In a New Orleans suburb, Common Core homework is confusing parents, notes a Hechinger Report story.
When Mike and Camille Chudzinski tried to help their son with his homework earlier this fall, they were bewildered. The fourth-grader brought home no spelling lists, few textbooks, and a whole new approach to solving math problems. When he tackled multi-digit addition, for instance, Patrick did not just line up the two numbers and then add the columns, as his parents had been taught to do. Instead, he sketched out a graph with a series of arrows and marks that appeared at first to his parents as indecipherable as hieroglyphics.
“The first few weeks of homework … there was a lot of us asking, ‘Why are you doing that? You are wasting time. Just add the numbers,’ ” said Camille Chudzinski.
When their son, Patrick, got to multi-digit multiplication, “a single equation could consume an entire page.”
Faced with the problem 452 x 4, for instance, he started with the “break apart” method, which entails multiplying 4 by 2, 4 by 50, and 4 by 400, and then adding up the results. He depicted a similar problem graphically using the “area model.” He also tried “repeated addition” (adding 452 four times) and what’s referred to as the “standard algorithm” (lining up the problem vertically, as his parents were taught to do).
Teachers hope “children will come to understand the meaning behind math problems—and not just learn how to follow rules.”