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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Was a Four Cupcake Night

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Math-a-Diabetic Counseling

The biggest challenge in raising a prepubescent tweenager is not the hormonal fluctuations that at times can register a 12 on the Richter Scale or dealing with the tragedy of having to wear jeans that do not have slits and slashes in them or even keeping track of all the BF’s (that’s text talk for Best Friend) that can change hourly.  It isn’t even raising a child when there is a 57 year age difference.  No, the real challenge is helping with sixth grade homework.

And it isn’t even helping with all homework.  Cutting and pasting the solar system on construction paper, I can handle that.  I can outline Texas on the map so she can color it with map colors for social studies.  Heck, I even know the shape of Rhode Island.  When it comes to sentence structure, I can definitely help with simple subject and predicate.  But what sends me to the chocolate cupcakes faster than a Jenny Craig drop-out is math.

Granted, it’s been 40 years since I was in a math class, but you’d think 2 +2 still equals 4 but today’s
sixth graders are way beyond dealing with just  plain numbers.  They have PRIME numbers and COMPOSITE numbers and evidently numbers that aren’t even real.

After an hour of screaming and crying and shouting “When will this ever be used?” the tween-ager sought help from a much calmer Dr. Hubby while I got chocolate cupcake number one and tried to breathe normally.  Five minutes later Dr. Hubby said he would assume the supervision of the second grader’s homework AND buy me a condo on Maui, IF I would continue helping with the sixth grade homework.  Cupcake number two!

Math and a right brained person do not mix.  They are not simpatico. They do not speak the same language, not on the same page, different worlds.  Problem:  8 divided by 2 X (3-2) to the second power minus 4 = ?????  To the math teacher’s credit, she did provide a mnemonic device to help with tonight’s homework and this right brained elderly parent.  This is good.  I can deal with mnemonics; after all, I learned to read music with F-A-C-E and Every Good Boy Does Find, at least the treble cleft part.

To help in solving the problem, she gave us “Pass the Potatoes My Dear Aunt Sally” which stood for the order of the steps you follow to solve the problem:  Parenthesis, Power, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract. “ Ok, get rid of the parenthesis first so that’s 3-2, which is 1 then exponents ok that’s still one, so on to potatoes…no that’s Dear… Abby … no wait….” After the second hour my neurotic device was “Panicked Parent Malfunctioning During Arithmetic Session.” We needed a break.  Chocolate cupcake number three.

Now with an additional 1500 calories under my stretch pants and chocolate endorphins coursing through my brain, I was sure we could finish the assignment before morning… or I had to bake more cupcakes.   I was mumbling “Now that’s 8 divided by 2 cups of flour on the harmonica times 1500 calories to the tenth power…” when I heard the tweenager say  “Never mind, I got it.  While you were licking the icing off your cupcake, I called my teacher and my study partner.  You were doing it all wrong, but thanks anyway.”

And that’s when I ate chocolate cupcake number four!


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I love math but would never be able to figure out the way it is taught today. Cupcakes, now that is something that makes sense to me.

Joanne Noragon said...

I thought math was new when my daughters were in school, but now that I'm handling fifth grade math for one granddaughter, I silently thank my daughter for giving the ninth grader innate comprehension of what numbers are up to and loving her sister enough to share.

Jody Worsham said...

I think the first 6 were smart enough NOT to ask for my help. Glad I'm not IN school now. Jody

Christie said...

Hi! I found you through Mommy Bloggers and so glad I did! I'm your newest follower and we're having a Christian Adoption Link Up on my blog! I'd love for you to link up your blog and connect with other Christian adoptive families on the net!

In Christ,

Sharon said...

So funny and so scary! I used to think I was smart. That went the way of whatever it is that you were describing.

1001tears said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I just read your post, you had me laughing out loud--which I needed. My kid does Everyday idea what it is. But apparently you can't add in a straight line anymore. He is only in 4th grade--thank goodness all the answers come home every week. Even still, I'm lost. He's on his own in junior high!