No other way to say it.
It has never been my favorite subject.
If I were a superhero, math would be my evil nemesis. A large, pointy teeth, BO smelling villain emanating a kryptonic paralyzing force. Scary shit.
I have avoided math most of my life.
Confession: I purposely did not take Calculus my senior year in high school because I was afraid that it would hurt my average and risk my place as class salutatorian.
True. When the going gets tough, especially math, this chick signs up for basket weaving.*
Math scares me —
Just the thought of the angle, fraction, decimal, and sometimes random letter filled world makes me huddle in the fetal position in some dark little corner rocking back and forth muttering, “Go away, math. Just go away.”
DO NOT get me started on word problems!
I get sweaty just thinking about word problems!
The words get all jumbled and I start to doubt even basic knowledge. Apples what are apples. Jim walked how far? Why would he do that?
After I graduated from high school and then tested out of math requirements for college, I somehow felt like I had dodged a bullet. “Ha Ha, stupid Math. I don’t need you. You with your wordy wordy and numbers that I fail to comprehend.”
BUT, then I had kids. And they went to school. And were given math homework.
I have 4 kids in school right now. A 1st grader. A 3rd grader. A 6th grader. And A 7th grader. (someone hold me or restock my fridge with beer!)
I help with homework. Do my best to calmly explain things.
We have muddled through. Until this year. . .
Math scares me and now I have to learn new shit —
Math is proving to be a whole new ballgame that is bound and determined to set me over the edge.
Here’s the deal as explained to me by a nice teacher’s assistant that I know —
It’s a new curriculum for grades K-5. It is called Go Math, and it is designed to follow the Common Core standards. The tests mimic the standardized tests given in the spring (PSSA’s) by filling in the bubble with the correct answer.
Daughter No. 4 is in 1st grade. The picture above with the worm and car math problems is from a test she recently took. She seems to be doing well with the new math.
Daughter No. 3 is in 3rd grade. I would have thought that I, a high school and college graduate, could handle 3rd grade math. Not true.
My math scares me story —
Daughter No. 3 could not figure out her homework. My first thought: Crap.
It’s not the helping that I mind. It’s the math. And feeling dumb.
So, what did I do?
I yelled for Daughter No. 1, the 7th grader, to come help. Her response: “I don’t know how to do that. We never learned.”
Great. We are a family full of math avoiders.
The problems wanted Daughter No. 3 to draw a number line and jump back in increments from the big number to the small. Sounds easy enough. Well, I assure you that I can make even the simplest task into a huge flipping ordeal.
The first few problems were fine. Numbers not that far off from each other. Then came the last two problems. Big freaking number to other big freaking number. And a small area to get the jumping back done in.
The directions were lacking guidance on how large or small our increments could be. So I did the only thing a mama that hates math could do. Wrote a note to Daughter No. 3’s teacher.
And her teacher wrote a very nice note back.**
Yes, math scares me! But my kids’ teachers do not. So helpful and caring.
The moral of my math story is —
You can think you are getting away with something in life, but it will rear it’s ugly math head again and bite you in the ass with those pointy teeth.
Best to try hard and learn what you can so that you can help your lovely kids be able to successfully count the number of adult beverages you consume each night due to the enormous amount of stress that life (read as: math) puts on you.
*I have never taken basket weaving. I can’t remember what classes I had my senior year in high school.
**I am in no way criticizing teachers or school staff. You deal with WAY more crap than I could ever handle. I toast all of you! Ever. Single. Night. And sing your praises each weekday morning as I put my ladies on the bus. Amen.
Additional reading on Common Core —
The debate over Common Core is a reality that many states are dealing with this year. Common Core’s goal is to improve standards & critical thinking thereby properly preparing students for college and careers.
Great goal. Just never going to accomplish with this teaching method.
CBS News Sunday Morning had a segment on the Common Core debate.
That’s where the test question came from & this quote:
“Secretary [of Education] Duncan made a controversial remark. He stated that ‘white suburban moms’ are opposing the Common Core because it shows that ‘their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.'”
Politicians are so wise.