Some Problems with "New" Math | Nurturing Wisdom Tutoring

Some Problems with “New” Math

We’re constantly helping students with math. One trend we’re seeing is that some of the “new” math curricula isn’t giving students a strong foundation of basic math facts. Math builds on itself over time. As a student advances in math, tackling increasingly complicated problems and skills, undetected holes in their foundational knowledge can cause huge problems later.

What is “new” math?

Everyday Math is one type of “new math” widely used throughout Chicagoland elementary schools. It has grown in popularity because it’s thought to teach “higher level” problem solving skills. Problem-solving skills are important, and the truth is, many students do quite well with Everyday Math. The consistent problem that we see is that foundational, basic math skills are not taught, which really leaves some kids behind.

What is it about this “new” math that leaves some students with gaping holes in their math knowledge?This youtube video, Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth, sheds some light on the problem. It compares the traditional methods for solving a multiplication problem with the new methods. It’s not difficult to see why the new methods are confusing for kids learning math for the first time. Watch this if your child’s school is using the Everyday Math curriculum.

What do we do about it?

If your child is using a “new” math program, the important thing is to supplement!

  • Make sure your children learn their basic math facts to mastery. Flash cards, dice games, leap frog toys, and online tools like ALEKSquick tables are great for learning math facts.
  • Check out or if you want to do an online math program at home.
  • Tutoring is always an option! Feel free to give us a call. We’ve encountered many of these situations in tutoring, and we’re happy to help!