Thursday, January 23, 2014
Maude VS The Math Homework
Math and I have always had a hate-hate relationship. I hated the class and I hated the homework, and judging by my current level of mathematical prowess, math hates me too.
I suffered through math all through school, eventually coming to my senses one week into pre-calculus my senior year of high school and dropping math entirely. I took my one required algebra class in college and moved forward with my life, never looking back.
Math hasn’t haunted me, I haven’t given it a thought in all these years, that is until FOURTH. GRADE. MATH. (insert the DUN-DUN-DUN ominous sounding music)
Honestly, I’d rather poke my eyes out AND remove my toenails AT THE SAME TIME, than “try” to “help” my 4th grader with her math homework. Apparently, she feels the same way I do about it all.
Says the sassy pants 9 year old:
“ I don’t know WHY we have to do MATH! UGH!”
“Why do we HAVE to do HOMEWORK? UGH!”
“Math homework is SO. STUPID! UGH!”
(it’s important for you to hear the proper TONE in these exclamations, too, and that tone is one of complete and TOTAL disgust, disbelief and complete inconvenience all rolled into one lovely fingernails-on-the-chalkboard sound).
Math in our house is a daily battle, too. There are lots of heavy sighs, exclamations and tears. And my daughter carries on the exact same way.
I can count on one hand (that’s about as far as my math skills go anyway) the number of times we’ve had a pleasant math homework experience. You’d think I asked her to clean an OUTHOUSE or something, the way she carries on.
And my favorite part of “helping” is when I’m telling her something that is wrong. Take, for example, our recent battle with LONG DIVISION. My nemesis. (other than the Pythagorean theorem) The child asks for my help. I help her the way I was taught.
And I get the two syllable “Mo-om” which only means that I am a total dumbass. “That’s NOT how WE were taught to do it.” And I want to then say, then just F-ing DO IT already.”
But instead I ask her how THEY learned, and my eyes immediately roll back into my brain because my feeble mind can’t possibly process an additional method of long division computation. As it is, it took years, yes, probably YEARS, for me to master the concept of LONG DIVISION, and I barely even remember it.
Our most recent exchange centered around “factors”. What the F are factors? Well, I’m probably the only person who doesn’t know, and I’m totally OK with that. What I DO know about factors are that my daughter absolutely positively refused REFUSED to do them.
What she WANTED was for ME to do her math FOR HER. Which is really super funny because she KNOWS I can’t do math. She even says things like “I better wait for Dad to get home so I can have him help me with my math”.
Yet, I think she enjoys watching me squirm. She intentionally pushes my buttons. She wants me to go all Mulk (menopausal hulk) on her so she can get out of doing the math because she is crying so hysterically hard that she can’t hardly breathe.
Yes, folks, this is an actual avoidance tactic, and I have it on good authority that it’s not just my kid using it. And of course I feel like a total jackass too because A) I’m completely incompetent with 4th grade math and B) I can’t keep my shit together long enough to wait her out.
I did finally realize, however, why I don’t like math. It’s that it’s trickery. Witchcraft. Slight of hand magic. Every math problem (story problems in particular) are DESIGNED to trick you. I don’t like that.
I prefer something a little more straightforward. A good multiple choice question, with A,B,C and D answers with an obvious choice. I don’t like riddles. I don’t like trick questions. It’s the academic equivalent of “pull my finger.” Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
In the end, I’m most afraid of what comes next, FIFTH GRADE MATH. If fifth grade math involves using macaroni pieces to solve the problems, I’m going to be OK. If it’s any more complicated than long division, the girl and I are both completely screwed.