It Doesn't Add Up

There comes a time in every parent's life that they dread.

But it comes.

Whether you want it to or not, it arrives. And usually sooner than you'd ever imagine.

For years you are able to perform your parental duties and sit down with your kids at the dining room table, helping them complete their math homework. You answer their questions on addition and subtraction... even problems involving those confusing "fractions" are solved. You delve deep into distant memories of your own lessons from decades past, with a slight twinge that those same basic functions brought you, but you can teach, you can help.

Then it happens.

Oh, you can fake it for awhile, but soon it becomes painfully clear.

They have surpassed you. Way past.

They pull out their thick Grade 11 texts and point to problems that resemble some alien language... you are completely lost.

And you have to swallow your pride and admit it.

Math 1Pre-cal Polynomal Graphing?

Quadratic Functions?

Linear Trigonometric Equations????

You have no idea what they are talking about.

Back in the 70's when I was in high school, I was no math wizard (not by a long shot), but I passed the highest levels. Not without a LOT of work and a LOT of whining, though.

Exactly the same whining my own child expouses now when she gets stuck and frustrated:

Math 2"Why do we even have to learn this? We'll NEVER use it in real life!"

And I have to keep my mouth shut, or I'd let The Secret out.

The Secret every adult comes to learn, only too late.

No, hon.

No you won't.

34 People would rather be commenting:

Kathy said...

Let the secret out and tell her the only reason she's learning this is to exercise her brain. Unless she plans on being an engineer later there really is no use for calculus, algebra or trigonometry. Go ahead, tell her. Oh, and I'm just like you. I did well in these subjects, but not without intense work and hours of complaining. Very few math courses ever came easy to me.

Christine said...

What I tell the boys is,

"You'll need it when your children are in high school and you have to help them with their homework. Other than that, yeah, you're right. You'll probably never need this. But you need to do it NOW."

ShannanB said...

You can't tell her or she won't want to do the work, lol.

Happy Blog Hopping,
Anastasia Beaverhousin!

Anonymous said...

ok - this one had me laughing out loud! My oldest is only 6, but I know that one day he is going to ask this French majot to help him with his math homework. I guess that is why I married an Engineering grad...he can help with the math & sciences and I can help with the languages & history

Hoppin' with coffee

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Whoa, advanced math on a Sunday morning? Before Coffee. I fear the day.

Peggy Sez.. said...

Since we homeschool I'm hoping to steer clear of such horrific educational scenarios.In the event that is not possible...Then it's Dads job.

Blog Hoppin Back'atcha!

Cupcake Blonde said...

Don't let out the secret! That's half the fun of being a parent, knowing your kin will have to suffer like we all did through that horrible stuff.

Jill said...

Well, the moment I couldn't do my kids' math homework came REALLY early, because my son's school uses some kind of grid looking thing so that I can't even help him with two digit multiplication or subtraction.

As for the other, I dunno. For awhile I went with the "YEAH! Why do you have to learn all this useless stuff?!?!?" right along with them.

But recently I switched over to telling them it wasn't WHAT they were learning that was important, but that they were stretching out their brains by learning, not letting them atrophy and stuff...that there was too much to learn and no way for their teachers to know what would end up useful so they just had to keep their brains exercised in case they need to learn useful stuff later on down the road. I haven't really decided if it holds water or not, but I was getting tired of complaining...

The Egel Nest said...

I use quadratic equations every day...

okay...I never use them...

I was just practicing to make it sound convincing :)

The Egel Nest

Irene said...

When my daughter got to this point in her mathematics, we sent her to a math tutor, because there was no way we could help her.

It's true, unless you are a scientist or an engineer, you never use this stuff, so it is a waste of time as far as I'm concerned.

Why do we insist that all children learn this?

Unknown said...

Ohhh, scary math!

I was able to skip the whole math thing and take Accounting instead.

By a total fluke, I actually work in an accounting based field - but with no credit to my accounting class in high school whatsoever.

Aimeslee Winans said...

yup, and the other secret is that accounting is mostly just memorizing and applying theory, and not that much math aside from adding.

people think i am a math whiz. i just smile and nod...hehe

Anonymous said...

