Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WTF Wednesday: Standards of Learning BS Wastes My Child's Time... Again!

I am one of those moms who is completely opposed to this Standards of Learning/ Common Core bullshit they teach our kids in public schools now.

I even researched homeschooling my kids this year, I was so fed up. After much debate, Hubby and I felt that the social interaction and sports, clubs and extracurricular activities were worth the kids staying in school, and that I would just work with them on things at home that I felt they needed to know (like Latin, which we started last week). Plus, The Girl is in a self-contained, accelerated program at her school, and we've never had a problem with it.

Until this week.

Standards of Learning must rear their ugly heads at some point, right?

Last night, we got home from her volleyball game, and she had a bit of math homework. She understands fully that she must keep up with her schoolwork while she plays sports, and understands the consequences if she doesn't (she can't play sports). She fully accepts all of this.

I noticed her getting frustrated with her math. She'd been working on it for about 15 minutes when she declared, "Mom, I've only done 3 problems, and I still have a ton to do! This is taking forever, and I don't get it!!" 

I asked her if she didn't understand how to do it, and she replied, "No, I understand it, but it's stupid. I don't understand why I have to do it." 

The Mom came out in me, and I started with, "It's not stupid, it's just difficult. Here, let me help." 

Then I took a look at it. That crap was stupid. There's no other way to say it.

I took pictures, so you can see for yourself (click on them if you need to make them bigger):

Questions 14-17 are the ones we are focusing on today. The Girl's instructions from her teacher, were to
draw a number line for each problem. If she didn't have the number line, she didn't complete her homework correctly.

This is The Girl's actual notebook, that she has to turn in to her teacher:

Questions 13 (not a problem right now), 14 and 15 had taken her 10 minutes, and question 16 alone had taken 5 minutes, and she was on drawing her 3rd number line, because the first 2 didn't fit on the page in her notebook (the 3rd was a failed attempt, as well).

Question 14: -3.2+1.6
The Girl could figure that out in her head, but she had to draw out that entire monstrosity you see above. It takes up a quarter of the damn page. And, according to her teacher, her homework would not be complete without it.

Why, on God's green earth, would anyone draw out an entire number line to figure out -3.2+1.6? The Girl is in the 7th grade, for crying out loud. Not the 3rd, not the 4th- effing middle school.

Question 16, -.5+9.1, was where I said enough is enough. She had drawn 2 number lines already that didn't fit on the page, and was working on her third, and her frustration caused her to put those dark X's on the numbers, claiming she just wasn't going to do them. I asked her if she knew the answer. "8.6, duh," she told me. That's when I told her to just write the answers and I would write a note to her math teacher.

And I did:

I'll write it out here, because I know no one wants to read a picture; I just took the picture as proof of my letter, and to show Hubby when he wakes up today.

Dear [Math Teacher],

I was helping [The Girl] with her math homework and we came the the problems with the number line. [The Girl] fully understands the concept of the number line, but when she came to the problem of 9.1+ (-0.5), she ran out of paper creating a number line and got very frustrated. I was already frustrated with this number line section of problems (I can only assume it's part of the Standards of Learning?), because I don't see:

  1. Why the kids have to waste time drawing out and entire number line to find the answer to a simple math problem.
  2. When, in life, a person would ever draw out an entire number line to figure out 9.1+(-0.5). In real life, they wouldn't.
So, I told her she could skip that one, as far as the number line was concerned, and just answer it, along with any of the other number line problems.

I understand following directions and procedure, but I will not have my child filling her head with unnecessary procedure. She could figure out in her head what 9.1+(- 0.5) is. A line is a waste of time. 

I just wanted to send a note, explaining why [The Girl's] homework was possibly incomplete. She did the answers, but may not have all of the number lines drawn out, and that was my call as a mother.

Thank You,
Morgan Moss

Unfortunately, I won't find out what the math teacher has to say until Monday. The Girl just turns her notebook in every Friday and the teacher grades them over the weekend. We did tape the note onto her homework so the teacher would definitely find it. 

I'm just up to my eyeballs with this Standards of Learning bullshit. Number lines are for creating coordinate planes in algebra. If The Girl is at the pre-algebra stage, then awesome, but save plotting out coordinate planes and number lines for when it's necessary- not when figuring out simple math equations.

