Parents Go to School to Grasp Kids' Math
Students learn math in a new way with Common Core
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2014 2:10 PM CST
A parent helps her son do his homework at their home in Boise, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

(Newser) – Think math was hard when you went to school? Then check out new Common Core standards in elementary and high schools, which are so different from "old school" methods that parents are attending school to learn how it works—alongside their children, the Washington Post reports. "The toughest part is the homework part because parents, it’s so hard for them," says a fourth-grade teacher in Rochester, NY, who supports Common Core. "A lot of parents, they doubt themselves because there are all these models and things they’ve never seen before." So parents in Rochester are visiting their kids' fifth-grade classes (in little chairs, of course) to learn the new methods, while an elementary school in Lake Orion, Mich., helped families apply the math at a Kroger's supermarket.

Education officials support the four-year-old standards because, they say, old math gave students solution-shortcuts without any deeper understanding—so students struggled at math. With Common Core, students use graphs, beads, drawings, and other tools grasp how solutions work. High-school students also get to study algebra, trigonometry, and statistics each year instead of taking a year off from algebra in year two, a Utah teacher tells the Spectrum: "So there's like this disjoint that would happen back in those days because you'd take a year off of doing any algebra," she says. But Common Core still has critics who consider it too complicated or imposing on states' rights. See why Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sued the Obama administration over Common Core.