Struggling With Third Grade Homework

I was helping my 8-year old daughter with her math homework this week and I found myself unable to help her. Embarrassed? Oh yea. The assignment was on regrouping and subtracting tens and ones. Regrouping? What in the world is regrouping? I quietly thought to myself, "I don't remember doing this in elementary school". There was no example on her worksheet so I had to googled "regrouping in math". I found my answer at the Math Forum. Regrouping is a new approach to math called New Math today. The problem on my daughter's homework was something like 535 minus 278. A simple subtraction problem but because of the new terminology "regrouping", it threw me off. Regrouping is simply crossing out the number 5 and changing it to 15 because you can not subtract 5 from 8. That process is called "regrouping" today. So the thinking process goes something like this: regroup, you add ten ones to the 5 and get 15. Rather than teaching the kids to "cross out and borrow", they're taught to "regroup" today.

It's not just my daughter's her math homework that is challenging my rusted brain. I found myself stuck helping her with her science homework sometimes too. One time, she had trouble putting the precipitation process in chronological order and asked me for help. When I looked over the worksheet, I knew I was in trouble. I didn't know most of the terminologies on the worksheet. It was not just evaporation, condensation and then rain. There were like 20 other words in between evaporation and rain. I remember "runoff". I had no idea what that meant. I googled it and learned that runoff is the movement of water to the ocean.

It's great that today's school academic standards are higher than say one or two decades ago. I like the direction that our school district is taking even though I know it would be much more difficult for me to help my daughter with her school assignments. I have to admit, at times, I do feel dumb and embarrassed not being able to help her. She knows that too because she sees me re-reading her assignments or logging onto the computer and doing some online research before I could explain to her how to do them. All in all, I like the stringent curriculums imposed by schools today which I think broaden the children's social, literacy, and numeracy skills.


A Vecchioni said...

I remember some impenetrable worksheet our son brought home in 1st grade. It had something to do with identifying the difference between counting and measuring, and I think maybe grouping was thrown in there too. The examples were things like telling time, stacking coins, etc. I mean really--is stacking coins an instance of counting, measuring or grouping? I think that worksheet turned into a paper airplane. Thanks for bringing attention to what I think a lot of parents go through.

RoseBelle said...

@A Vecchioni: I think most parents are on the same boat. We struggle helping our kids with their school assignments because the concepts of today are different from what we were taught decades ago. Thanks for your feedback!