The Ginger just brought home a math worksheet for homework earlier this week that involved simple word problems (like, Mary has 25 apples and gives 16 to Joe. How many apples does she have left?), with how he was supposed to draw a picture to figure out the answer. He's in the 4th grade. Not 1st, not 2nd- the 4th. We *should* be past the point of drawing pictures to complete a math problem by the 4th grade. I told him to skip the drawing pictures and I would deal with it if it came up. 

I understand the concept behind the Standards of Learning/ Common Core, and how beneficial it *should* be to us military folk, who are always moving around, but it failed somewhere- majorly failed. Supposedly, it keeps every school in America on the same learning level, so if your kids switch schools, they'll be learning the same thing in, say, Wyoming, that they would be learning in Georgia. But what it did was dumb down the school system and take away a teacher's right to teach their way, a way their students will understand. It keeps schools from excelling, in my opinion.

And it created a crap load of unnecessary work for our kids. No longer can they just write out a math equation like 25-16=9. Now they need pictures and number lines to support it.

So fed up, and from what I understand, many teachers are upset with it, too. Fingers crossed The Girl's math teacher is one of those teachers who thinks the Standards of Learning are bullshit, just like me. That will make this year go a heck of a lot easier for The Girl.

Even my cats were all WTF? Kitteh doesn't want The Girl to even look at the problems in the book, and Bones has decided her ass should be on The Girl's homework notebook. Neither of them are happy with this Common Core crap!

Standards of Learning/ Common Core- definitely my biggest WTF moment of this week!

What are your thoughts on the Standards of Learning or the state of our school systems presently? Comment below!

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  1. Morgan, I live in California and my kids are the same ages as yours (boy and girl as well) so I am dealing with the EXACT same thing. You post resonated with me a ton and I LOVED your letter!!! Both my kids homework this week has been exactly the same thing (go figure as it is "standarized" across states). At back to school night last week, my daughters math teacher was clearly against common core, and he just blatently said "7th grade math is a joke, your kids will not have a lot of math homework, but in 8th grade they will see about 2-3 HOURS per night." WTF???? And he said in HS it will increase even more!
    As for the number line?? It's been causing me to shake my head for weeks now. Unreal. What a waste of time. I loved you pointing out that no adult would use that in real life to figure out a simple math problem.

    1. I seriously hope my daughter's math teacher is like your daughter's math teacher, lol. And I seriously hope this doesn't get worse as the years go on... my head might explode.

  2. Omg, I totally remember those days Morgan.. Hell, I even remember when the educational powers that be invented some kind bop n' pop count on your fingers a million times to come up with the answer of 6+6! I feel sorry for parents of school age children today and I don't even want to think about the future for these kids, talk about a stressed out generation and generations to come. I say take it back to basics, a pencil, a piece of paper and a STANDARD calculator, period.

    1. Amen, lol. I know my graphing calculator in high school caused me to forget basic math skills because I relied on it so much. Now my kids ask me 6+6 and I'm tempted to go for my fingers, lol.

  3. I am a teacher, and was totally against home schooling, until some teachers (specifically with math) handled the common core issue wrong.
    Now I may actually quit (financially that's a serious hardship) to home school my own children.
    Not all teachers handle the common core the same, and some actually do a great job with acknowledging the BS drawing/wasting time of it and get straight to the solutions.

    1. First off, thank you for what you do for children as a teacher. That's awesome. Second, I wonder if it has something to do with how long a teacher has been teaching as to how they react to Common Core. My daughter's math teacher has been teaching a while, so I'm hoping she sees the ridiculousness that is Common Core, lol.

  4. Ahaha! This cracked me up. My daughter's teacher actually sent her home with algebra problems with instructions that I (ME, THE PARENT), were to solve for X, and SHOW MY WORK!!! Is this for real???? But, to be the good parent, and to make her life easier, I did it. When she came home from school, and I asked her what her teacher said, she said that I hadn't shown enough work. What the actual !@#$%??? I told her to tell her teacher that I already graduated high school, and that it would probably be best for everyone if she didn't send home any more homework for ME to do. Parent-Teacher interviews were SUPER fun after that...

    1. I can't believe she sent homework for the parents. Yeah, we graduated a while ago, lol.