Teaching My Kids My Worst School Subject

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My worst subject in school was math. I was not one of those students who understood concepts just by listening and got it the first time around. I was one of those who had to go to after school tutoring and do the problems over and over again to understand the concepts. Repetition was the only way I learned math and then I would forget when we moved on to new concepts. So here I am now, teaching my worst subject to my kids.


In the beginning of the school year, my third grade daughter was having a hard time in math. She was so confused because I was teaching her the old traditional way of solving multiplication and division problems and her teacher was teaching her new methods by the Everyday Mathematics system. Kids are now being taught to use different methods and strategies. There were many times when my daughter would say I was teaching her the wrong way. She kept mentioning about partial algorithm and lattice algorithm. I had no idea what she was saying and she had no idea what I was teaching her. It was definitely very frustrating for both of us. When she failed on her first test, I talked to the teacher and then I understood why my daughter was confused. Today, kids are taught to use the partial-products algorithm like this:

83
x27
----
80x20 -> 1600
80x 7 -> 560
3x20 -> 60
3x 7 -> + 21
----
2241

and the lattice method by using grid of squares:

8 3
+---+---+
|1 /|0 /|
| / | / | 2
1 |/ 6|/ 6|
+---+---+
|5 /|2 /|
| / | / | 7
11 |/ 6|/ 1|
+---+---+
14 1

1,11,14,1
-> 1,12,4,1
-> 2,2,4,1
= 2241

No wonder my daughter didn't understand what I was teaching her. I was teaching her the traditional multiplication algorithm which is done from right to left and the new partial-products algorithm is done from left to right. I can't wait to see how fourth grade math is taught today!


28 comments:

Gwei Mui said...

Yes I know exactly how you feel and what you and your daughter went through. The same happened to me with my daughter. Neither of us (Mum and Dad) were good at math when we were at school. Thankfully our daughter got the hang of it pretty well. Her frustration was as she got deeper into the subject and the problems got more compound and complex neither of her parents were equipped to help her. Thankfully she passed her GCSE exam with flying colours.

Alicia said...

Oh gosh, now I'm confused!! LOL

KN said...

Math is too confusing, too much to memorize although people say memorization is not the best method to learning math. My wife teaches our kids. I would be teaching them the wrong way if it was me .

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness, this new method looks far more confusing than the "old" method I also learned... :-)

Mei Teng said...

I was particularly strong on maths in school. Thankfully, I passed.

shahana said...

I too got confused !

LDH said...

That sure does look confusing! Only one of our four daughters was strong in math and I remember helping with homework! Not lots of fun.

Veronica Lee said...

I'm confused too!!

I sucked at Math and my dad was a Math teacher!!

TK said...

Same here. I was always a slow learner in Math! With the children, my husband does most of the teaching cause I dont wanna get my children confused..

Sharon said...

Me too!! Good for you, diving into such a challenge. I made my father come out from across the country and help mine!! haha
Loved your cute comment!!

Sharon said...

Dear Rosebelle,

I love your name, I came back to see if you would come check out my main blog... and baili makes 3. I think if you clicked on the link it would give you that option.

nice A said...

Same here. I'm glad hubby teaches Math so I won't crack my head helping our kids with their Math assignments. Whatever tests I've taken, they all show my mathematical ability as average (only!:). I had to get higher grades in math in college just to maintain my scholarship but I could hardly remember the concepts so never ask me now, LOL... I'm good only at basic maths, hahaha!
Thanks, RoseBelle, for stopping by my post. May you and your family have a blissful weekend!

JoeyRes said...

This is why I use a calculator!

Muthering Heights said...

Woah, that would have confused me too!

Wendy said...

yes, they're teaching math in such a strange way these days, I was certainly not horrible, but I can't even help with elementary school math! Plus, it's so frustrating teaching your own kids sometimes, isn't it (and I have a master's degree in teaching!).

Here, kids really don't spend more than literally, a week or so on basic math facts. They're not drilled on it, etc. But then they do really complex stuff, that kids can't do b/c they can't tell you what 8X3 is! it's crazy. Good luck!!

Serline said...

Same here, but my hubby the math genius fares no better to teach our kids. He gets so exasperated he gives up after a short while...

Dorothy said...

Me too, it was a horrible pressure filled time for me and I of course, failed the regent, big surprise and all these years later, I still shutter while I do proformas for apartments.

Have a great weekend.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

AVCr8teur said...

I hated math overall, but especially math word problems. Luckily, math was solved using repetitive formulas; otherwise, I would never have passed grade school. :D

KidsDreamWork said...

Oh gosh, this is confusing! I would prefer the old method that I've learned too! LOL

MaryMoh said...

Haha....you have just confused a Math teacher!! Now I'm interested to know how many schools or countries use that method.

Icy BC said...

Dreaded subject, I'm telling you, dreaded math..When my son asked for help in this department, I pinched my stomach and hope to God I understood what was asking..

Uncle Lee said...

Hello Rosebelle, ha ha, I too was very bad in Maths. I have never scored marks above 65% all my school and college days.
But funnily enough became a Systems Analyst few years, then got bored went into business marketing.
I guess my brain facing wrong side, ha ha.
Have a nice day, Lee.

Cheryl said...

I struggled in Geometry and Algebra in school. I dreaded attending classes as I was so confused. However I loved Bookkeeping and got an award in that. I could never help my children with their math unfortunately!

Erin said...

I stink at math. I had tutors constantly from about 9th grade on. Geometry almost killed me. Algebra was horrible, too. Hopefully my hubs can help my girls if/when they have trouble with it later.

Buckeroomama said...

Okay, I get the partial algorithm, but I'm totally lost with the lattice method.

I think with math... a lot of that has to do with how well the teacher is able to explain the concepts. I remember excelling in certain types of math (Algebra 2 and Geometry -Mrs. Y for these 2 subjects) and totally sucked at Algebra 1 and Trigonometry (Mrs. X for these two)... Same thing in university: Aced my actuarial math and barely passed calculus. ...and my dad being a math prof has no bearing at all. :)

Mr. Stupid said...

I didn't understand a thing. That seems to be really hard. And that's one of ten reasons why I use my Calculator... tee hee

Happy Sunday!:)

Ebie said...

Waah! It has been a while since graduation...I don't know if I can ever remember...it is so confusing.

Ryhen said...

I was reading your post until I got to the part where you said, "Today, kids are taught to use the partial-products algorithm like this:" Everything you said after that sounded like Chinese or some form of alien-predator hybrid language. Clearly, this shows that I suck at mathematics. That's why I let my wife do the teaching when it comes to that subject. I just stay in the background singing something like, "Doe, a deer, a female deer / Ray, a drop of golden sun..."