My son's public school began using "Everyday Math" when my son was in Kindergarten. I noticed almost right away that this was not the math that I learned. And I also went to public school, back in the 70's. And although I don't even recollect doing math homework, I somehow managed to get through statistics and calculus in college with good grades. But there have been problems with this math even in the 1st and 2nd grade that I could not explain!! Once I sent a letter to the teacher saying "I've got a doctorate, and I don't understand this. How is my 6 year old supposed to?" I also don't understand the point of teaching a child how to come up with a ballpark estimate when adding or subtracting when it actually takes less time to just teach him how to get the correct answer!!
If this is at all possible, I actually think that my son was a better speller and reader in Kindergarten-1st grade than he is now. In fact, back in Kindergarten, he spelled with almost complete accuracy. Now he struggles with it. As to math, my son is now in the 3rd grade, and he is now at the point that he hardly attempts his homework without saying "It's hard". In addition to the homework, the teacher sends home the math workbook and he has to complete anything that he didn't in class. Most of the time, once I sit down with him to point out what needs to be done, he can complete it rapidly. So he is somehow either absorbing the knowledge or he is intellectually capable despite not getting it from the teacher. It's as if he has developed such a believe that he cannot deal with the work that he gives up before he even tries.
What I see is a child who started school interested in learning, and year by year, he is beginning to hate school. I've taken away TV and video games. So now, he is allowed to play with toys until 7 PM and then he must do homework and reading until 8:30. Basically, he constructs his 3-D puzzles or practices his gymnastics in the living room. When 7:00 comes, it is still such a battle and takes longer than necessary unless I am right on him with it. He interrupts his homework to say "I'm hungry" or other things, anything to avoid it.
Lately, he is constantly saying "I hate school", and when asked why, he says "It is a waste of time". I asked him what he feels is a better use of time, and he said "playing". He's been saying since he was 4 that he wants to be a doctor, and I explained to him that he must go to school to do that. It is very easy to say "He's got a behavior problem", because his attitude towards school is a problem. But in fairness, he does go to school without a problem. He also has good reports on his behavior with other children and anything "playlike", like gym. He is not doing well in independent work and even his art teacher put "Not working to ability".
I need to point out that I don't believe that there is any learning disability here. He uses advanced vocabulary when speaking, he has a very good memory. And I don't know what to call this, but not only can he complete these 3-d puzzles for ages 12+, he works on 1000 piece flat puzzles, and he seems to know how to take apart and put ANYTHING together. But because of these problems that he is having with math in particular, I am afraid that he's going to get classified as a problem and even end up in special education classes, which I think would turn him away from school even more. As I said, his behavior towards his work, and perhaps his teacher, is passive-aggressive. He is also still very immature in many ways (jealous of attention being taken from him at home, doesn't want to throw his own garbage away, doesn't like to share).
I am absolutely dreading the parent-teacher conference coming up.
Anyhow, I am thinking that before I blame my son, perhaps I need to look more into what he is being taught, because even I have seen problems. Our school district is not considered to be a "good school district", we do not pay well, and a teacher actually said to me "We attract the worst of the worst, and we hire the best of the worst". I'd like to put him in private school, but the good ones are 10-15k a year (cannot do it) and the others are private catholic and aren't any better. And I do not want to sell my house. I am willing to supplement my son at home and I am willing to become knowledgable about what my son is learning and assist the district with information that may make positive changes for my son and others.
I am interested in anyone else's experiences with "Everyday Math". I have read that the Koreans are superior in math, because of Kumon math. Could anyone tell me what they believe is the best Math curriculum in the schools?