**Help! I don't understand my child's math homework!**

One common concern that parents express to teachers is that they are unable to help their children with their homework because math today is not the same as math was when they were in school. However, the “new math” that your child is bringing home is not really new. The math has not changed, but the focus of instruction has. This is actually a good thing!

Research has consistently shown that students who have a deep understanding of math concepts are better able to retain and apply what they learn. Rules and procedures are easy for students to forget or misapply. However, students who have developed number sense are able to reason mathematically to reach a solution even when they cannot remember a formula.

Much of today’s instruction focuses on using hands-on materials to help students understand math problems. By allowing them to move and manipulate blocks or other items, students can visualize what math problems are asking. In addition, allowing students to draw pictures to represent problems helps them to better understand and solve word problems.

Children are also encouraged to use a variety of methods to solve the same problem. Math is exciting because there are often multiple ways to reach a solution. By encouraging students to think about math problems in a variety of ways, teachers and parents can help build number sense. One goal of math instruction is to help students think flexibly about numbers. As students begin to take numbers apart (to compose and decompose numbers), they see the beauty and the fun in math. They also become critical thinkers who are more prepared to solve problems in the real world.

One common question parents ask is, “Is there any place for the standard math algorithms that I learned in school? Is the way I learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide wrong?” The answer is no, not necessarily. The concern is not that traditional algorithms are wrong. In fact, these can sometimes be very efficient ways to solve problems. The real issue is that children should not just be taught what to do but also

One last exciting part about the way math is being taught today is that students are encouraged to think and write as mathematicians. Talking with your kids about math solidifies the concepts in their minds, and it helps them to identify areas of misunderstanding. When students think and write about math, they begin to make connections. This is when math really gets fun!

So while it is true that teaching some math may take longer because students are not just memorizing a list of steps or procedures, parents and teachers are finding that in the end their children truly understand the math they are doing. They are able to think critically and flexibly. Perhaps even more importantly, this generation of students is beginning to love math because they are beginning to understand why and how math works.

If your child brings home a math assignment that teaches a concept in a way that you never learned, look at this as an exciting opportunity. Have no fear: there is a reason and a method behind these changes. This website has some helpful resources you can use to support your child at home. Take time to read the Tips for Home, the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and More about Today's Math for more details about how you can play a critical role in your child's math development.

Research has consistently shown that students who have a deep understanding of math concepts are better able to retain and apply what they learn. Rules and procedures are easy for students to forget or misapply. However, students who have developed number sense are able to reason mathematically to reach a solution even when they cannot remember a formula.

Much of today’s instruction focuses on using hands-on materials to help students understand math problems. By allowing them to move and manipulate blocks or other items, students can visualize what math problems are asking. In addition, allowing students to draw pictures to represent problems helps them to better understand and solve word problems.

Children are also encouraged to use a variety of methods to solve the same problem. Math is exciting because there are often multiple ways to reach a solution. By encouraging students to think about math problems in a variety of ways, teachers and parents can help build number sense. One goal of math instruction is to help students think flexibly about numbers. As students begin to take numbers apart (to compose and decompose numbers), they see the beauty and the fun in math. They also become critical thinkers who are more prepared to solve problems in the real world.

One common question parents ask is, “Is there any place for the standard math algorithms that I learned in school? Is the way I learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide wrong?” The answer is no, not necessarily. The concern is not that traditional algorithms are wrong. In fact, these can sometimes be very efficient ways to solve problems. The real issue is that children should not just be taught what to do but also

*why*to do it. The purpose of instruction is not just doing math but really understanding it. This is why students are often encouraged to figure out mathematical relationships first before being taught rules. This builds understanding and number sense that will allow them to solve more difficult problems later on.One last exciting part about the way math is being taught today is that students are encouraged to think and write as mathematicians. Talking with your kids about math solidifies the concepts in their minds, and it helps them to identify areas of misunderstanding. When students think and write about math, they begin to make connections. This is when math really gets fun!

So while it is true that teaching some math may take longer because students are not just memorizing a list of steps or procedures, parents and teachers are finding that in the end their children truly understand the math they are doing. They are able to think critically and flexibly. Perhaps even more importantly, this generation of students is beginning to love math because they are beginning to understand why and how math works.

If your child brings home a math assignment that teaches a concept in a way that you never learned, look at this as an exciting opportunity. Have no fear: there is a reason and a method behind these changes. This website has some helpful resources you can use to support your child at home. Take time to read the Tips for Home, the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and More about Today's Math for more details about how you can play a critical role in your child's math development.