Math homework. Math tests. Ugh. We’ve all been there. Your child comes home with homework and questions, and you stare at the book, racking your brain trying to make heads and tails from this new way of presenting what otherwise should be a straight-forward math problem. It reminds me of the scene in the Disney movie, The Incredibles 2, where Mr. Incredible is trying to figure out his son’s 3rd grade math. “WHEN DID THEY CHANGE MATH?!?!” (The theater absolutely erupted in laughter with parents who have been there! It was great!) Yep. Brew some coffee. This going to take us a while.
So, it was with my daughter. She bombed her most recent math test. Ouch. Luckily, so did most of her class, and they got the opportunity to do a re-take of the exam because the class average was so low. Whew! (These are very bright kids at an excellent school, so that is saying something.) So, I decided we were going to take it step by step and work some each day until the day of the re-take. Well, then she developed strep throat, was really sick, and that threw my plans into the waste bin. I instantly had to go from teacher-mom to nurse-mom. Yikes, and we had only one full day after her sick day to work before the test. (Ok, don’t panic, I told myself. We can do this.)
While she was resting and fighting off her fever, and after talking through the methods with my husband, I sat myself down and worked problems over and over until I felt comfortable enough to try to teach it to her later. Yes, I sat down to study and work out 6th grade math. Ha! It’s not that I can’t do 6th grade math, but the methods used are a bit different now, and they have to use these newer methods. Sorry, kids, no more 80’s math! You have to relearn everything you were taught.
So, much later in the day, when she started to feel well enough to think about a little math, we started working. The next day (our one full day left), we literally figured the chapter out together — with a lot of rest time in between, of course — and honestly, it turned out to be fun for both of us! I genuinely got super excited when I stumbled upon how to approach a problem, and she was just as excited for me. It was all coming together for us! It was magical, and I’m not overstating it. By the end of the day, she wrote out her own test using numbers from the practice test in the book, and did it all correctly. She was proud of herself and the work we put in, and she felt ready. We had made plenty of mistakes along the way, but we got through it and learned from the mistakes. (I even got in a bit of practicing during her rest times!) This morning we touched on a few things as I was brushing her hair, and I sent her on her way full of confidence. We studied and learned together, and I found it to be a special time of bonding for us, too.