September 1, 2011

I Hate My Kids' Math

I’m naming names today.

I’m going to vent about the biggest thorn in my side as a parent of school-aged children.





Buying all the supplies?

Not even that.

It’s the elementary math curriculum our district adopted the year my daughter entered first grade. The year she was going to really start delving into doing actual math.

Cami is moving on to middle school this year, and will therefore start a new math curriculum. Thank God!

But my son AJ is entering kindergarten so we have to do it all over again with him.

Because even though most of the parents I know, and even many of the teachers, don’t like it, the district seems pretty committed to sticking with it.

This way that they’re teaching my kids math is vastly different from the way I learned math. This makes it rather difficult to help with the homework. It makes Mark and I feel really dumb!

They are pushing our kids to learn more sooner now, but that’s only part of. Because regardless of when I learned math concepts, I still learned them (mostly).

It’s the WAY this curriculum teaches them math that I just don’t get. It doesn’t make sense to me so it makes it super hard to help it makes sense to my kid.

They claim:

  • The nation's leading Pre K — 6 math curriculum
  • Scientifically research-based
  • Builds student's mathematical knowledge from the basics to higher-order thinking and critical problem solving
  • Proven record of success

I’m not seeing it.

It doesn’t even focus on kids memorizing basic math facts!

It tells them to make “ballpark estimates”.

People, math is like the ONE thing in life that is black or white, no shades of grey. 2 + 2 = 4 and that’s that.

There should be no, “Well, maybe it could equal 5.”

I understand teaching and learning are different now. I’m cool with that because “when you know better you do better”, right?

But while they are challenging kids more today, they’re also neglecting some things. For example, my 11 year old still can’t tell time on an analog clock very well. I remember doing worksheet after worksheet with little clocks printed all over them where I had to write down what time each little clock displayed. I recall learning this in 3rd and 4th grade. Camryn is about to enter 6th grade.

Is it a sign of the times? Because another thing they’ve neglected to emphasize in school today is cursive handwriting.

Even still, this particular math curriculum drives me nuts because of concepts like:

  • Ballpark estimates
  • Adding with partial sums
  • Describing chances
  • Magnitude estimates
  • The partial-quotients division algorithm

What?? Does any of that make sense to you?

Don’t answer that if you’re a math whiz!

The rest of us with average math abilities are scratching our heads.

To add insult to injury, while the teacher goes over what they need to know in class, the homework is HARDER than what they worked on in class. Camryn’s tutor told me this.

How does THAT make sense?

Speaking of the teachers, they have to take classes themselves in order to know how to teach this curriculum.

"They" say it’s designed to be cyclic and supposedly kids learn better this way.

But it’s completely confusing us parents! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Google something from Cami’s homework in order to help her with it.

So today, because I muddled through with one child, but have to start all over with another…..just this once, loud and clear, I say….

Eff Off Everyday Mathematics!

And just for good measure…

Eff Off Marysville School District!



  1. Ugh, I am D-R-E-A-D-I-N-G when my kids get this age. I SUCK at math. Good luck!

  2. WTF? Seriously? Estimates? Estimates! I find this terrifying. I don't want my future doctor estimating how much medicine to give me. Too little and it's not enough. Too much and I'm dead. WTF! Seriously this makes no sense.

  3. I have two for you today:
    1. Girl Scout leader - eff you and your passive agressive way of talking down to me and telling me no matter what I am wrong. AND for telling everyone on your dist list that I have not responded to your request although I HAD been in contact with you.
    2. The Elementary School - Eff you and the horse you rode in on for having a mock terrorist attack at school today and not informing the parents! Bad guys in masks chasing kids with knives!?! Eff you real hard!

  4. JHo - WHAT?? They did NOT really do that!

    Really not cool! I get a letter when they want to teach my kid about puberty, but you didn't get one about teachng your kids about terrorism?


    Eff them!

  5. I have heard they don't teach spelling and cursive anymore, too!

  6. Do you know if the teachers have like any kindergarten math games for AJ to get in to?