Common Core is making my brilliant son with #Autism hate math :(

It’s been a very frustrating day for me as a parent because Common Core has entered into the picture, for the first time I’m aware of. 

Emmett loves to learn and thrives on numbers and patterns. He loves school and is an extremely intelligent 7 year old. 

  
As of last school year, Emmett was moving through math so quickly that I started helping him learn more challenging math problems at home, just for run. He can do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In some cases, in all cases he can do so with 3 or 4 digit numbers. Even more impressively, he does this in his head. 

I don’t know how he does it but it’s like he visualizes the number floating  around him and the answers just appear. 



Emmett comes home with Math homework every night and it’s very quickly become the bane of my existence because Common Core is absolute nonsense and Emmett simply doesn’t work that way. 

He’s gone from a kid who did Math at home for fun to hating it and being unable to complete his homework because it’s pushed him over the edge. 

Here’s an example of a question from the other night:

  

Emmett was so frustrated because he knew the answer but didn’t understand why he needed to break it down into a more complicated question and add steps, just to get the same answer he already knew. 

He just doesn’t work that way and we’ve already had quite a few meltdowns as a result of his frustrations. 

I’m frustrated with this and I’m an adult. 

I mean, I understand what they’re trying to get him to do but not everyone works that way. If you look at the above problem and are like, that makes total sense, then you are someone who works that way. If you look at the same problem and your head feels like it’s going to explode, pull up a chair and hang out because I’m right there with you. 

I did a Periscope broadcast where I spoke about this and the video is embedded below. 

I would really like to hear your thought on this issue. 

I wrote his teacher a message tonight and that’s quoted below. Something has to give because I’m not going to let this snuff out Emmett love of learning and that’s exactly what’s happening right now.

So I just sent this message to Emmett’s teachers. Thoughts?

“I’m totally not trying to be a pain but this math homework is pushing Emmett over the edge. The way he’s being asked to do these problems are contrary to the way he works. Emmett is a kid who can do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in his head. When it comes to this common core nonsense, it frustrates him and it’s now 9:30 pm and he still hasn’t completed his homework because he’s been freaking out over it. 

Kids on the Autism spectrum give everything they have when it comes to the school day and they quite often fall apart when they get home, as is the case with Emmett. Emmett is a very anxious child and just can’t handle taking school home with him every day. 

As you are aware, Emmett is very capable of doing the work and can provide the correct answers but struggles to do that when forced to do things in ways his brain doesn’t work. I’m not sure how we go forward but frankly, this is something that we will have to address. Emmett hates math now and that’s not gonna fly with me. 

I realize that not everything is within your control but it’s my responsibility to be a voice for my son and I’m being that voice. 

Emmett was unable to complete his assignment and he’s quite worried about losing points as a result. We need to figure out how to address this issue because Emmett is a kid who loves school and thrives on learning. I can’t allow something like this to snuff that love of learning out… 

Can we set up a time to speak or are conferences coming up soon?

Thanks for all you do for Emmett. 😊

Rob”



  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    Believe me, common core will die whenever a president finally realizes it’s actually doing harm to the US’s math scores, not improving them.

  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    Believe me, common core will die whenever a president finally realizes it’s actually doing harm to the US’s math scores, not improving them.

  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    No. Internal ways of solving a problem should never be written down. It defies the point. It’s like encapsulation in programming. A program doesn’t care how the OS handles a request for something. It just cares that it’s handled. This allows for things like cross-platform programs. If teachers teach internal/mental ways of solving a problem, they should always be optional and shouldn’t be written down unless the kids choose to. I tend to use subtract-by-higher-place-value-first, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the classroom does, much less write it down. You could see people using different strategies as their main and fastest strategy as like how different types of code run faster on different architectures, or in this analogy, different types of strategies and different brains respectively. I think that teachers should behave the same way a well-written program does when requesting things from the OS: Recommend generally how the request (in this case for a math problem to be solved) should be handled, but only truly care about what the result is.

