Math for Moms and Dads
There are so many changes going on these days with
math in the public schools that it's getting more and more difficult to know
what is what. New math programs seem to be introduced every few years;
the language of math changes constantly, and the math our students are required
to learn seems to bear no relationship to the math we learned in school.
There are also many resources available on the
Internet
that provide parents with information regarding these issues. There
are reports commissioned by a variety of Foundations that provide
statistical evidence to support their contention that math education is in a
steep decline. There are also resources that support the idea that math
education has never been better positioned to teach students the math
they are going to need for a more rapidly changing world; the type of math
that will help them adjust to and thrive through a deeper understanding of
mathematical concepts and ideas than we've ever experienced before.
The primary purpose of this site is to answer
parents' questions about the math their children are expected to learn in
school.
Resources for Parents
NCTM 
Help Your Child Succeed in Math
NCTM  Math
and Literature
NCTM 
Parents Share Math Help Tips
NCTM  Ideas
for Helping Your Child Enjoy Math
NCTM 
Working With Your Child's School 
Frequently Asked Questions
1. To carry or regroup?
I've been told
I should no longer use the term "carry" when doing subtraction at
home with my daughter. Now my daughter uses the term
"regroup" which I just don't understand.
The word "borrow" worked fine for me so why do we need
to change to "regroup"?.
Answer
2. Counting or naming?
My son
David is in kindergarten. He really seems to like math but keeps
telling me, with much
excitement, that 6 take away 6 is 5. How
can I help him see that it is really 0? He is so
confident when he does it too.
Answer
3. Reducing
fractions?
At my son's
4th grade Open house last week his teacher told us the students were going
to be
doing a unit on fractions. She asked us if we could try
to avoid using the word "reduce" when
helping our children with homework. He said we should
try to use the terms 'rename' or 'regroup'
or the phrase 'another name for'. Does it really matter
that much if we slip up and use the term
'reduce"?
Answer
4. Memorizing facts?
My daughter's third grade teacher wants her to memorize
her addition and subtraction
facts. She also says Wendy will have to memorize her
multiplication facts when she
gets to fourth grade. Is this all really necessary?
Answer
5. Measuring degrees?
My
son asked me how an angle can be the same number of degrees next to the
points as it is
several inches, feet or even yards away from the point. He
pointed out how the distance between
the two lines gets bigger and bigger the further from the
point you go. All I had for a response was
"because it is" which satisfie4d neither he nor I.
Answer
To ask a question
related to elementary school mathematics send your question to Dr. Tim
Whiteford at: twhiteford @smcvt.edu (no space in
email address)
