Monday, September 30, 2013

Making Simple Things Difficult....

I've been frustrated with my daughter's school lately. Actually, it's been a growing frustration. I remember (decades ago) carrying multiple books home with me in elementary school to do my homework. These kids have copied work sheets - no books to bring home. I've requested to see her books in the past just so I knew what the heck they were learning. How are parents suppose to monitor and help their children with homework if we have no idea of what they are suppose to be learning?

I also thought math is math - you can't change the basics, however, apparently you can. She showed me her worksheet and it was basic multiplication:  135 x 23 for example. I told her, "You know how to do this, is this just a review?"
Nope. They have to solve the problem using the distributive property of multiplication. Now are they just trying to confuse the hell out of these kids or are they preparing them for algebra? Shouldn't they just practice the normal way of solving this problem to master the basics? She's in the 5th grade - I don't foresee algebra until high school.
So, using that example from above this is what you have to do for the problem:

135  -->     100+30+5
x23  -->      20+3
100 x 3 =     300
30  x 3 =      90
5 x 3 =         15
100 x 20 =   2000
20 x 30 =     600
20 x 5 =       100

I asked my daughter if she remembered how to do this problem 'normally' and she did. I guess I'll have to contact the math teacher and find out what this is all about. I bet these teachers think I'm a pain in the ass because I usually ask for materials and writing notes because I want to know what's going on with their classes when I see something strange to me.

So she comes home this past Friday with a failing grade on a science test. I'm surprised because she loves science and is normally a very good student. She's learning basic chemistry and she was able to bring the book home. We reread every chapter this past weekend together, reviewed her old test and I had her take the make up exam on her own. She had one question that she didn't understand. I read it and couldn't answer it, I showed it to my husband and he couldn't either. He said, "This is a bullshit question." We both have multiple degrees, certifications, and he has a graduate degree - together we couldn't answer this question - how is a 5th grader suppose to do it?
So I wrote yet another note to the teacher requesting that she allow my daughter to bring home the book once a week so I can review it with her.

So now I have math & science to do with my daughter, keep an eye on my son's schoolwork, and prepare for my next degree starting in January. If we could add another few hours in the day, I might be able to do this all. Sigh.

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