As a student in my elementary school years I had a very difficult time catching on to math. As a parent of a child who also had a rough time on this topic, homework time felt a lot like the old Abbott & Costello sketch about 7 into 28. My parents struggled to get me to understand math their way, the schools way, but it was not until middle school when I met a teacher you processed things the same way as myself did I catch on and understand.
I have always been someone who embraces new concepts and methods of teaching. Despite my reading and trying to see a benefit to these newer “Common Core” methods of mathematics I can not see an advantage. I will however say that I get where they are trying to help expand the ability to visualize a problem, but by adding extra steps to the process I would have become even more confused as a child.
Fortunately, my Son was well past elementary school mathematics when this started rolling out. The concept to me translates to counting corners on a square to find out how big the circle needs to be to fit inside it. What? how does that work? well it doesn’t. You might be able to come up with some witty humorous way to try to prove it, but in the end it is just a game of is a tomato a vegetable or fruit.
I personally feel that keeping the methods as simple and streamlined as possible would be best. Abstract thought really is not easy for a child and the common core really relies on children to be able to utilize abstract thinking. Every child I have ever had to teach “Anything” think on a literal plain. Green is green and Purple is purple. Not Green is composed of Yellow and Blue, or Purple is composed of Red and Blue. Though this can be taught, for the purpose of identifying a color it is a unnessessary step.
I’m not trying to denounce the Common Core philosophy of mathematics, more so than I am trying to figure what the advantage to it is over traditional mathematical practice and skills. It seems to me to be a quest for the better mousetrap.