Dealing with Common Core Math

Updated August 3, 2022

If you’re a parent trying to help your child with Common Core math, you might find it frustrating.

Parents who went to school in the 80’s and 90’s learned math in an entirely different manner than students today, so Common Core math might seem like another language.

You can assist your child with Common Core math!

This blog will explain what Common Core math is and how you can help your child with it.

What is Common Core math?

Different subtraction methods from Common Core

Common Core math requires students to show how they reasoned their way to the correct answer.

Before the adaptation of Common Core, the process for learning math in the classroom mainly involved procedures to get a correct answer.

Common Core math shifts the focus from remembering procedures to understanding the “why” of the math.

Because of this shift, math homework is a lot more complicated than it used to be. For example, 3×5 isn’t 15 like it used to be – now it’s 3+3+3+3+3 or 5+5+5.

What is the purpose of Common Core math?

Common Core math helps students develop critical thinking rather than just learning formulas and calculations.

A typical problem could take eight or nine steps to solve instead of two or three steps since students must show their thinking.

How can you help your child with Common Core math?
Follow these steps:

Study – Before you can help your child, you may need to do your own homework.

Several school districts provide Common Core workshops if you want to help your child with their math homework.

You can also use online resources, like Illustrative Mathematics,  to find out more about the new standards and see examples of possible homework problems. 

Get your child to explain their homework – If your child doesn’t understand what they have to do and you don’t know where to start, look at resources from their math class that you can share with your child.

Then ask them to describe how they think they need to do their homework to you.

If your child teaches you, they will approach the subject differently and understand it better.

Or, at the very least, it will make it more clear to you so you can help them. 

Once you can understand the “new” way of doing math, you’ll have an easier time helping your child.

Don’t get too involved! – According to experts, the more responsibility a parent takes over an assignment, the less responsible a child will become.

Look at the directions with them to help them get started, and discuss what they’ll do for the assignment, but let them do most of the work on their own.

You can help your child manage their anxiety about completing their Common Core math homework by keeping them calm and focused on the task.

If you see your child is beginning to feel stressed, let them take five minutes to relax.

If your child can’t solve a problem, have them contact their teacher or leave a note to ask them about it the following day.

After talking with the teacher about the problem, check to make sure you understand how to solve the problem and guide your child through problem-solving process.

Use community and online resources for help- One part of Common Core math is to communicate with others and develop solutions as a group. Why not do that with homework?

If your child is struggling and you don’t know what to do, have them call a classmate. The two of them can work together to find a solution, and they can each explain things that the other may not fully comprehend.

If they might spend too much time talking to their friend, there are also a lot of other resources that can be utilized.

These include:

  • Their teacher – This should be the first place they start. Many teachers provide information sheets for each unit that can help you with what your child is learning, how they’re learning it, and why each lesson is taught. Don’t be afraid to contact the teacher to ask for extra help.
  • A math tutor – There are many math tutors available that help kids with Common Core math.
  • Support group– Organize a parent support group, either in-person or online, so you can support one another. Those who have helped their children with Common Core math before may provide valuable insight.

    Other ways you can help your child with Common Core Math

    Buying groceries can provide an opportunity to practice math with your child.

    Have them shop for groceries with you. – A trip to the grocery store provides a lot of opportunities to discuss numbers and shapes.

    You could ask them if all the jam jars have circular bottoms or have them look for other shapes.

    You could also ask them which bills and coins you should use to pay for groceries if you’re using cash to pay.

    Build things together – Spatial visualization is important for understanding geometry and other areas of math.

    Your child can develop this skill by building things.

    Give them blocks, boxes, toilet paper rolls, or cardboard.

    When they figure out what they want to build, they’re developing spatial visualization skills.

    Play board games and card games – these types of games are great ways to engage young children’s minds.

    Discuss the game as you play it with them.

    Make a big deal about what you hope your next roll will be, or what card you’ll draw.

    Talk about how likely it is that you will draw the card you want, or get the dice roll you want.

    Common Core Math is NO Sweat!

    A picture of 2 students studying together.

    The more you understand the terms and procedures of Common Core math, the easier it will be.

    While it can be frustrating when your kids insist that you learn what they’re learning, it does improve with practice.

    If you follow the steps outlined here, you and your child will begin to understand Common Core math together!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.