Thursday, October 23, 2008

Free Straitjacket Friday ... Math Mysteries

In school they put me in a lot of advanced math classes. Don't hate me for that, because I detested math. It was like reaching Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell and finding it filled with numbers, graphs and polygons.

For some mysterious reason, I always scored well on math aptitude tests. Then I would find myself sitting in an advanced class, spending many enjoyable hours reading Judy Blume paperbacks tucked inside my textbook. Whenever the teacher called on me for an answer, my reply was something usually something like, "Um ... What page is that on?"

In one of life's ironic twists, I have a child who is not only good at math but actually likes it. A sixth-grader who is getting A's in an eight-grade math class. I'm proud but not a little befuddled. It's like a Republican giving birth to a social worker.

On the rare occasion my son asks me for math help, it becomes quite an amusing and pathetic adventure. I can remember past teen idols' siblings' names (Kristy and Jimmy McNichol! Leif and Dawn Garrett!) but for the life of me, I can't recall how to find the area of a triangle. I did okay when he was younger, but now that the math has gotten more sophisticated, I've decided to take the psychologist-couch approach to helping him:

"Hmmm," I mutter in a non-judgemental tone, "this is interesting. How do YOU think you should figure this out?"

"What have you been doing to solve this and why has or hasn't it worked?"

"Do you think you should call Brandon (fellow math genius buddy)?"

And damn if that kid doesn't end up figuring it out on his own! Maybe I really iz a genius....

Chart from

1 comment:

nejyerf said...

i sucked at math too. and yet i continued to take algebra and geometry and trigonomety and barely pass the classes.

even now, almost 20 years later, the thought of math classes makes me break out in cold sweat!