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Everyday Math -- really that bad?

Posted by livvysmom (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 4, 07 at 23:07

Our school district recently adopted Everyday Math (by the Univ. of Chicago) as our math program for K-4. Ever since then I have heard nothing but negative about this "fuzzy" math program -- jumps from subject to subject, does not encourage mastery, does not encourage memorization of basic facts, teaches non-traditional ways of solving problems that parents aren't familiar with....

Does anyone, especially parents, actually like this program?

PS: I am pretty sure they chose it to increase our test scores on the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program).


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

I piloted Everyday Math for a year (grade 5) and was extremely pleased with what my students were able to achieve. The program is very comprehensive, but as with most math programs there are core concepts/skills that are essential and many additional activities that are supplemental. Unfortunately, we adopted Investigations and have regretted it ever since...


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

OUr district had Everyday Math when my child was in 1st - 3rd grade. I hated it. Just like you said, it skipped around all over the place, before the kids learned one skill like telling time, they skipped to something else. They never taught things like the multiplication tables in order. I had to download flash cards and problems in order to teach my daughter the multiplication tables and go get the clock faces to teach her how to tell time and determine the passage of time. IMHO, the curriculum spent more time trying to teach ways to "reason out" problems when it would have been easier and more beneficial for them just to memorize the facts. I was really glad when the school dumped Everyday Math after 2 years.


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

My daughter started Ev Math in 5th grade, my son was in 3rd. He liked dividing numbers in a very long drawn out way that Ev math taught him. He's in 7th gr. now and still has trouble dividing quickly. It's hard to tell how it benefited them now, though. We moved going into 6th and 8th grade and both my kids have had trouble with math/algebra since. I'm not sure if it's the teacher/ school/ subject matter/ style/ book etc. or just the fact that as math gets harder, some kids understand it better than others. Probably a bit of both.

But, both my kids performed well (over 90% tile) on testing in our "good" school district vs. testing significantly poorer in the "private school and public school" where we now live. I would trust the school if they are getting good performing scores on state/national testing with this program. Math is something that needs to be "taught to the test". Math answers don't change. Ways of getting there might.


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

Our children learn with everday math and my son has always done excellent in math. Correlation? I don't see any problems with it.


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

Math computation is only a small part of mathematics. STudents need to develop a conceptual understanding of how to use math in their every day lives or its really pointless to learn the math facts. Math facts are best learned in relationship to the real world. Everyday Math is a very good program.


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

I am in my thirties now, but when I was in 4th grade I was in an experimental classroom, and that was the way math was done. I was permanently behind in math after that, all the way through college. If my child was in a program like that I would pull them out, and if that wasn't an option I would get them a math tutor so teach the fundamentals as a supplement. IMO, "everyday math" should be a supplement to, not a replacement of, the fundamentals.


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RE: Everyday Math -- really that bad?

Yes, it really is that bad - particularly for children who have language-based difficulties. It teaches too many different ways to calculate for the average K-5 student. It allows NO time for mastery. It is a rebirth of the "new math" that totally flabbergasted me in the 1970's. I was unable to even contemplate math at an algebraic level until I was 25 years old. I blame that directly on the type of math that was being taught to me then. I hated it! I practically had "flashbacks" when our school began using Everyday Math. My children are frustrated at every turn. The only good thing I have to say about it is that some of the games are good to introduce concepts. The remainder of the program however, is no less than ridiculous. My second-grade daughter just tonight finished her math paper in a 1/2 an hour. She also has spelling and reading left to do. She's seven years old. How "wacked" is that? Children are being taught to test. That is absolutely no way to learn! When I substituted in my son's first-grade class, we had math centers. This is where I learned first-hand how frustrated the kids were with this math. It was ridiculous. I see much more benefit to teaching basic arithmetic BEFORE teaching 15 different "shortcuts" to calculations. For one thing, basic arithmetic teaches children how to SLOW DOWN and follow distinct "steps" to gain an appropriate answer. AFTER they MASTER that, THEN we can teach them a shorter way to do things. We wouldn't want our engineers to "short-cut" our bridges now would we? Yet many students who could otherwise develop fantastic ideas will be frustrated out of doing so by this mind-numblingly foolish math. Oh, and as a side-note, following the passage of a recent assessment, my son completely forgot how to do "partial sums." Hmmmmmm....this is probably a good thing considering my friend (who is a physician's assistant) teaches nursing students complicated dosage calculations at a local college yet can't help her 4th grader with her Everyday Math. Her husband (who is a technician in a cardiac catherization clinic at a local hospital) won't even look at it much less attempt to do it. If they are struggling with it, I have hope that my son will come to learn to like plain "old-fashioned" math, and at the least, be able to calculate his checkbook without following 4 different steps to do it.


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