Homework help – help!


I am every parent. Or most parents. Or one of two parents at my house – which is about one-half, or maybe 50 percent – but who’s counting?


I represent average folks living a normal life where numbers serve as an integral portion. I can balance a checkbook, determine miles per gallon and double a recipe for banana bread, but my kids’ math homework has me nonplussed.


I’d like to resign, or preferably get fired, but when you are a mom, neither is possible. (The job is more permanent than a marker.) So, I’ve been honing up on vocabulary words like ratios and rates and it’s making me feel anything other than rational. My head aches and my neck feels like it’s stuck in a hypotenuse.


My husband is in nearly the same predicament. I say nearly because I need him to install a new bathroom sink next weekend and want to stay on his good side (the left one). Besides, between the two of us we know plenty of stuff. I do soduko and he’s a whiz at the jumble. It’s middle school math that has our integers aching.


I remember the ABCs of algebra. In order to determine the exact value of X it is important for both sides of an equation to remain equal – unless, of course, you are dealing with an inequality.


My son is unimpressed with my ability to transform letters into numbers. He believes my math techniques (from the olden days B.C. – before calculators) are worthy of wrinkles. I get grouchy, which multiplies our problems and reduces progress. Numbers don’t lie and this new math is making me look co-deficient. What mom wants to admit to being a less-than to her child?


Prime example: Today, in preparation for the chapter one test, we had to use a scatter plot to form the outline of a heart. The only thing scattering was my brain. My first attempt at the feat resembled a tangled kite (or in math circles a rhombus). My son’s scattered plot was beautiful and heart-shaped. He asked if this success made him smarter than me and I watched as my I.Q. plummeted right there at the kitchen table.


I guess I should accept my limitations. (If only math involved guessing!) A statistically significant percentage of the people living at my house believe math is a four-letter word, “Those mathstards!”


On the other side of the equation, one must demand credit where credit cards are accepted (but only if one understands how to calculate interest rates). Numbers are tools and it is important for kids to learn math – even the concepts that weren’t invented when dinosaurs roamed the earth, or your mom was a kid, whichever is greater than (or equal to).


Some days, new math makes me feel old, and my age is one numerical value I don’t want to exponentiate. Maybe instead of numbers I should stick with something less subjective – like words.