I think my children will learn to trust the Excel Help Wizard rather than their dad.

At least you still remember how to add.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

I have an Engineering degree and took 4 more semesters of university level math - Calc I, II, and III and Differential Equations. I couldn't even do a derivative today. Seriously.

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

yep - until our kids ask us about it - that is the only time it will be

im so not looking fwd to that - the way i am going - he will be lucky if i can help him with 4 +

hey mama - i tagged u on my blog ;-)

xoxoxoxxoxo a licious xoxoxoxox

Phoenix5 said...

Oh man, this post had me both laughing AND cringing at the same time! My oldest is in Grade 8, and her math stumps me, and I am an Electronics Technologist! I studied math all through college (now THAT was an epic struggle) and I also have to admit that I remember none of it. I actually had to work at remembering the "Times Tables" as they call them. I already caved in and told my girls that the math they study in school is a useless bunch of "hooey" but I told them to do it, or be stuck in school FOREVER...ever...ever...ever...... I think that has them motivated enough to pass, at least!

Once again, a very enjoyable read!

NH Yocal said...

I am not looking forward to those days. I was never one for homework, especially Math. Those diagrams certainly do look like another language : )

the frogster said...

If I had kids, they would pass me in roughly kindergarten.

Bruce Johnson said...

It isn't the practical use of the math that is at issue, it is the discipline that it takes to learn it that they supposed to retain.

Not that I learned that much of that discipline either...:(

Stacey said...

Ohh, just looking at that made my brain hurt.

Janet said...

Right there with you, Maureen. I can't make sense of any of it. Not that I was ever a math whiz, mind you. This year, DD took Algebra II/Trig (gulp) and my palms sweat the entire semester. Lucky for her, she never needs help with math or we'd be in a sorry state of affairs.

morinn said...

yeah it's definitely stupid that everyone has to learn all this! humppphh

Ed & Jeanne said...

I tell them it's all this new math; they didn't have that when I was in school. Now I have no idea when that term came into use but it's always worked in the past. Fortunately for me, I can refer Math stuff to my father; he reads Calculus and Quantem Mechanics for fun. For FUN! What is wrong with people? That was funny about the "lie" though.

Momo Fali said...

Um...yeah. How about when your THIRD grader pulls out a math textbook and you can't help? After all, you DO need multiplication and division.

Unknown said...

What? You mean you don't use quadratic functions on a day-to-day basis? Frankly, I find myself using them all the time. Like right now ...

Canadian flake said...

lmaooooooooooo wayyyyy too think it is hard???

Try doing it when your kid has a learning disability ...makes you wanna run away screaming when it is time to study for the exam..all I can say is I DON'T know how I didn't strangle her..roflmao.

Phoenix5 said...

I know the day is almost over, but I just HAD to swing by and wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

Oh so perfectly said! It's just one of life's little joys isn't it . . . having to learn stuff that has no real relevance in our lives of the future . . . never-the-less, it is unfortunately one of those things that must be done!

LunaNik said...

Nope...we don't use half that SHIT do we???

But...torture is F.U.N.


Our love for teaching children how to do stupid math problems =)

Ann(ie) said...

I'm doomed. I see an expensive tutor in my future!

Anonymous said...

Haha SO true. Trust me, my son complains about his coloring homework and asks me why he has to do it. I have to say "fine motor skills" like the teacher instructs me, but really I want to say "beats me, that's what Photoshop is for."

terancedubya said...

Quadratic Functions? Man, I wish I hadn't even read that. Memories of late-nites with no-doze and jolt cola trying to cram for a test I was bound to fail anyway. Stupid TI-82.

Annaelise said...

Well, I for one thank God each and every day that my dad is a math genius/engineer/professor/research scientist/technology master with a Ph.D in computer science.
Fortunately, I inherited a very mathematical mind from him.
But having a mathematical mind leaves me at an even bigger loss to answer the "why" question--two plus two always comes out equaling a negative number when I try to figure this out.

Maureen said...

Hahahaha Annika! Happy New Year!

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