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Monday, March 4, 2019

Day 4 - Algebra

I remember being in high school math classes and actually asking my dad when I would ever use that stuff as an adult. At that point I already had decided to be an elementary teacher. I knew with a whole lot of confidence that I would never use that math beyond passing my tests in school. Because of that, I didn't retain that math learning any longer than needed for the purpose of the class. I did well in my high school math classes, but that didn't mean I enjoyed it. It meant I was a student who knew what it took to get good grades and I did that. It also meant that I didn't really understand the "why" behind what I was doing and learning in math.

Now, looking back, I'm not sure if that is because I wasn't taught the why or because I didn't care about the why. While I am CERTAIN I didn't care, I really don't think I was taught it either.

Fast forward...

My eighth grade daughter is taking Algebra I. She is smart and is a great math student. She has deeper understandings and is more advanced at her age than I was at her age. She also has a fantastic teacher this year! However, there are still days when she needs help with her homework.

My hubby is usually the one who helps with math homework but he's out of town for work.  So...here she comes with homework tonight. She actually tells me that she will probably have to call dad tonight because she will need help, which I mentally note he won't be able to do over Facetime because of the nature of the problem.

But of course, I figure I can do this. So we sat down at that table and fumbled around a bit and finally figured some things out. Fist bumps may have happened and everything. ;) And then we hit a road block and couldn't finish.

Remember I said that she had a really great teacher this year? Yeah, well, she'll be spending some of her lunch time with him tomorrow learning how to do the rest and probably telling him her mom has no idea how to graph equations with exponents. And that will be true.

I'm so glad she's a smarty pants. I'm so glad she has a fantastic teacher. But it still stings a little that I couldn't figure this one out. I mean, I'd probably be more successful in figuring it out if I had a book with explanation and examples to use. But I don't for this one so I'll take the sting, lick my wounds, and move right along fairly unscathed because I know I will only need to know how to do this two more times in my life...for the next two daughters only...and with any luck, hubby won't be out of town when they have to learn it. :)


  1. This post reminds me of the time I took a long term sub job that was Algebra, and General Math. They begged me to help, the students had run off subs for five consecutive weeks. I went home every night, did the homework, and then came in early every morning to get Mr. Vickers (my own algebra teacher) to help me with the ones I couldn't figure out. It was tough, but I made it! Was never able to help my own kids with their math homework once they hit middle school.

  2. I teach in Texas, and we have a short financial literacy unit starting in 3rd grade, if not sooner. It's the youngest grade I've taught with these standards. Third graders are expected to understand interest. Fifth graders are expected to know the difference between sales tax, property tax, income tax, and payroll tax. WHY?!?!? What on EARTH are we doing to our kids?