Monday, February 28, 2005

dumb math parents

What is it about school math and parents? I vividly remember my father attempting to teach me math back when I was in middle school. It was homework, he was trying to explain something that I didn't understand. But he didn't understand it either. And he's a pretty smart guy and an engineer to boot. In all fairness I must explain that I was part of the generation that got caught by the "New Math" craze that swept school rooms all over the East Coast mumphety mumph years ago. That pretty much explains anything you need to know about why I can't do math and why he couldn't teach it.

Nowadays we're back to "normal" math. V was having trouble with her Honors Geometry homework; her father tried to help her. He's a smart guy and *really* good at math. But somehow the words coming from the dining room did not sound like there was that much learning going on. She insisted that he was confusing her. He insisted that she wasn't paying attention. The actual fact is probably that he's not explaining it the way her teacher did but she didn't clearly get it the first time and the different explanation is confusing her. I think. I'm a little confused myself at this point. Don't even think to ask me for math help.

Several years ago S was in middle school needed math help and her father was not home I actually went out and purchased a book. "All the Math You'll Ever Need" Due to my "New Math" training I *still* don't get it even with the book. Good thing I have my husband to run interference for me on this one. If the kids have a problem with math I just tell them "wait till your father gets home." It's a promise, not a threat.


betty said...

Hi, I've recently discovered your blog, and am enjoying reading it.

My DD is in 1st grade right now, and it constantly amazes me the things that they are teaching them in class now. They're already learning how to add large numbers, and how to carry over the one into the ten's column! I'm certain that we didn't start learning stuff like that until 2nd or 3rd grade when I was a kid.

I'm glad that my DD seems to learning math fairly easily because I know that I would have a fairly hard time explaining some of that stuff to her! I'm going to leave the real complicated stuff to my DH who is great at math.

mira said...

Hey Betty,

Thanks for stopping by, glad you're enjoying my blog.

It is amazing how much faster they seem to push the kids through things like large number math. I wonder how much of that is because there is so much more to teach them and because these days they are allowed to use calculators in the classroom starting in middle school. When I was a kid we weren't allowed to do that until college.

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