Let’s talk about common core. My husband reposted this viral image here on his Facebook, where a student was marked wrong for asserting that you could not get 10 by adding 8 and 5.

Which is true, but the teacher quickly points out that under common core, you get 10 during the process of adding 8 to 5. (You pass 10 by counting on your fingers and toes too lady, just sayin’) Anyway, in the comments someone brought up the last viral common core image of a kid’s incorrect answer to 5 X 3 being 5+5+5=15 rather than 3+3+3+3+3=15.

Then someone was quick enough to post this wonderful explanation as to why this was a vindicated action, and another so quick to call the rest of us commenters going Dubba-T-F monkeys who have no respect for Spock, because the directions! The kid didn’t follow the directions! He’ll never be able to program a computer that way! Teh gods.

It was painfully obvious to that Facebook goer and apparently many common core supporters that this way of solving the problem was perfectly logical, and if you have any issue with that you just must fail to understand modern first-grade math. All my knuckle dragging friends and I needed enlightened post haste, and in response to that, can I get a banana then?

**If I’m wrong for thinking that there is more than one method to solving a problem, I don’t want to be right.**

I don’t understand why and never will why we as adults feel the need to cookie-cutter education. How a child reaches the correct answer is irrelevant to the correct answer— or at least it should be. If you really want to encourage critical thinking, you probably shouldn’t do things like tell a child in grade school they are wrong because they added 5 3’s rather than 3 5’s just because some math guru or the teacher or a Facebook-commenting, know-it-alls say that’s how you do it.

Why? Because there won’t always be someone there telling our kids how to do things. Because not every problem is best solved the same way. Because in the real world most of us are not programming computers. Say you’re at the store and you want to figure out whether a coupon discount on one item is going to save you money over the other.

If the item is $20, and the coupon is 25%. You could:

-Divide by 4.

-Multiply by .25

In this case, dividing by 4 is a pretty instant answer for most, $5 savings.

Now assume the discount is 10%.

You could:

-Divide by 10

-Multiply by .1

Here multiplication would be easier for most to process, because you just move the decimal point over 1, $2 savings.

This is a real life example of not only why understanding multiple ways to solve a math problem is important, but also that the best method is going to vary by person. Some of you reading this might be going, what? I’d have solved that…*this way*. Some of you may have even used a common core method. My point is not that common core math is illogical or wrong. I don’t’ need enlightenment or Spock memes. My point is that forcing children to learn there is only one way, and insisting they are wrong when they have the answer right on a matter of method is crippling to their adaptability in thinking. Not to mention if common core just doesn’t mesh with how a kid’s brain works, you threaten discouraging them from interest in math at all, because “they just don’t get it” When they do! Just in their own way.

Redirecting to the point that the kid, at least in one of these questions, did indeed not properly follow directions begs to question your own opinion on whether or not we should be teaching our kids to think or teaching them to be directed. Personally, I prefer kids who can think, but hey, maybe the other group can program a computer to do their math for them. Right?

I’ll stick with my opinion that the right direction depends on where you’re trying to go.