So I had to do the math at two levels at once, from the 4th grade onwards: One in my head the way my brain “maths”, and THEN the way the teachers need to see it for THEIR purposes.

Well, I was overgeneralizing in any case. Those involved are doing they best they can and there are many successes. Even with my nephew, it’s not a failure by any means. But I’ve had to help him at two levels, as he does math in his head:

a) do the math in your head the way you know
b) show your work in the way the teacher wants to see it.

I had to do the same thing when I was in school in the 80s, because I always “thought math” like an algorithm – usually in BASIC, with for loops and such, rather than math notation.

So I had to do the math at two levels at once, from the 4th grade onwards: One in my head the way my brain “maths”, and THEN the way the teachers need to see it for THEIR purposes.

It’s the coping skill I used for the way they taught math to me, and it’s helped my nephew (5th grade now) in his 30 years later. Nothing’s really changed.

He doesn’t think in algorithms like I do – he has his own ways. None of it’s reflected yet in Common Core. Maybe one of the methods will.

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