In the latest blog poll here, I asked the question “If you recognize the issues with Everyday Math, how do you fix them?” Four options were provided, with multiple answers accepted:
1. I help with homework
2. I tutor at home using other math programs
3. I hire a tutor for my child (Kumon, Mathnasium, private tutor)
4. Right now, I am not doing anything
With the usual caveats and disclaimers (preaching to the choir, etc.), the results confirm my guesses. Ten out of sixteen respondents help with homework, and eleven out of sixteen tutor at home. Obviously a bit of overlap, as you would expect. Most parents try to provide guidance, as I do, to help their child understand some of the nonsensical homework provided by Everyday Math, and to provide the background in basic math which Everyday Math is missing. I am sure there are also other times when guidance is needed, like asking a question to help at the start of some of the word problems in Sunshine Math, or reminding your child to check their work (NOTE: if I were typical, my mom would say I started to do this sometime in high school).
Assuming no overlap between tutoring in house and hired out, thirteen of the sixteen respondents are providing tutoring. I see two main reasons for tutoring: wanting to move your child ahead of the class (or the child’s desire to do that), and/or wanting to fill in the gaps so that your child will not be behind when Everyday Math is over. I find nothing wrong with the first motivation, and actually wish it were the only reason.
I am concerned that the second motivation probably accounts for the lion’s share of the tally. While it indicates a wide recognition that an issue exists, the fact that parents have to respond in this way is troubling. Whatever the form of this tutoring, from flashcards to worksheets to entire home schooling efforts, that it exists at all indicates a failing by our schools. I obviously come down on the side which argues that the poor curriculum (Everyday Math) is the major factor contributing to the issue, but I don’t discount other contributing causes.
Conclusions? A high percentage of concerned parents, and (in my opinion) rightfully so.