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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Gig is Up: A 9th Century A**hole is Ruining My Life!

My kids’ math homework is killing me!  Like seriously.  I thought the worst parts of having five children were behind me when I got to stop paying for Huggies and daycare.  What a laugh!  I’d gladly pay $125.00 for a case of diapers and a few hours of daycare every week for the rest of my life if it meant I’d NEVER, EVER have to factor another damned quadratic equation!

I loathe math, and not just with your everyday burning hatred.  I’m talking fantasizing-about-time-travel-for-the-sole-purpose-of-visiting-820 A.D. Persia-and-poisoning-the-asshole-who-started-this-whole-mess levels of hatred.  He was mathematician Al Khwarizmi, for those of you who don’t know, and I’m pretty sure he was in league with the devil.  What else can explain how he’s managed to torture millions of children and their parents for thousands of years after his earthly demise?

I was thrown into the fiery pits of hell…ur, algebra in junior high school.  From eighth grade on, my school nights were plagued with nightmares about scientific notation and additive inverse properties.  I failed two math courses in high school.  Me—a student in the honors program who’d made only two C’s her entire academic career up to that point!  Me—who made a 33 out of 36 on the English portion of her ACT!  That demon Khwarizmi, with his evil exponent and variable trickery, reduced me to a failure and landed me in summer school for credit recovery the summer before my senior year.  I’ve never forgiven him for it.  I’m also still pissed that he cost me actual cash money, and a lot of it, for two more algebra classes in college!

Now, ol’ Khwarizmi has gotten his hooks into my sweet babies!  All of them:  from the 18 year-old senior to the 6 year-old first-grader!  This has led to great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Lowery-Combs’ household because every one of these chirren have inherited their Momma’s right-brain dominance.  None of us is able to decipher the goobly-gark these poor kids are being forced to muddle through every night.  For hours!  There was a time when my angels were convinced their Momma knew everything there was to know in the entire universe, but the gig is up!

So far, my 1st and 5th graders haven’t brought home a worksheet we haven’t been able to eventually conquer, but they’ve seen me and their brothers and sister (and heard our rather loudly elevated voices) at the dining room table as we struggle over their math homework, and they’ve all decided that if I can’t correctly apply the dastardly order of operations 100% of the time, then surely I am also wrong about any evidence that points to the fact that they haven’t brushed their teeth in two days.  There is dissension spreading through the ranks, people!


I’d like to line up each of my kids’ math teachers , and mine while I’m at it, and karate chop them in the throat.  (My faithful readers know how I love a good karate chop to the throat!)  I’m no better at helping my kids learn algebra and calculus than my own parents were, and I can’t help but feel that some of our deficit, at least that part of it not inherent in our right-brain natures, is due to inadequate instruction.

Maybe it's a good thing that younger and younger students are learning algebraic concepts.  Maybe by the time my first-grader is in high school, she’ll be able to tutor the rest of her family of idiots?  Whatever the case, I can tell you this:  the day she graduates I will never, and I mean NEVER, worry myself with another binomial coefficient or explicit function again! I am positive that I will be a kinder, gentler, smarter Momma for it, and probably live a whole lot longer.