By NICOLE KLAUSS
Math today is taught differently than it was 20 years ago, which is why many parents struggle to work on homework with their children.
In response to requests from parents, the Kodiak Island Borough School District is trying something new — a six-part class that teaches parents, not their children.
“The way we teach math now is different than the way we learned math,” math program coordinator Christy Lyle said. “Kids go home and say, ‘No, that’s not how we learned it,’ and parents have a hard time helping their kids with math.”
Classes will be held 7-8 p.m. Thursdays in the Kodiak Public Library multipurpose room. The first class is this week.
This isn’t the first time the district has hosted math nights. Before staff cuts, individual schools used to host them. With fewer math teachers available, the district decided to host a unified course.
The sessions cover elementary topics, but Lyle said parents of any kids who struggle with math are welcome to attend.
“My goal is to help parents understand how their kids are learning math, and give them the tools to help their kids at home, especially if kids are struggling,” Lyle said.
The first session, held this Thursday is called “No More Fingers” and focuses on learning how to replace counting fingers with a mental image of a 10 frame. The second session, “Mental Math Mania,” builds on that and teaches counting strategies to improve mental math.
“It is very intentional with the order,” Lyle said.
All of the sessions focus on new ways that math is taught. Students used to learn the stacking and borrowing method. Now, students are learning to break apart numbers to make it easier to do mentally.
“What we need children to do up until the age of third grade is to build and work on conceptual understanding of how numbers work,” Lyle said. “We’ve been using the conceptual way for twenty years. The goal of these is to help parents understand why math looks so different from when they learned it.”
Parents are not required to do homework, and will not be put on spot to answer math questions.
“I will never put people on the spot,” Lyle said. “I know how nervous people are about math and the point of these classes is to get parents comfortable with the material so they can help their kids.”
People can bring materials to take notes, but Lyle will also provide parents with take-home materials.
Registration is not required, the district suggests contacting Christy Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at email@example.com.
Jan 16 — No More Fingers
Jan 23 — Mental Math Mania
Jan 30 — No More Borrowing
Feb. 13 —Easier Multiplication
Feb. 20 —Learning Times Tables
March 6 — Homework Help