Core of the Matter: Common Core — A Parent’s Journey to College and Career Readiness (#CoreMatters)

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July 07, 2015 02:09 pm

Like any parent, when my son started bringing home homework at the ripe old age of six, I stood by ready to help him master the basic mathematic and spelling concepts being taught in the first grade. Knowing that his school was in the midst of implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), I was curious to see how his homework would change, as compared to what I had experienced in school. The change quickly manifested itself in math as he practiced different approaches to solving simple addition and subtraction problems.

Periodically accompanying his math homework were notes from the school asking parents not to help students using the old algorithms that we had been taught. This required a leap of faith for me and, I’m guessing, countless other parents as I had to stand by and watch him draw boxes, dots, and other figures to represent the numbers or use a chart with the numbers 1 to 100 to solve equations that I could solve because of the “drill and kill” memorization I had done in school. The refrain of “it’s my duty and right as a parent to help my child learn by any means necessary” kept rolling through my head. And, as the math got more complex, the refrain got louder, and the impulse to trot out the old school concepts of “borrow” and “carry the 1” and to show him the format for long division got stronger. 

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