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The phrase “everyday math” sounds innocent enough and simple, doesn’t it?

I’ve been tutoring for six plus years and was a classroom teacher before that. I understand that those in academe are always looking for a better way to teach.  Unfortunately I believe that in the process, they have forgotten how children learn.

I had  not been “introduced” to Everyday Math until this year. I will provide a quick overview in just a minute.

But let’s just look at math for a minute. At some point in my schooling, we learned how to count, etc. in other bases besides base 10. For those of you who were fortunate to miss this math, it just means that one counts to, say 7, and the next number is 10 which goes to 17, then 20 – 27, and so on. We just sort of pretend that eight and nine don’t exist.

There may be some need for this type of counting in a profession, but I’ve not ever encountered it. I don’t even know if this is still taught. I hope not!

Among other things, many of today’s students have learned lattice multiplication. I’ve had to learn it in order to assist my students. And there are numerous other “new” ways to do math. I’ve listened to a lot of parents who are so frustrated by the “new” methods. They try to help their child, and hear “But that’s not the way we do it!”

Back to Everyday Math. The concept – as I understand it – is that it is not necessary for a child to master one math concept before introducing another. Since we encounter multiple math situations daily, the theory is that teaching them all at one time makes more sense.

The term used in Everyday Math is “spiraling.” Rather than mastering one skill before moving on to the next one, Everyday Math introduces numerous math skills. First – at the basic level, and then the difficulty increases with time.

According to information from the University of Chicago, where this math process was developed, research has proven that math is better learned and retained using this method.

I have no doubt that there are students who learn math much better and easier using this method. But considering that the “old” math was good enough to result in space travel, the Internet, cell phones, airplanes, buildings so tall that one can’t see the top – well, you get the idea – who has determined that the “old way” didn’t work?

Reading through the University of Chicago’s website about Everyday Math could lead one to believe that before now, learning math was practically accidental!

Of course, one of the most important caveats is that it coordinates with Common Core. I am not going to take this thread any further. In my opinion Common Core has already damaged our children’s education quite enough!

A child who has any learning challenge is likely going to have even more trouble with Everyday Math. A classroom teacher of one of my tutoring students wrote on her math paper that they “let” her do her math problems the “old” way.

Really?! They “let” her use the old way.

NOT ALL CHILDREN LEARN the SAME way! Force-feeding a new learning method on all  children just because it is new – and follows Common Core – does not seem, to me, to be a good reason to implement it.

Are your children learning via this new math structure? What do you think? Maybe I’ve overlooked something. Let me know.