August 24, 2011

Third Grade Math

I dream a lot.

Most of my dreams contain at least one near death experience. Last night, for instance, I dreamed that my husband is a gambling addict and owed his bookie 150 million dollars. All the money has to be paid back by Friday...or else.

If all my dreams ended here--with the anticipation of impending death at the hands of a hired assassin--I would be happy. Nine times out of ten, however, they end with something far worse; usually a word problem.

I woke up at three in the morning, drenched in sweat, with this question running through my head: If we have three days to pay back the money, how many dollars per day do we have to pay the bookie?

Needles to say, the math homework that my daughter is bringing home has made me realize that the person in my family who could benefit the most from Kumon is me.

A sample from today's homework sheet:

There are about 40,320 minutes in a month. How many hundreds of minutes are in a month?

I am incapable of thinking about the world in this way. Or really any way that is socially acceptable and generally productive.

"I've reached the end of my rope," I told my daughter this afternoon as I threw up my hands. I said this after I took her math practice test and got 8 out of the 10 problems wrong.

"If you would just sit still for a minute, I could teach you how to do it," my husband said later that evening. The three of us were sitting at the kitchen table.

Unfortunately, he was talking to me and not my daughter.

The sitting still and concentrating on one thing: that's a big part of the problem.

It's already been well established that I can't do that either.






39 comments

Anonymous said...

That kind of math is what awaits me in two years? I'm dead meat.

Mom of 12 said...

I hate story problems! My autistic son struggled with first the reading, then the comprehension, then the math itself. And my dad was a math teacher!
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

Bossy said...

This year they sent home a nice letter that said homework is for the students not the parents be supportive, but don't do it for them. I plan on using this when my fourth grade needs help with fractions. He needs to learn I already have to do all the fractions when his dad cooks.
Kira

how to gain muscle quickly said...

In that subject I feel dead, i donno but I hate that subject..

Mal said...

I had a math teacher in high school once ask who in the class liked English. I raised my hand, and he said, "Oh, great. You're going to be really good at these." He proceeded to write a word problem on the board. I raised my hand again. "Uh, I said I liked English, not that I liked the prattle of mathematicians who think they're being clever."

It was something like that.

Anyway, he brushed me off and said I didn't know what I was talking about. (He was wrong. I didn't know what HE was talking about.)

Maureen said...

Somehow I always feel better when someone with a PH.D has problems with their kids homework, my brother has a PH.D and teaches at BYU and he can't spell for the life of him, he makes me feel so much better too, ..I tell my kids all the time.."your math is different then the math I did when I was in school" when did that happen?

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I am challenged in the math department so I my husband will be taking over there with my girls. Ulp.

mom24orsinis said...

I still don't like them much, and used to "need to go to the office because I feel sick" every time they were introduced in math class...however, since homeschooling, I am beginning to figure them out...only on the first and second grade level though...

please, tell me the answer is 3 hundreds???

Kari said...

One of my professors told me about her son who hated Algebra, because letters were meant to be used to make up words, not be numbers.

That said, just got done listening to the Love & Logic CD regarding homework--I'd recommend it to anyone struggling with their kids. Lots of good thoughts about how much (or, rather, how little) parents should be involved.

Morgan -Ing said...

Math hurts my feelings.

Anonymous said...

I always carried a certain amount of pride that I could help my daughter with any math/science problems she brought home. One night I asked her what she was working on and she said, "factoring trinomials".
My reply? "Good luck with that"

StrawberryBlond said...

Word problems are the WORST. My daughter is only in second grade but her word problems are starting to make me sweat. I think I over-analyze them and make them harder than they need to be. Math is for the birds. We all know the best people are English majors, right? :)

Another Piece Of Chocolate said...

I'm stumped - my masters degree was in a "right brained" field of study.
Grateful to have a husband who does math and logic problems just for fun :- )

C-Dub said...

The problem I have with math problems isn't the math part so much; it's that the words, strung together, often don't make any sense to me.

See, if they just said "divide this number by 100" I could easily do that. I can move decimal places around without any problem. And that is all they're really asking you to do.

So the answer is 403.2. :)

C-Dub said...

That would be math *word* problems. :) Dur, apparently I'm not an English major either.

Destiny said...

I tried helping my 4th grader with her math homework last night. Luckily, my husband was nearby to correct my errors and explain it the right way.

Anonymous said...

I also have a re-occurring dream about math. In it I am about to take a Calculus final when I realize I haven't been to class all semester. Could be because I attempted to pass a Calculus final after not attending class most of my Freshman year in college.

midnight hysteria said...

