After using other math curriculum for the last nine years including Prentice Hall, Houghton-Macmillian, Abeka, and Bob Jones, I am now becoming aware of Everyday Math/ aka Chicago Math. I find some of the methods to be more time consuming for students and allow for less critical thinking. Any other thoughts on this curriculum?
My son is in 4th grade as has learned math with the Everyday Math series since kindergarten. I personally find some of the problem-solving methods tedious and "strange" because I didn't learn basic math skills this way 30 years ago. It find it frustrating to not understand how to help my own children do multi-digit addition because I don't understand the "partial sums method." I do appreciate that he is learning better "number sense" which is the primary goal of the program. I think if a school is going to implement this curriculum they should have SEVERAL Math Nights for the parents to come in and "learn" how to help their children the proper way and to better understand the program.
My older son had Everyday Math in middle school. We both hated it. I teach math at a post-secondary level, and I find that the students who had Everyday Math are often at a complete loss. My own theory is that math is a series of building blocks and that Everyday Math seems to take blocks from the basement, the first floor, and the second floor and scatter them all over the place. Certainly, we often need different kinds of math skills to solve problems in everyday life, but I firmly believe we need to learn them one level at a time.
I am terrible at math, and the only thing that got me through college-level math classes was sweat and repeating. If I took time during class (I can't learn something like math by listening to a lecture) to grind through problems, I could get a reasonable ability, enough for tests, but very little of it has stayed with me today. I think for learners similar to myself, the best method would be progressive levels, with constant returns to previously learned material so it doesn't get pushed out of the way.
I think that you have to be a very skilled teacher to teach Everyday Math. It's also not best for every student. Since it takes a very different style of teaching and learning, I often cringe when schools say they are going to try it without spending time really looking into it. I suggest using it as a supplement first and easing it in if you decide it's for you and your students.