The words I have come to fear most in life are these:
"MOMMMMMM... I need help with my math homework!!!" Savannah, my 6th grader urgently calls to me, night after night. Sometimes I stay where I am, hoping she'll figure it out on her own and leave me out of it, or at least if I'm quiet enough she'll think I've gone outside. I've already been through 6th grade, thank you very much, and once was enough.
Resigned to my fate, I trudge into the bedroom where Savannah sits scowling at the computer, and I peek over her shoulder to the screen to look at the problem: good old Number 22. Of course, it just has to be a story problem; it always is. Story problems and I had a parting of the ways 'round about 4th grade, and we've hated each other ever since. Who cares what "X" is, and why can't they just come out and tell you? In English they teach you to write succinctly, leaving out the fluff and including only the stuff that matters. Well, apparently X matters, so why not just give it to us straight instead of trying to confuse us?! The only "X" I ever liked was the X-Files, you know that great 90's show with FBI agents Scully and Mulder? Man I loved that show! Remember the episode where... Oops - I digress... Math does that to me.
After the sobbing (mine) subsides, I take another look at the problem.
"Okay, where's your book?"
"We don't have one. We just have to learn in class and then do the worksheet that's on the math website at home."
Well of course... what use would there be in sending a book home for students to learn from? And what, exactly, did I pay a "Textbook Fee" for when I handed over the many hundreds of dollars it took to register my kids for their "free" public education a mere four weeks ago?
Sighing, I read the problem again, grabbed a notebook, and stole Savannah's pen. I put myself in time-out in the kitchen and gave myself a pep talk: "Okay Tracy - You are a grown woman! You have a brain in your head, now use it! You are an English major, and you are not going to be scared by a wimpy little consonant on a piece of paper!" Within a few minutes, I figured it out, then went in and taught Savannah how to do it.
I am so pumped up right now, I feel like I could take on a polynomial or two, or at least a little long-division. OH YEAH, BABY. BRING IT ON!!!