Common Core math, for parents, can be challenging. When you were still in school, Common Core Curriculum probably had not even been conceptualized. Math was simply math, and the methods used to solve problems were rather varied. While your teacher probably wanted students to show their work, it did not exactly matter what it consisted of. As long as no steps were skipped and the answer came out correct, the problem would be scored as correct.
The new Common Core system has turned this on its head. Showing work is now more important than ever because while problems still require a correct answer, the steps to get to that answer are graded as well. This means that – on a subtraction problem, for example – students must demonstrate their ability to arrive at the answer in a specific way.
If your child has homework one night and asks you for help, you may not be familiar with the required method, even if you know how to get the answer. How are you supposed to help them with something you have not learned yourself?
Here are 3 tips for dealing with the principles of Common Core for parents.
Common Core Math For Parents
Tip 1: Learn Along
The first and most obvious way to adapt to Common Core math for parents is to learn it yourself. Since your child might need your help, it is important that you learn the material independently. If you rely on them to instruct you, what you learn may be flawed. The only way to become a reliable source of help for your child is to learn common core yourself.
Bookstores and the internet are great places to find Common Core Math resources. They are sure to have books and videos on common core math. Some might even be specifically titled “Common Core for Parents”. If so, they will likely build on your previously established knowledge rather than addressing you as if you are starting from square one as your child is. This will make the information much, much easier to synthesize.
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Tip 2: Don’t Throw Out What You Know
This would be very difficult to do anyway, and most adults would probably be opposed to the idea in the first place. However, some may be tempted to “empty their bowl of knowledge” and “fill it” with common core principles. It seems like a good strategy because it immerses you in the material and your deeper understanding will make it easier to communicate with your child.
The difference between them and you, however, is that you have other responsibilities. Your job might require you to do basic math on a regular basis. Your boss would probably not be very happy with your decreased levels of productivity. Any time you are learning something new, you have to take your time and be deliberate. Because of this, it is best to hold on to the math strategies you are already familiar with while absorbing Common Core principles as well.
Tip 3: Contract Out
This is especially true if you have a busy schedule. If the job is fast-paced and stressful, learning might not be an option for learning common core for parents. Instead, it may be more efficient to rely on others who are better suited to help your child understand.
Tutors are expensive, but they are sure to comprehend this new form of problem-solving. Your child’s peers can also prove very helpful – your role may be getting them together to help each other out. In either case, it is better to realize that you have not taken, and cannot or will not take, the time necessary to learn the material. Trying to help them in spite of this may do more harm than good. Do not hesitate to recruit help from those around you who can help your child.
Tip 4: Find Common Core Math Resources
You might also consider interactive programs that will allow your child to work at his or her own pace while strengthening Common Core math skills. ArgoPrep’s new K-8 math program is a good option because it provides for multi-sensory learning. The online quizzes, games, and other math activities provided are Common Core math resources, so they stand out from other programs.
Common Core is not any more intrinsically difficult than the math you learned in school. Rather, it is a different method of problem-solving. Since it may be rather novel and unfamiliar, it probably seems difficult to understand. However, this is simply because you are so well adjusted to the methods you have used all your life.
Learning Common Core Math, for parents, is very beneficial because it allows your child to receive help easily should they need it. If you, for some reason or another, cannot take the time to learn common core alongside them, consider employing the talents of another to help out.