  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    No. Internal ways of solving a problem should never be written down. It defies the point. It’s like encapsulation in programming. A program doesn’t care how the OS handles a request for something. It just cares that it’s handled. This allows for things like cross-platform programs. If teachers teach internal/mental ways of solving a problem, they should always be optional and shouldn’t be written down unless the kids choose to. I tend to use subtract-by-higher-place-value-first, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the classroom does, much less write it down. You could see people using different strategies as their main and fastest strategy as like how different types of code run faster on different architectures, or in this analogy, different types of strategies and different brains respectively. I think that teachers should behave the same way a well-written program does when requesting things from the OS: Recommend generally how the request (in this case for a math problem to be solved) should be handled, but only truly care about what the result is.

  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    Believe me, common core will die whenever a president finally realizes it’s actually doing harm to the US’s math scores, not improving them.

  • Gabriel Pulido says:

    No. Internal ways of solving a problem should never be written down. It defies the point. It’s like encapsulation in programming. A program doesn’t care how the OS handles a request for something. It just cares that it’s handled. This allows for things like cross-platform programs. If teachers teach internal/mental ways of solving a problem, they should always be optional and shouldn’t be written down unless the kids choose to. I tend to use subtract-by-higher-place-value-first, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the classroom does, much less write it down. You could see people using different strategies as their main and fastest strategy as like how different types of code run faster on different architectures, or in this analogy, different types of strategies and different brains respectively. I think that teachers should behave the same way a well-written program does when requesting things from the OS: Recommend generally how the request (in this case for a math problem to be solved) should be handled, but only truly care about what the result is.

  • Guest says:

    I really like that video. One way to explain to Emmett why he’s breaking the numbers apart in this way is that it’s going to help him solve really big problems in his head later on. For example, if you want to add 212 and 118 in your head, the traditional way is a bit harder than the new way.

          1. To solve 212+ 118, we start with the one’s place. So 8+2 = 10. Remember to carry that one. Move to the ten’s place. 1+1 is 2. What was it I was carrying? Oh right, 1. Ok, so 1+1 is actually 3. Then for the hundred’s place, 2+1 is 3. Ok, reverse those results and put together 3,3,0 . So 330 is the result.
           2. The new way, we can say that 110+210 = 320. That’s the first part. Then you still need to add in 2+8. But that’s simple, because its now just 320+2+8 = 320+10 = 330. Maybe he has his own way to thinking of how to add big numbers like 212 and 118?

    It gets even more important when it comes to multiplication. I can break numbers apart in a few different ways in my head in order to multiply them faster. 21*32 = (20*32) +(1*32) = 640+32 = 672. Or I could do 21* 32 = (3*10*21) + (2*21) = 630+42 = 672. I like the first method better for this problem, but I can break the numbers apart based on what makes it easier to solve the problem in my head. This is all much easier than multiplying the traditional way.

    Yeah, this way is longer for right now. But it’s going to make it easier for him/other kids to do it later. Maybe he’s already got a way to shortcut addition that makes it easier in his head. In that case, see if he can explain his way and praise him for creating a better shortcut than the teachers did (and maybe explain that the teachers are using the thing they think most people who aren’t as creative as Emmett will understand). 

    Even better, if he sees that you’re supposed to figure out why you are doing something, the world opens up to him in terms of creating your own better solutions. And maybe he doesn’t like the way the teacher’s have decided to show him why addition works the way it does. I bet he has his own ways of thinking about addition. But you can tell him you hope that they will teach him some cool things about how other things work that will help him play with numbers in his head in the future.

  • Guest says:

    I graduated high school in 2012 and math was an absolute hell hole even without common core because they changed the way it was taught each year. My dad spent a lot of time with me in my math assignments from 7th-11th grade and I still got extremely frustrated. To hear that the process is getting even more extreme is heartbreaking.

  • Guest says:

    I really like that video. One way to explain to Emmett why he’s breaking the numbers apart in this way is that it’s going to help him solve really big problems in his head later on. For example, if you want to add 212 and 118 in your head, the traditional way is a bit harder than the new way.

