What a great article, and a great debate. I find this challenge on how to teach math extremely interesting. I’d heard all the common core horror stories prior to my young children starting school. They are still young (2nd and 1st grade) so I am by no means an expert. My wife is also an elementary school teacher, so I’ve also heard her colleagues complaints as well. But I have become a big fan of common core math, so far. I hear my children truly embracing math and solving problems I’m frankly astonished at. But from my limited discovery, common core in and of itself wasn’t fully comprehensive to me.
One thing my children’s school did is continue to utilize a mad-minutes/ math-fact masters type skill as well. Where the children are given a sheet of math problems (i.e. All problems where its +3, but in varying values and in varying orders… 3+4=___ , and 7+3=___) and are timed for 2 minutes to see if they can complete the sheet. If they do, they move on to the +4 group, etc. Same with subtraction.
It promotes that quick math which is essentially in truly taking advantage of the “mental math” element you will need. These quick rote memory recalls are what we also grew up on, so there was nice familiarity there. Sometimes 6+7 is just 13… not necessary always to do 6+7, is 10+3, which is 13. The quick recall rote memory area is a great additional skill. You should know the 6+7=10+3 idea, though. Knowing the how we get there, why we get there, and that there are multiple ways to solve is a powerful realization, and opens up math in a whole new way.
My children are already wielding tremendous power with their math skills and I’m excited to see where this takes them. They have a love of math and that’s all I can ask for. I am looking forward to seeing our continued evolution on this. Hopefully we as parents can be open to a “new” way as well.