*any way that is socially acceptable and generally productive* ... sadly, after many, many years of trying to do these terrible math problems, i'm just as bad at them with my grandkids as i was with my own kids ... A.D.D. ... i'm going to blame it on this ... now, as for english, i've always been an english major and would have done the mfa but ... well, long story, suffice it to say i was too outspoken for the english dept ... LOL ...

i will never say, jana, it gets better, b/c, at least in my case, it didn't [for math], but i believe if i need this kind of math problem solved, i will hire someone ... or wait for the hubbs to do it ...

now, if it's *peter at the pearly gates*? i guess i'm in trouble, LOL, but then, my faith takes over and i'm ok ... hang in there and don't sweat this, it too shall pass ;-))) .... darlene

BeckyB.West said...

Oh, how I hated math! I still do. I hope my daughter is smarter than I was as a kid (that wouldn't be hard to beat), and that she doesn't need help with her homework. If she does, I better start saving up for a tutor. I'd be useless.

Amy M. said...

I got A's in math as long as my mom didn't try to help me.

Janet's page said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

MaineMommy.com said...

I feel ya. My little on just started kindergarten and I felt like I had been hit by a truck during orientation. Has the world changed this much in 20 years? SERIOUSLY? ahhhhhhhh ;)
http://www.mainemommy.com/2011/08/kindeewhat-hell-is-that.html

Rachel said...

Just found your blog and your my new favorite. every one of your posts is cracking me up. this is just the type of blog i need to get me through the school year :)

Ms Numbers said...

I had to laugh, I am so there with you!

pauline said...

Oh look at that...my attempt to be witty was foiled by piss poor grammar. *Takes a bow*
will be back to read more. Thanks for the laugh.

Nanny said...

we worked on 3rd grade math yesterday. Oh, the eye rolling and twitching. Mostly on my part. I don't remember those yellow square thingys when my children were little. If you need to use them to do home, for heaven's sake send some home!!!! I can't spell maniputives, see I tole you.

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Kay said...

Just you wait! My math professor in college was from a different country. English was not his first, second, OR third language. It was his fourth. While writing on the board he would be talking so fast he would slip into French. We'd have to raise our hands and remind him to go back to English! He was still a good professor.

Anonymous said...

OK, just in case the answer is still up for grabs: 4,032,000 hundredths in the number 40,320.

There are 100 "hundredths" in 1 (like 100 pennies in a dollar, pennies are the same as hundredths). The tenths are 0.1 (dimes), and the hundredths are 0.01 (pennies). So remember, 100 x 0.01 = 1. So there are 100 hundredths in each 1 in the number 40,320.

40,320 x 100 = 4,032,000 hundredths

I hope I read the question right.

EBMMommy said...

Guess what folks -- there's not even any good evidence that homework correlates with academic achievement in elementary school. Read about the research at http://evidencebasedmommy.blogspot.com/2011/08/is-homework-worth-hassle.html.

Stephanie (aka EBMMommy)

Crapburgers said...

Anonymous above me: you did read the question wrong :) you move the decimal the other way.

dcr said...

i had to use a calculator for this one...i hate elementary school math!

midnight hysteria said...

ya know, reading before this post, i see most people equate being *smart* with being good at math ... who told them it's that way? did mom say if you don't know math, you're not .... you put the phrase in here: good enough, smart enough, bright enough, you won't make it into a *good* school??? who / what???? i hate math, have always hated math and i'm sure i will hate math till i die ... but .... that's not to say my master's degree in computer science or my bachelor's in english is less valid, less *good* or that i'm less *bright* ...

i think we need to let our kids know, tell our kids, aloud, oh, yea, and OURSELVES, that we are ok, we are good, we are smart, and bright and all those good things ... even if we do have math issues* ....

sorry for the rant, but it's so negative and makes everything else we do well, *not good enough* ...

darlene, loving her english degree even if everything is in lower case (at least *I* know the difference) ...

cestlavie22 said...

Lol! I have to say the way they are teaching math is absolutely crazy. The problem is not you the problem is that the way they are teaching is crazy and hard for ANYONE to grasp.

Laurie S said...

I agree with cestlavie22. Math is not just about story problems and worksheets. Why is that the only way most of us are taught? It's too bad that public school math teachers are generally not very inspiring when it comes to math.

Amy P. said...

Oh man, this post made me laugh and laugh! Thank you!

Mike said...

Doesn't it seem that the kids are smarter now than we were then? I mean really it's 5th grade math and I find that I know how to do it but they call it by a different name or I do it a different way than the teacher. Come on I still get the right answer. Am I right here or what?

Cheryl said...

Oh I so hear you....my 2nd son asked me a math question the other day and my oldest quickly said, "Don't ask Mom she doesn't get it..wait for Dad." So sad, but so very true!

Ben said...

I just found your blog and having been reading the posts....I practically cried laughing at this one. I can relate.