go into YouTube, and search for “Common Core Math tutorial” and you’ll get an abundance of videos. My son’s school uses Eureka, and if you search for that, it has a ton of videos on how to do the problems step by step.
Ask the teacher where to get resources to help you! My son’s teacher sends home a YouTube link to every single piece of homework, and it helps you work through all the problems step by step. They are also happy to send home copies of helpful articles, examples, and anything else you need. Teachers want your child to be successful.
You can also find plenty of books available on Amazon, such as the one below “Common Core Connections Math, Grade 4“:
Help Your Child in Math with Positive Talk
Help your child break away from the negative self talk. First of all, avoid doing any negative talk about the math in general, the teachers, the curiculum, or your child within earshot of them! They are sponges, and they pick up on negativity!
If your child says they are not good at math, help them redirect it into a positive comment. Instead of “I’m not good at math”, say “This math is challenging, but I’m a good problem solver, and I’ll figure it out.”
Take Away Thoughts on Common Core Math
Any way you cut it, everyone wants what is best for the children. Common core makes sense when you think about the why behind it. Support the teachers, and avoid being negative around your children. Make use of the multiple resources out there to help you as a parent understand the common core method.
It’s not just with common core math, either. If you don’t understand or even agree with your child’s curriculum, you can use these strategies to help your child get through. Remember, just focus on being positive and encouraging. Partner with the teachers. Help your child find other resources for help. Your child will flourish, but they’ll need your support.
Let’s be as enthusastic as possible, encouraging to our children, and keep our own negativity out of it.