Cody, Dakota’s dad, overheard our conversation and immediately voiced his contempt for ‘Common Core Math’. He said there was no way he could even help her with the homework as he could not figure out why 2 + 2
couldn’t just equal 4 like it used to. (I know this is a stretch, but bare with me for a minute.)
I commiserated with him, being as confused by the whole thing as he was.
A few days later I was talking with my Tabitha, my Goddaughter who is a middle school math teacher. She is teaching “Common Core”. What an enlightening conversation!
Tabitha explained that kids grow up today with computers, debit cards, etc. they do not even experience the same things we grew up with. For instance, they have no reason to learn how to count back change. Actually, people are even getting away from using real money in their transactions. Many things are handled automatically that used to be ways for learning basic math skills in real life.
Therefore, kids in this new age do not develop the natural deductive ability to discern whether or not the mathematical answers they get make any sense. If they use a calculator to add up 285 + 300 and they push a wrong button, the answer may come up 3,285. They have not developed any skill for being able to immediately see that it cannot possibly be the right answer. The world they live in did not teach them that logic.
“Common Core” is geared to teach in such a way that the kids learn to estimate. Through that method they learn the logic we acquired naturally by simply growing up in a different time…. In a different world.
For many of us, it is almost impossible to fathom that things could be so different than when we grew up, but actually they are.
Some 3 year olds know more about operating a smart phone than I do. I was in my 40s before cell phones even existed.
By the time they get their first account, they will graduate to a debit card and the bank will do all their calculations for them. They will not look into their billfold to see how much money they can spend. They will go online and the bank records will tell them.
“Common Core” is a way of teaching what many of us think of as ‘common sense’.