I actually felt like throwing up during curriculum night at my daughter’s school when I heard these words from the math teacher: “And moms! You should not be waving off your daughters and telling them to, ‘Go ask dad for help! You should be learning with them!” FML, l thought. I’ve already gone through grade five math. To ask a sweeping question, I wonder how many mothers do this, passing off of the math homework to fathers. Hands up? Well, I do.
At least I pawn her math homework or any math-related questions to her bonus father. Why? Because I have way better things to do, like…nap or stab myself with a fork in my eye. Kidding. I do ask her bonus father to help her with her math, because I stopped understanding my daughter’s math questions in grade three, which was two years ago. I just wanted to moan to the teacher at cirriculum night, “I’m just NOT good at math. Never have been and most likely never will be, so suck it up buttercup. The math homework is going to her bonus dad, who actually understands!”
But because I am trying to be “mother of the year” at all times, when her first math test notice arrived, I sat down with her to look at what she was studying.
I was like, “Um, what the hell are they asking?” And then I asked, “Why the hell can’t they just teach you to memorize multiplication tables in your head like they used to do when I did math IN THE OLD DAYS at school?”
No, these days they have to write out not only the correct answer but also HOW they got the correct answer. So, the morning of the test, I gave her practice questions like, “What is 325×18?” and she would get to work figuring out the answer on one piece of paper, while I worked out the answer too on another piece of paper. Needless to say, I got a completely different answer to my daughter’s answer, which is why a calculator has become the most important item in my house, including the washer and dryer.
This is how bad I am at math.
I still have to count on my fingers. So then I just threw out her questions, while I sat by with my calculator, to see if she got the answer correct. She did pretty well, meaning she got most of the answers correct, according to my calculator. I was also a little offended by the teacher telling ME (a grown up!) that I had to learn it with her.
Sorry, teacher, I know you mean well and are a self-admitted “math nut,” but I did my time, thanks very much. I did grade five math and grade six and grade seven and grade eight all the way through high school.
But here’s the thing about this teacher. I love her. She actually understands that many students are terrified of math. So, for my daughter’s first test, she called it a “relaxation math test,” meaning the girls (my daughter’s school is all girls) could go in with a bathrobe or bring in their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Now, THAT part I thought was fun, trying to figure out what my daughter should bring to make her “relax” during her math test.
My daughter came super prepared – slippers, a bathrobe, and some magic math rocks (that I had from a spa but told her they were “magical math rocks” that she should rub if she’s stuck on a question.)
I know what I’m good at and, by this age, I know that I’m bad at math. Also, I’m busy. I don’t have time for a career, being a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter AND go through grade five math again!
My daughter scored 95% on her test. Either she’s actually really good at math. Or it was the magical math rocks.
(photo: Sean MacEntee)