          1. To solve 212+ 118, we start with the one’s place. So 8+2 = 10. Remember to carry that one. Move to the ten’s place. 1+1 is 2. What was it I was carrying? Oh right, 1. Ok, so 1+1 is actually 3. Then for the hundred’s place, 2+1 is 3. Ok, reverse those results and put together 3,3,0 . So 330 is the result.
           2. The new way, we can say that 110+210 = 320. That’s the first part. Then you still need to add in 2+8. But that’s simple, because its now just 320+2+8 = 320+10 = 330. Maybe he has his own way to thinking of how to add big numbers like 212 and 118?

    It gets even more important when it comes to multiplication. I can break numbers apart in a few different ways in my head in order to multiply them faster. 21*32 = (20*32) +(1*32) = 640+32 = 672. Or I could do 21* 32 = (3*10*21) + (2*21) = 630+42 = 672. I like the first method better for this problem, but I can break the numbers apart based on what makes it easier to solve the problem in my head. This is all much easier than multiplying the traditional way.

    Yeah, this way is longer for right now. But it’s going to make it easier for him/other kids to do it later. Maybe he’s already got a way to shortcut addition that makes it easier in his head. In that case, see if he can explain his way and praise him for creating a better shortcut than the teachers did (and maybe explain that the teachers are using the thing they think most people who aren’t as creative as Emmett will understand). 

    Even better, if he sees that you’re supposed to figure out why you are doing something, the world opens up to him in terms of creating your own better solutions. And maybe he doesn’t like the way the teacher’s have decided to show him why addition works the way it does. I bet he has his own ways of thinking about addition. But you can tell him you hope that they will teach him some cool things about how other things work that will help him play with numbers in his head in the future.

  • Guest says:

    I graduated high school in 2012 and math was an absolute hell hole even without common core because they changed the way it was taught each year. My dad spent a lot of time with me in my math assignments from 7th-11th grade and I still got extremely frustrated. To hear that the process is getting even more extreme is heartbreaking.

  • Guest says:

    aparentsprspctv The_Autism_Dad We invite you to enter a trouble-free world math is melody and movement.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWphMREEQDrg-DCBz2dXpLNi4MFXKDNQm

  • Guest says:

    As much as I dont understand common core either, it’s best to help him learn it -now- while he’s young and flexible. These math procedures are going to follow him the rest of his life in school, and it’s nationalized so even private schools will be teaching it.
    It’s different for us, anyone over 20 likely has no clue how to do it.

    Your best bet is to do your own research in the mean time, try to understand the reasoning behind it and then figure out how to process that and explain it to your kids. I never had a parent who did this- we also didnt have the internet as a resource. We didn’t have youtube for explanations. When I was a kid if I didn’t understand my homework, I had to spend hours trying to review my class notes, reading the back of the book, and trying to figure it out myself. I struggled so much, so early on, and never got the help I needed.
    Look around all over the internet and you’ll find ways to explain it. This guy does a good job of explaining the reason behind common core, too.
    Best of luck

  • Guest says:

    aparentsprspctv The_Autism_Dad We invite you to enter a trouble-free world math is melody and movement.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWphMREEQDrg-DCBz2dXpLNi4MFXKDNQm

  • Guest says:

    As much as I dont understand common core either, it’s best to help him learn it -now- while he’s young and flexible. These math procedures are going to follow him the rest of his life in school, and it’s nationalized so even private schools will be teaching it.
    It’s different for us, anyone over 20 likely has no clue how to do it.

    Your best bet is to do your own research in the mean time, try to understand the reasoning behind it and then figure out how to process that and explain it to your kids. I never had a parent who did this- we also didnt have the internet as a resource. We didn’t have youtube for explanations. When I was a kid if I didn’t understand my homework, I had to spend hours trying to review my class notes, reading the back of the book, and trying to figure it out myself. I struggled so much, so early on, and never got the help I needed.
    Look around all over the internet and you’ll find ways to explain it. This guy does a good job of explaining the reason behind common core, too.
    Best of luck