Thursday, March 04, 2010

School's Out Forever

There was a class which bothered you, I mean really bothered you, in high-school. The subject managed to be both narcotically boring and fiendishly incoherent and after day three you were pretty certain the teacher was speaking one of those African languages which utilize tongue-clicking. I'm not saying what yours was, but it's whatever final you periodically take in a nightmare while wearing only tighty-whities. No matter how bad your adult life is going, you can always soothe yourself by saying inwardly, "Hey, could be worse. I could be back in (Dreaded subject)."

But if you ever choose to home-school, know there will be a moment where, just as in the horror movies of your adolescence, the thing which you thought was dead, knew was dead, couldn't ever bother you again, rises to do battle once more. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present my week:



Blogger sherry stanfa-stanley said...

Smart move to elect for the math tutor. The last time I helped my youngest with math homework, in fifth grade, he got every answer wrong. Never asked me to help again.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

You have my sympathy! Geometry was mine. Eep.

By the way, I love the Q-teas. Really fun. You'd be great at stand-up or your own podcast or show.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Another Joan said...

Best decision ever was hiring a tutor for the stuff we couldn't manage - saved marriage and several years in the slammer for homicide. Kid survived and knows where to go for editing/organizing help and where to go for math!!

11:21 AM  
Blogger kate sweeten said...

Oh, God! Any math class that involved proofs. Those things haunted me all the way through far as I'm concerned, all math should be able to be done on a calculator. If not, it's too complicated to exist.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Math is a religion in which I do not believe. No faith in it, either. By college age I let my children decide on their own whether to become believers themselves. One did. The other two are math atheists like me. We never talk about it at holiday gatherings.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Quirky said...

I actually enjoyed geometry. At least it was math you could see. Squares and triangles made sense. Now spelling? Different story entirely. Silent letters and combination letter sounds and when to drop the y and add an i? Makes me shudder just thinking about it. Thank God for spell check!

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I adore your blog, but I've never commented before... and then you brought up my favorite thing in the world. I'm a math teacher. :)

I made up a song for my 8th graders who couldn't remember the formula for slope. Whatever works, right? If it will be of some use to you, I present... the Slopey Slopey!

(To the tune of the hokey-pokey)
You take the y from the second, minus y from the first
Divide by x from the second, minus x from the first.
You do the slopey slopey it's just rise over run, that's what it's all about, slopey slopey!

Also - I've found that starting with point slope form is easier for many students, and then it's just two steps (distribute and isolate y) to get to slope intercept form. Hope that's a little bit helpful. :) Best of luck.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Like most women of my generation (the post 55ers) math and I were never good friends. Maybe it was because my math teachers were all Vietnam Vets, drill sargents all, who treated the girls like poison. Whatever, I never passed algebra 2, which means I have one semester of algebra credit under my belt. They graduated me because I had taken algebra 2 already 3 times and it was clear I was never going to pass it.

So years later I have this daughter. The daughter with the big gigantic learning disability that has trouble in school and needs an IEP and extra help in most subjects. Except math sort of comes to her. She can learn it, spit it out on tests, and then block it out forever. But she's taking CALCULUS right now, and I don't even know what one learns in calculus. I just learned via Jeopardy tonight that trig is the study of angles. I never knew that before. :-)

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

My father always said if you do poorly at Algebra you'll do great at Geometry. In high school I failed Algebra twice and then passed with a mercy C. Then I was thrilled at last I could take that easy geometry class he was always talking about. Lets just say I never got that mercy C.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Thank you for clearing up that whole French pedicure thing. I feel much better now.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous eggman said...

Do I win any kind of prize for noticing that in a couple of your video posts (luh-huh-ve them), which are theoretically days apart, you're wearing the same shirt and jacket? Hmmmmm?


6:20 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

ah yes, geometry AND trigenometry. I had successfully managed to block that from my memory until now. Best of luck!!

(also, I LOVE that slopey-slopey song!)

