PSA: Helping kids with math homework.

Strangeite

Well-known member
FYI, if your kids math homework is reaching the level where it is making your brain hurt when they ask you to check it, I highly recommend getting the Wolfram Alpha app. I bought it years ago when it cost $50 and felt it was worth the money then. It is now only $3 (I think) and is a no brainer at that price.

I have recommended it to a few friends and they all were thankful for me telling them about it. So I figured there might be some folks on here that might find it useful as well.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
For us, that level was elementary school arithmetic, where memorization of multiplication tables and long division were not allowed. Once we moved into algebra and geometry, I was okay. ;)
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
My daughter is currently in honors Algebra 2 and I always struggled with algebra. My brain just doesn’t process it well. Once she gets into Calculus, I’ll be fine again.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
My daughter is currently in honors Algebra 2 and I always struggled with algebra. My brain just doesn’t process it well. Once she gets into Calculus, I’ll be fine again.
Ours is an art major so after High School algebra 2 she was done with math. I enjoyed math and science but couldn’t pass that on.
 

magic1106

May be computer illiterate, but I figured out how
Just dont…
I was helping my son, he’s 30 now so quite a while ago, with his Algebra 2 when he was in middle school. He was not taught how to turn a fraction into a decimal. The school system taught the kids to memorize the values just like the multiplication table. If it was not a fraction he knew, he had no idea how to convert it.
My daughter, 21, learned under the “new math” and she still has trouble with basic math.
 

cboyer

Well-known member
I have a mechanical engineering degree, so took a ton of math. The new math is stupid, I had trouble helping my daughter in elementary school. I've taken more math than any of her elementary school teachers, yet I felt stupid trying to understand it. So, I told her to ignore what her teachers taught her and then taught her the right way. Her grades actually suffered in elementary school because of it, because she wasn't doing it the way they wanted it done, but now in middle school she can't understand why her friends have trouble getting it and math is easy for her. I honestly believe new math is failing an entire generation of kids who will grow up not really knowing how to do math.
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
I was an English Lit major and can’t understand why the Brits call it “maths” and we don’t.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
I had a very similar experience with the “new math” during my kids elementary school years but I changed my mind.

I completely struggled helping my daughter because it didn’t make any sense what they were trying to teach. I also thought this was completely stupid and also told her to ignore her teachers and to do it this way. I remember clearly the night I was the most frustrated.

Then I noticed some codes on the bottom of the worksheet and googled them. It led me down the rabbit hole of common core and resources for teaching. Even found resources for teaching that specific worksheet.

It blew my mind. “I” had figured out math a certain way but the alternative methods they were teaching weren't wrong. Just different. In fact, I could see how some of the methods would have been easier for me when I was younger.

“New math” is just giving teachers more tools in the toolbox. There are different ways to solve the same problem and there are different ways of thinking about a problem. Kids are different. I went from someone railing on how modern education is failing kids with these stupid concepts (I was frustrated), to realizing that these people that have dedicated their lives to educating kids might know what they are talking about more than me. Honestly, some of those infuriating ways of doing math are really brilliant. I was just old when I was exposed to them for the first time.

My suggestion of Wolfram Alpha was more for middle school and high school homework. I COULD check her work to see if it is right but then I’d have to relearn a bunch of stuff and the app is easier.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
I was an English Lit major and can’t understand why the Brits call it “maths” and we don’t.
Why do they pronounce it “aluminium” when there is clearly no i before the u?
 

cboyer

Well-known member
I had a very similar experience with the “new math” during my kids elementary school years but I changed my mind.

I completely struggled helping my daughter because it didn’t make any sense what they were trying to teach. I also thought this was completely stupid and also told her to ignore her teachers and to do it this way. I remember clearly the night I was the most frustrated.

Then I noticed some codes on the bottom of the worksheet and googled them. It led me down the rabbit hole of common core and resources for teaching. Even found resources for teaching that specific worksheet.

It blew my mind. “I” had figured out math a certain way but the alternative methods they were teaching weren't wrong. Just different. In fact, I could see how some of the methods would have been easier for me when I was younger.

“New math” is just giving teachers more tools in the toolbox. There are different ways to solve the same problem and there are different ways of thinking about a problem. Kids are different. I went from someone railing on how modern education is failing kids with these stupid concepts (I was frustrated), to realizing that these people that have dedicated their lives to educating kids might know what they are talking about more than me. Honestly, some of those infuriating ways of doing math are really brilliant. I was just old when I was exposed to them for the first time.

My suggestion of Wolfram Alpha was more for middle school and high school homework. I COULD check her work to see if it is right but then I’d have to relearn a bunch of stuff and the app is easier.
I agree in theory but that is not how it is being applied. In reality, at least in my daughter school, it’s not about teaching kids different method to help them learn. It’s about forcing the kids to do it all these different ways. Which confuses them. The old ways are never taught. And most of the new ways don’t work when you get to higher level math. Which I understand a lot of kids will never get to calculus or higher but for those that do, they won’t be able to understand a lot of it unless they know the basics. There is a reason US has one of the worse math scores of any developed nation and interest in STEM fields is declining. Common core math was suppose to improve that but it hasn’t. If that is the curriculum or the way it is being taught, or more likely a combination, either way I wanted to make sure my kid could do basic math, a lot of her classmates still can’t. At the end of the day it is my job as her parent to make sure she has the skills she needs in life, the school is there to help, but I am not going to rely on anyone to make sure she is equipped, that’s my job.
 

ThemeParkCommando

Active member
Why do they pronounce it “aluminium” when there is clearly no i before the u?
I love this kind of stuff, so just ignore me if something is going over my head. The evolution of language makes me happy. My current favorite new word is "yeet".

I use math, but understand maths may be more correct, because the subject is mathematics. You would never say: I'm going to mathematic class." would you?

And if you live in any English speaking country other than the USA, it's is spelled Aluminium, and the 2nd 'i' is pronounced. American slang has shortened it, so both pronunciations are correct.

Just like we Americans have shortened the words labour, flavour.
 
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