Are your kids learning, or memorizing, math concepts?

Kids in the U.S. clearly need more work in math to boost their skills and school performance, and early childhood math foundations are essential for later math success. Last December the New York Times reported that U.S. students continue to lag behind many nations in math and science, even as our global economy increasingly demands those skills. Multiple entities and agencies have expressed growing concern over this trend.

Part of the problem, according to results reported in Psychology Today, from three research studies, is that too many students believe that math is all about memorizing rules and procedures vs. applying logic to different problems using related concepts. Systematic mathematics instruction introduces concepts in a logical order and provides students with many applications of each concept.

The need to more clearly establish a sense of step-by-step relationship is part of what is driving the Common Core State Standards Initiative. In terms of math, the Common Core website states that “For over a decade, research studies of mathematics education in high-performing countries have pointed to the conclusion that the mathematics curriculum in the United States must become substantially more focused and coherent in order to improve mathematics achievement in this country. To deliver on the promise of common standards, the standards must address the problem of a curriculum that is ‘a mile wide and an inch deep.’” It notes that the Common Core Standards are “a substantial answer to that challenge.”

Supplementing a child’s in-school curriculum with at-home learning activities that adhere to the Common Core skills sequence can help raise kids’ grades, confidence, and one-day opportunities.