We all know I am simply awful at math. However, I think they are teaching it differently now and it is actually making it harder to understand.
For example, I had never in my life heard or seen “lattice multiplication” until my daughter started doing it last year at school. They are doing it again this year. It takes up a heck of a lot of space and Rose now seems to have a hard time working a regular multiplication problem where the numbers are just placed on top of each other. (I’m talking about double and triple digit multiplication.)
Simple rounding has also had a makeover – apparently if it’s on 5 you don’t necessarily round up any more. They now do something slightly different called front-end estimation. I have no idea what this is but it doesn’t follow the same rules as rounding. (I found this math forum where another mom was frustrated by the new rules of front-end estimation. ) I’m just grateful they are out of that chapter because I am tired of fighting with Rose about the rules. (I need to go and sit in class so I can help with the homework.)
The other concept they are applying differently than when I was in school is the distributive property. We used to talk about in algebra with parenthesis. However now they are using it for estimation purposes. So if you had a problem 500 x 36. You would the five times 36 and then add the zeros on. (This I understand but we just never figured math problems this way.)
My girlfriend who is homeschooling this year is noticing similar trends. She is actually having to teach the lattice multiplication, which she was never taught in school either. They are also doing front-end estimation and she’s equally frustrated.
So moms and teachers have you been noticing the new math? Do you think the concepts make it easier or harder to actually do the problems? Can one of our teacher friends explain what’s up with the new methods?