Monday, March 16, 2015

Math Homework: It's About Time

I don't like math homework but it's only a matter of time.

My daughter has an 8th grade Pre-Algebra book with 800 pages of content, over 900 pages if you count the extra material. She attends school for 180 days and classes average about 40 minutes.

180 days times 40 minutes = 7200 total minutes in class

7200 minutes in class divided by 800 pages = NINE MINUTES PER PAGE!!

And that does not allow for tests, reteaching, standardized testing, sick days or field trips. No wonder teachers send home so much work. There is no way they can cover it all in class!

I understand the importance of math, and enjoy the challenge of figuring out answers to math problems, but something is not adding up. We continue to reap the changes brought on by No Child Left Behind legislation. And her book is not unusual, most math textbooks I've seen are just as hefty.

A quick glance through her math book confirms that it is built for fast pace acquisition of knowledge. Each lesson runs four to five pages in length and consists of a new concept, taught in three to four different ways, then followed by 50-75 problems to solve.

That translates into 20 minutes to learn something new, then master it in the next 20 minutes. On the following day you continue to build and review, build and review. But what happens to those who cannot keep up with this relentless pace? Don't worry, you can always work on it at home.