When I was teaching, I found it odd that each state had it’s own standards with which they taught kids. They could be very different, slightly similar, or exactly the same. I was of the impression that it would be best if we were all teaching the same thing because kids might move, go to college in a different state, etc. Plus, we all took/take the same standardized tests.
So, when I started hearing about “common core” and “common curriculum” honestly, I didn’t do much research. I very wrongly assumed it would be what I thought would be ideal (stupid of me, I know this). And, it never dawned on me that I wouldn’t really know where these standards were coming from and who was deciding these things. Let alone that things would be taught so differently.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Every week, I check our first grader’s homework. I know I’m lucky, she does it in one sitting, sometimes two if she gets bored. And, then I stare at some of the questions because I have no freaking idea what the answer is. I would try to work them out, rationalize them, etc. And then they would come home wrong. Dude. I have a BS and MS in chemistry/math. I shouldn’t be getting 1st grade math assignments wrong. And if I am, how can I help my 1st grader.
So, then I relinquished the “tricky” ones to the husband. Now both of us are looking over 1st grade homework, and both of us (him also with a BA and MS) are stumped. What am I going to do when these problems actually involve addition and subtraction? I’ve seen these “funny” math problems already and I’m terrified.
Here’s just one little example I posted to Facebook this week. I know it’s a terrible picture. Every week there is at least one like this on there. And every week, I can rationalize that any one of the three is the correct answer. (Yes, the 1st grader always answers first and she tells her reason. So, as long as she has a reason and I think it holds water, we just discuss and move on).
But, when the replies started coming in on both Facebook and Instagram and everybody else was just as puzzled or perplexed, I was concerned. I thought this was typical first grade problems. But a couple people started mentioning common core and common curriculum. I decided I’d better dig around a little more.
Sad doesn’t even describe what I’ve found. I realize I’m super late on this and everybody is probably like “duh, Krystyn, get out from under that rock.” But, this common core stuff? I don’t see any advantages of it. If I have to learn new math and not carry numbers and use 10-frames, what will happen to our kids in a couple years when they decide to go back to normal math? (Mr. Serious participates in a buddy program every other week mentoring a kid in 4th grade. The little boy needed help with his math homework. Mr. Serious could do the problem, but he couldn’t fill in the strange boxes that were supposed to help with the problem solving.)
This is me, jumping on the “I hate common core bandwagon.”
Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do from here, or how to help? Right now, private school isn’t an option for us. Homeschooling isn’t really an option for me that I would like to yet pursue.
*And the answer the teacher provided to the problem via her answer sheet. It’s the first one, because it doesn’t have two groups of 5. I argue however, if you go across horizontally, it does have two groups of 5. Just like the second one does, with lines going vertically and horizontally. And, technically, the third one has four groups of 5. Two white and two black. The 1st grader said that it was the third one because the dots were touching and weren’t touching in the other two.
Is there anything I can do, or are we just stuck riding out this nonsense?