We talk with a lot of parents who are understandably frustrated that they can’t help their children with their math homework. We thoroughly understand this frustration, and that’s why we would like to use our blog as a platform to address some of the misconceptions that we have heard about Common Core.
“What is the point of Common Core? Why add all these extra steps when they aren’t necessary?”
It’s a good question, and it’s one that we get often. In our experience as Common Core tutors, we’ve found that students have a better understanding of mathematical concepts when they have the freedom and flexibility to test different methods and strategies for solving problems. When a text book or an instructor gives a rigid set of rules that a student must follow in order to arrive at a solution, students have the tendency to memorize and execute the steps as prescribed; but without any real understanding of the key mathematical concepts that they are studying. Therefore, students often have the perception that math is nothing more than a set of arbitrary rules that don’t have any practical application. Common Core standards aim to give students the critical thinking skills to deconstruct and solve a problem on their own.
According to Stanford PhD Kathy Liu Sun:
“Students should have the opportunity to pursue their strategies and experiment, rather than blindly follow the teacher’s formula. There seems to be a popular misconception that young children are not developmentally ready to explain their understanding. Research has shown that, if given the chance, young children can explain, represent, and debate their mathematical thinking”. In the same article, Sun goes on to say “If you don’t understand a way of solving a math problem, it’s perfectly ok. This is a great opportunity to model for your children how to problem solve by experimenting with different strategies – draw pictures, act out the word problems, or use objects to model the problem.”
“How am I supposed to help my second grader with her math homework, if I don’t understand how to do it myself!?”
This is another common question that we hear from parents. If there is a concept that your child needs a little extra help with, the best person to identify and address the issue is your child’s teacher. Not only will your child’s teacher be able to help your child understand the concept better, they will also be able to help you understand the concepts.
Additionally, REACH Pro Tutoring offers free Common Core help via our Common Core CA Facebook Group. Parents are able to come and ask California credentialed teachers questions weekdays from 3-9 PM.
If you’ve tried our first two suggestions and find that your child needs additional help, an in-home common core math tutor will be able to give your child the individual attention that they need. An in-home tutor will be able to assess your child and focus on the areas where they most need improvement.