October 6th, 2014

This Might Explain a Lot About Conservatives


Conservatives don't like Common Core. That's not news. Red State is a blog. Also not news. Red State's editor in chief Erickson says his wife and his 3rd grader can't understand subtraction. Specifically, the counting up method of subtraction, an alternative method of subtracting that anyone who does mental arithmetic does automatically, and which is included in Common Core textbooks and has some nice side effects like helping people internalize quantity and quantitative relationships, rather than just relying blindly on a sequence of nonsensical steps the way traditional algorithmic arithmetic tends to encourage people to do.

"Erick Erickson wrote that this method "makes no freaking sense to either my third grader or my wife.""

If conservatives in general are innumerate, it might or might not be news, but it would be a very powerful explanation for some of their positions (not their terrible morals, but why they keep getting suckered by foolishness about the effects of tax cuts).

I had never seen (to the best of my recollection) this sequence of steps before, but it captures a lot of the rounding up/rounding down and then adding back in that I do mentally doing arithmetic -- I can't make the standard method work consistently without something to write on, but this one I can hold in my head. It took me a minute to understand the sequence they laid out, because it is a little different from what I do, but the spirit is recognizable. Anyone who has a lot of trouble figuring out this way of subtracting probably hasn't really understood subtraction, other than as a rote sequence of steps.

FWIW, I expect that anyone who _does_ have trouble with this might find that after a half dozen to fifty worksheets with a hundred of these problems on them will help them with their difficulties. It might even help them better understand quantity relationships as well, contributing to their overall numeracy.

ETA: the sequence in my head goes like this. 325 - 38 = ?

320 - 40 = 280
280 + 5 = 285
285 + 2 = 287

So I drop the trailing digits initially, rounding down on the larger number and up on the lower number, so I only have to add when I put them back in. Then I subtract the now manageable single digit from double digit (32 - 4 = 28) and put the zero back on. Then I add back the dropped digits.

Today's Activities Include: holiday cards, catching up on things

I know everyone says that things get easier as one's children get older -- except of course those people who swear the exact opposite. In any event, in my case, the former is the true part. Especially when their school placement is working really well. Lucky us, the kindergarten transition for A. has been beyond perfect (very, very unlike T.'s!) and she comes home excited every day, happy to go the next day and wanting to learn more stuff. I've started pointing her at math games -- Park Math and Moose Math (which never quite worked for T.; by the time he grasped the math, the game aspects were way too young for him) are a big hit at the moment.

Some group at my condo has decided to rewrite the house rules (a reasonable activity) and then add a couple of new ones (much less reasonable). I took a look at them and about went through the roof (figuratively speaking). They want to give the board the power to vet tenants. Are you kidding me? So I did a little digging. In addition to the lawsuit potential, if a condo board has that power, the FHA will not okay a loan for a unit in that building, which in this loan environment will make it somewhat difficult in general to get a loan. Brilliant. I suspect that the management company has been trying to steer the board away from this idea and not entirely succeeding. Maybe I'll call tomorrow and try to find out what they have told the board at my building. The board also wants to ban window a/c, which has historically been okay within some parameters. This is irritating, but in no way the insanity that the board vetting tenants would be.

I've been getting stuff out the door to the bins and/or consignment again, which is nice. In the course of ransacking the house for the missing iPod Touch (doesn't really matter -- it was getting pretty old anyway, but it would be nice if I could find it), I found another set of snow boots that are the right size for A. currently. Glad I found them _now_ and not next spring, say.

I figured I'd go set up the holiday cards on snapfish today. I had it in my head that this is the right time of year to do that. Which is weird, because I've only done this once before and that was last year -- November 21 was the order date. Good news! I'm way less behind than I usually am.

We still have to get 2013 taxes filed; hopefully that will happen tomorrow.

The evenings have been so mild that T. and I are still going around the block (he scooters, I walk) around 8 p.m. He's been using a headband LED, which reassures me. When we did it without lights, I was concerned he might hit a pothole or something. E.'s dog on Torrington reliably freaks out when goes by. Not sure if there's anything we can do to make that better or not. The dog is friendly; night time seems to be the issue. We usually meet at least a couple other walkers. We aren't the only ones enjoying the bug free, temperate evenings.

ETA: Oh, and supposedly my car has entered production. At least that's what the sales guy told me in email. MyBMW does not agree. Not sure what to think about that.