Elementary School Kids

HELP!!!!! Math Issues
October 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

  Ok..is this how would you solve this problem?  
X        79
This was the way the book handled the example for my 4th grade daughter’s math homework last night.  Can ANYONE explain to me how this is supposed to be a logical method of solving the problem?  I understand breaking it up and doing it all as single digit multiplication with the  place holders…BUT what is the logic of having her do the TENS column first and moving in the opposite direction from what is used in other operations.  It seems to me that this will only add to confusion when it comes to regrouping (carrying). 
Please note, tonight’s homework will go back to working right to left again and require regrouping be done on the same line as shown below. 
   X 67
They seem to wonder why my kid is having problems with math.  SHE HATES IT!!!  Hmm...the rules seem to change on a daily basis.  Which direction should I move working this problem? You know, I think that is probably a big part of it. It takes FOREVER..(ok, that may be an exaggeration, but multiple hours is not) to get her homework done.
I just wish they would show her a method that is consistent with the rules for the rest of the math she has been doing…so the rules stay the same (move in this direction...regroup like this, etc.)  Something that will work EVERY TIME so she can learn it and get sufficient practice would be wonderful.  No changing everything from day to day would be wonderful.  Quite literally, Tabitha has been given a different way to solve the problems every night for a week. She is not getting more than a day of practice with any of them before they change it again.  I understand that not everyone learns the same way, but this is ridiculous. 
Has anyone else had this situation?  I called my daughter’s school and was connected with the principal.  She noted other parents are also frustrated with this curriculum.  She also noted she will have Tabitha’s math teacher call me because she says there are ways to deal with the struggles we are having.  I sure hope so.  She agrees that it should not be taking up all our time.



  • mjande4
    by mjande4
    October 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I currently teach math and have taught for 20 years.  Here is what I am going to say.  No matter what "new" ridiculous method that a TEXTBOOK company produces, the old method that you learned will result in the CORRECT answer and that is what matters.  This is a HUGE issue for me and really has dire consequences when the kids get older.  Do not worry about the method in the book, just teach her your way.  It may not be a popular response, but frankly correct is correct no matter how you calculated it.

  • SahmTam
    by SahmTam
    October 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

     I've never seen that first way before, but WOW! That looks so much easier! I'm floored that I made it 38 years and never learned that! Cool!

    BUT, apart from my fascination- I agree with you. My younger two love math and would enjoy learning different ways, but my oldest struggles HUGELY in every subject and when they teach things multiple ways he ends up learning NONE of the ways effectively because his brain gets overwhelmed and shuts down! :-( I break out in hives at the thought of homeschooling because I don't think I have a ton of patience, but I am really considering homeschooling him from next year on because of things like this. He needs to have ONE way chosen and taught to him.

  • chinosruca
    October 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM
    I HATE "new math". We have the same issues here & I have no real solution.
  • laird6372
    October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Maybe they are just trying to show the basic way to do it? It seems like the second one is the way I learned it. Maybe the first was to give the concept of it?

  • wakymom
    by wakymom
    October 11, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Does your dd's school use Everyday Math? Ds2's does, and his 3rd gr math had me stumped last week when he had to do double and triple digit addition and subtraction in a similar way using ball-park numbers. Good grief!






  • VeronicaTex
    October 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I also taught Multiplication when I was teaching.

    I learned, using the carrying method.

    I never knew about the method of starting with the ones column and working left until I started teaching school.

    I had kids coming from Mexico and Central America trying to do Math the first way you showed us.

    I don't think they learned it that way!!!!!!

    I finally told them they had no choice but to do it the correct way.

    About changes:  The district I once worked in was famous for that:  IN EVERYTHING.

    That aspect of school drove me NUTS!!!!


  • steelcrazy
    October 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    It looks like it was done backwards to me and that would drive me batty.  I'm very happy that our school's math curriculum teaches math exactly how I learned it back in the 70's.

  • KairisMama
    October 11, 2012 at 7:29 PM
    I teach instructional math to SPED students and wont use those new methods. Its way too confusing for my students.
  • mjande4
    by mjande4
    October 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    I haven't met a level of student OR adult that it's not confusing for.  Sometimes vintage is best! 

    Quoting KairisMama:

    I teach instructional math to SPED students and wont use those new methods. Its way too confusing for my students.

  • Mom2Tabitha
    October 11, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    My daughter's teacher followed up after my discussion with the principal.  She sat with Tabitha today and they went over 3 ways to do it.  Tabitha can use ANY of them on her work.  Tabitha seems to like the "box" method whatever that is.  If it makes sense to her, I am all for it.  

    As for math homework taking 1.5 hours or more a night...that has ended.  When I feel Tabitha has maxed out on it for the night.  We are done.  As long as I put a note on the homework, the teacher will call it complete.  She does request that we do the word problems (usually 2) and at least 3 of the other problems.  No more all night battles!!!!! YAY!!  

    The math program at my daughter's school (and most the rest of the county is called Go Math.  I hate it (and so do many other parents.)  It meeds the Sunshine State Standards.  So, it is what they use to prepare for the No Child Left Behind crap.  Well, better days are ahead.


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