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Algebra. AGAIN?!?

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I have to admit.  I am a pretty good math teacher.  I do a pretty good job of breaking down more complex skills into manageable chunks.  But, let’s face it – I teach 4th grade (or 5th, depending on the year).  The most complicated I get is addition and subtraction of mixed numbers with unlike denominators.  And long division.  I give steps and alternate methods.  It works.

But, Monkey #1 is in 7th grade – and his math is now *gulp* algebra.  And I’m not talking the stuff I teach.  Stuff like 25 + x = 36.  That is a piece of cake!  He’s got stuff I haven’t seen in YEARS!  Like 32 years.  Tonight’s homework included this problem…

3x -21 = 5x -11

Not the hardest thing in the world – but not exactly the stuff I deal with on a daily basis.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed my Algebra classes.  There were steps.  And rules.  And order.  Besides, I love “crunching numbers.”  It’s fun!  But, I was in 10th grade the last time I took an algebra class!  One tends to forget how to do things like that.

To add to the fun, Monkey #1 has math anxiety.   I think it has something to do with his Asperger’s.  He gets frustrated so easily.  It’s like I have given him quantum physics!

His homework tonight was the type of stuff I remember doing in 9th grade – in Algebra I…not in 7th grade.  And he was in FULL Asparagus mode (asparagus is our code word for when he is being particularly Asperger-y).  So, not only was I having to reach into the far reaches of my brain to remember how to solve this particular type of equation  – I was also having to talk him off the math ledge.  Ahhhh!  Good times.  Good times.

Slowly the steps came back to me and we managed to work his way through his homework.  Don’t even get me started on the battle of “showing all your work.”  I just gave up on THAT.  Ok, Little Man.  You want to solve it all in your head?  Have at it.

Looks like I am going to have to start boning up on my advanced math skills.  This is only the beginning…

God help me…


About Susan D.

Single mother of three. Teacher. Amateur Jewelry Designer. Singer. Hack writer. Trying to keep sane - as well as I can.

6 responses »

  1. I feel for you. I stopped being able to help my sons with their math after the 6th grade. Now I am volunteering in a 3rd grade classroom and sometimes have to reteach their math. OMG! I’m learnign 3rd grade math all over again!

    • When I first started teaching, there were times I’d have to go home and teach myself how to do some of the skills, just so I could teach it the next day. Dividing fractions?!
      Middle Monkey is signed up for the “accelerated” math class starting next year. Basically, they do 3 years of math in 2, so that 8th grade is algebra 1. I’ll be in big trouble then!

  2. I feel you…Gene and I would attempt to help James and Emily, and it all looked diferent from when we learned it! Doesn’t help that the “method” changes every couple of years either. Sigh. Now when I help Claire, I will show her how to do something the way I learned )back in the Stone Age), and she will get confused. Urgh!!! I can’t even imagine tackling Algebra right now…and I made it to Advanced Calculus with ease!! Sigh,,,

  3. Ummm…what is the right answer?


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