11:05 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Judy--ditto on "math is a language inw hich I do not believe." Doesn't help that my father was a math major (ergo math whiz), can do the equations mentioned in "A Beautiful Mind" and has three children who are not mathematically inclined at all.
Slopes? Y? What's the point?

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Y'all are talking about my bread and butter here. Mercy! I give!

I taught HS math for 12 years, and now I teach prospective teachers how to teach math. (And I'm well over 50, so some of us females survived it even back then. I will confess that I was made to feel my weirdness by my peers, though.) I try to emphasize that it needs to be taught meaningfully, so that it makes sense to students--all of them; I should copy your comments and take show them to my students as an object lesson in what happens when it's taught otherwise.

PS Lest y'all lay all the blame on HS teachers, generally the foundations of incomprehension and pain are laid much earlier. Though I will say I've heard some tales of HS teachers from my prospective elementary teachers that break my heart.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Dodi said...

LOL! We hired a "writing coach" for our 4th grader a month ago, best decision we ever made! No more tantrums or tears or shouting - and our child is doing better too!

Math was my weak spot in high school too. Will be the first in line to hire a tutor when it's time! (I do happen to rock at fractions, which has impressed my daughter to no end! Too bad that part of math is over.)

11:36 PM  
Anonymous noL said...

I share your nightmare subject, and refuse to think further on it until my 5 yr old gets there.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to be completely annoying, one cannot speak Yugoslavian. Slovene, Croation, Serbian, yes (plus a couple of others). But not Yugoslavian.

(And i have never needed to know more than basic arithmetic, which is good, since that much was nearly impossible to get into my noggin)

5:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Anonymous,

8:48 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous DebBeausoleil said...

Within the last month, I've returned to college to get my Bachelors degree, and my dreaded high school subject is resurfacing - algebra. I absolutely hate it. It's a requirement for the degree, though, and although I took Beginning Algebra back in the 80s during my first stint at college, I know better than to leap into Intermediate Algebra 30 years later. So back to Beginning Algebra I go....dragging my feet the whole way, crying and whining, too.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Having just spent 2 hours on sixth grade math yesterday, leaving both me and my daughter utterly exhausted, I can totally relate! At least I can leave the main teaching up to the teacher, since we have reached the point that I have ceased to be a help:)

12:25 PM  
Blogger Spenser said...

What is the point of all the suffering detailed above? Why do we deny our kids music training in the schools but insist that they have to keep slogging away at a subject that so many are not gifted at and will not use beyond a certain level (basic math skills)? And we don't try to teach them how to balance a checkbook or count back change. Instead ALGEBRA? GEOMETRY? Why can't the kids opt out after they have continuously shown no interest or aptitude? Again, we don't inflict the non-talanted with music against their will. And yet, music trains people in the same way math does. I say, make it available but not mandatory once the student has reached Middle School.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Math is the reason I became a writer.

Math is also the reason I married a banker.

I write the checks. He keeps track.

Quinn, I LOVE your Q-Tea video blogs! LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I'm a work-at-home geek and have a little portable DVD player on my desk to play whatever strikes my mood on any given day. Last week, I played through the entire 6th season of "Gilmore Girls" (which reminds me of you..intelligent and hiliarious fast talking). Sometimes it's a chick flick (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle) and sometimes, it an all-time fav, like "The Goodbye Girl." How thrilled was I to be seeing that funnier-than-hell little girl all grown up and still....funnier than hell!

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Miss Raven said...

I was so entertained by the latest Q-tea. As someone who hasn't worn heels for years since attempting to wear them to work at an on-my-feet job at a library (few jobs I haven't done), I totally related and cringed at the pain. Hope your feet have healed.

-Compulsive QC Report Commenter. :)

7:57 PM  
Anonymous DebBeausoleil said...

Just got my algebra book for college and the title and author's names are printed on a huge bottle cap on the front cover.

The consensus from my family is that it's a message to drink heavily before studying the book.

I'm not prepared for this. Not at all.

4:48 PM  

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