Published at Wednesday, 18 September 2019. algebra. By Denisse Pereira.
Whether your state is using the Common Core State Standards or has mathematics standards of its own, Larson says math standards across the country are rigorous and consistent. To see if your child is learning what she should know in her grade level, you can read about the math expectations for your child in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade under Common Core or check the SANCTUM guide for algebra standards. The guide outlines simple math knowledge expectations from preschool through 12th grade. Homework can offer telling clues about the quality of mathematics instruction. “A worksheet with 50 problems out of context where students are moving symbols around for no apparent reason would be cause for parents to engage their child’s teacher in a conversation,” Larson says. Instead, homework should be rich with context and should demand analytical thinking.
The issue of calculators has been debated by math teachers, university professors, and parents, but there is general agreement that calculators shouldn’t be a substitute for learning basic arithmetic and standard algorithms. Larson believes the use of calculators is not a yes or no question. While he says technology can help build a deeper understanding of key algebra concepts, students should still learn how to practice standard procedures on their own. You don’t want to see students go straight to calculators, Fennel says. “The calculator is an instructional tool,” says Fennel. “It should support but not supplant anything. You don’t use it for 6 x 7.”
“Parents should appreciate that learning mathematics is sometimes challenging,” Larson says, “and it’s not necessarily a good sign if everything is very easy. Students should be appropriately challenged to use problem-solving skills.” To do some homework of your own, Fennel suggests talking to your child and her math teacher about how homework is used. You can ask: Are homework assignments corrected and returned in a timely way?. Is homework reviewed in class so students can learn from their mistakes?. Does the teacher change the pace or direction of his or her instruction, based on student feedback? You don’t need to be a mathematician to ask good questions about your child’s curriculum, Fennel adds. “Ask the teacher, ‘Is it a repeat of math that should have already been mastered? When my child finishes this year, will he be ready for high school math?’”
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