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Common Core Math + Young Students = Parental Headaches. Turns Out, This Dad is NOT Smarter Than My 2nd Grader

Parents of elementary students are seeing some unfamiliar terms and problems on their children’s school math homework. It’s called The Common Core and it’s resulting in frustration in some young people and parents alike. Common Core State Standards “establishes guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade,” according to

Like every curriculum, it has proponents and opponents.

South Dakota adopted the Common Core State Standards in November of 2010.

Here’s a few examples to see if you are (not to sound like a game show…), smarter than a 2nd grader, or a 4th grader:

Grade 2

Solve using your place value chart and number disks, composing a 10 when necessary: 53 + 19.


Craig checked out 28 books at the library. He read and returned some books. He still has 19 books checked out. How many books did Craig return? Draw a tape diagram or number bond to solve.

Grade 4:

Represent the following expressions with disks, regrouping as necessary, writing a matching expression, and recording the partial products vertically: 3 x 24


Cindy says she found a shortcut for doing multiplication problems. When she multiplies 3 × 24, she says, “3 × 4 is 12 ones, or 1 ten and 2 ones. Then there’s just 2 tens left in 24, so add it up and you get 3 tens and 2 ones.” Do you think Cindy’s shortcut works? Explain your thinking in words and justify your response using a model or partial products.


I’m a dad. I love reading to my kids and helping with homework. But there is nothing more embarrassing than pulling your hair out over a math problem you can’t solve or saying, “go ask your mother.”

At this point, I’m just thrilled when they can count back the correct change from their summer-time lemonade stand.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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