A slow death by numbers

Eight grade Pre-Algebra was not kind to me.  In fact I remember roughly three things from that class:

1.) You can never have too much blue eye shadow as was evidenced by Pam Whats-her-Face who sat across from me.

2.) Kissing boys was apparently an amazing experience that I needed to start trying out.

3.) Somehow, some way the alphabet was supposed to be divided, subracted, added and compressed, which would then magically turn the letters into numbers and if organized just so could ultimately bring about World Peace.

I did not receive a passing grade in Pre-Algebra, but I did get a rather unfortunate sex education from Pam Whats-her-Face.  So I had that going for me.

Listen, I’ve seen the statistics about how girls tend to do poorly in Math and Science simply because they’re female and are expected to be bad with numbers.  I want you to know that that is not what happened to me.  I just suck at Math.  Plain and simple and heartbreakingly true.  I still don’t understand algebraic equations.  I have long since forgotten how to do long division and most days I cannot do basic addition without using my fingers.

Feel sorry for me.

I can, however, sit and daydream for hours and I’m not too shabby at finding shapes in the clouds.

So it was with no small amount of fear and trepidation that I embarked upon the business of homeschooling my children because I knew that in so doing I would, indeed, need to conquer the evil numbers.  I mean, granted Sloan is only in second grade and Tia is in Kindergarten so really, how hard could it be?

Turns out it can be flat out torterous, folks.  It’s Chinese water torture by SUBTRACTION!


We started the year out fine.  Basic addition facts were covered.  Ordinal numbers, Odds and Evens, Counting by 5’s, 10’s and so on…Cake, ladies and gentleman.  I began to see addition facts in the clouds.

Somewhere around our fifth week in, however, things took a turn for the worse.  Just for Sloan.  Tia has taken off in Math.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be buzzing into a first grade Math book before year end because she not only enjoys Math, but she asks to do several lessons at a time.

So TAKE THAT statistics!  My daughter rocks the numbers.  BOOM!  In yo face!


Early last month, I decided to take a different approach to the cruelty of Math.  Instead of tackling it every day, I declared Tuesday and Thursday to be Math days and every other day would remain number free.  I figured this to be a happy compromise and a fair way to hopefully give Math more of an appeal.

It took us two hours to finish one short lesson today.

*hangs head*

So here’s how this Math thing goes down.  ( I don’t know why I’m capitilizing Math.  I think it’s because I’m scared of it and maybe if I show a little respect, the numbers won’t infiltrate my brain, thus turning me into some kind of mad woman who lives alone with a hundred and fifty cats and wanders around mumbling equations nonsensically.)  I say, “It’s Tuesday guys.  Math day!  Yay!”

Tia: “Can I do three lessons today?  Please?”

Sloan: “What?!  No, it can’t be Tuesday.  It’s only Monday!  I know it.  I’m only doing half of a lesson today.  And no adding.  Or subtracting.”  This is usually said after he’s collapsed his head dramatically into his arms.

Landon: “Wait, what?!  We have to do school AGAIN today?!”  School is a surprise every day.

I understand my son’s anguish, I really do.  I lived his anguish every day until I finally managed to choose a major with the least amount of Math required (English Professional Writing, baby!  Boom! Pick out shapes in the clouds all day if you want.  It makes for more creative writing…)

But alas, I must pretend to be horrified at his disdain for numbers and tell him what fun it is to know and learn Math.  “Math is lots of fun!” I exclaim as I open up the dreaded book.

Did you hear that?  Math makes me lie to my children.  Eeeeeeeevvvviiiiiiilllllllll.

And we then spend the next two hours trying to simply tackle one short lesson.  And here’s the kicker – he’s actually really good at the Math.  As in, when he switches off the tyrant in his brain raging against the injustice of learning, he generally whizzes through the equations and he doesn’t even need to use his fingers!

Clearly he possesses a bit of his father’s genes.

And thus the story goes.  I pull out the Math books.  He thinks he’s going to die.  I think that trying to teach him the basics is going to kill me.  And around and around we go.


Ask the kid to write you a poem.  I dare you.  Because he will sit for as long as it takes to craft the perfect poem with nary a complaint.

And today I caught him staring at the clouds.  “That one is shaped like a blue whale,” he said, pointing.

I am so proud…

Fear not, good people.  We are surviving the Maths and I do think he is learning a bit.  There’s a good chance, though, that should we continue down this homeschooling path, I will be hiring a Math tutor to manage the crazy.

The End.