Easy As 1, 2, 3

posted by Momo Fali on September 11, 2008

When I recently took a job as a teacher’s aide, I stipulated that I could never assist in a classroom above second grade. Why? Because I wouldn’t be able to handle the math.

When I was in the eighth grade, I was in an advanced math class. I don’t know how I got there, but I do know that any skill I had in the numbers department ended in that class. Not only that, but it seems my brain went through some sort of regression in the summer before high school. Once I started ninth grade, algebra seemed as easy as studying metaphysics…in Latin.

This did not lead to a stellar academic path. My grades were excellent in anything involving language arts, journalism and communications, but by my senior year I was taking “College Prep Math” which was taught by the football coach.

People mostly referred to the class as “College Football Math”, though that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The goth girls and burn-out’s who sat around me didn’t know offense from defense.

Now, I have a fourth grader who is bringing home real math homework and who is participating in something called the Metric Olympics at her school. Last year, she memorized her multiplication tables in no time flat, and would finish timed-tests so quickly that I think she once gave herself a pedicure before the next kid turned in his paper.

That’s my girl! She’s a regular chip off the old block. Her father, that is. I may be bad with numbers, but I’m smart as a whip.

I married a math major.

    Comments

  • Melisa


    You ARE smart! šŸ™‚

    And I have to tell you that when I was a Junior I got a D in Algebra II (actually, I know I failed it because I needed an “A” on the final to pass the class and I couldn’t even answer all the problems: my teacher took pity on me and passed me). I didn’t feel right about moving on to the next level, so I retook the class, taught by our football coach. Got a “B”. Although I have always thought he was a really good teacher because I finally understood those concepts, after reading your post I took pause to wonder if it was a good class afterall.

    But after thinking for a minute, yes, I’m still happy with it. I can (mostly) assist my kids with higher level math…so I guess that coach did just fine! LOL

  • kaila


    I sucked so bad at math that I got a “D” my first semester Algebra in college. Glutton for punishment, I took the same class again the second semester – even had the same professor. What did I get the second time around? An “F”.

  • Geeks in Rome


    I know what you’re saying! I almost failed adding and subtracting mixed fractions in middle school… thank God I married an engineer so I can pass off the kids’ future math homework onto him!!

  • Sadia


    LOL. I was smart in the same way – I married an athlete, and our daughters have some hope of growing up coordinated and active.

    I’ve always loved numbers, so much so that I decided not to be a math major, since you get away from numbers pretty quickly. I was a math tutor through grad school and am convinced that no one (barring developmental issues) is bad at math; there are no bad math students, only bad math teachers. Now, appreciating literature is completely different. Some people just don’t see the point in worrying about what fictional people feel, think or do.

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    For me it was geometry. Oh, how I hated geometry. And the teacher with the big bat wings that came with it. My dad was a Rocket Scientist. A real one. He never could understand how he could have a child labeled “gifted” who could not work a protractor. Ugh – those are some bad memories!

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    Zoe is sadly following the path that will lead her to Football Math. She’s got a mental block!

    It’s very frustrating.

  • Mama Dawg


    Yeah, mine is a math whiz as well…the kid, I mean.

    I was good at math until 8th grade. Then I sucked. Then I had straight A’s in college math.

    Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

  • Valerie


    Hi, I really enjoy your blog–I can’t remember how I found it. I think it was from bossy.com.

    Anyway. I was always good at math and because I didn’t know what to do with my life, I majored in it too. But now…I’m 16 years removed from college and I don’t remember anything. I forgot it all. When I look at a Calculus book, it looks like Greek to me! Also, despite the math major, I’ve NEVER been good at splitting a restaurant bill.

  • LaskiGal


    Ha! I’m with ya sistah!

    I got an A in trig. Why? I was dating a brainiac.

    I worried my future children would have challenges like their mama.

    So what did I do?

    I married him šŸ™‚

  • meleah rebeccah


    Well… If it makes you feel any better I cant add 2 + 2 with a calculator.

    My 12 year old son is in charge of all things mathematical.

  • Walking With Scissors


    This is yet another reason why I believe that we are twins separated at birth. I was in advanced English in school. I always kicked ass on anything involving essays or long answers. Math and physics? Not so much. So I took matters into my own hands and married an accountant. Now, regardless of the type of homework they bring home, my kids will have at least one parent who knows enough to help them. Wahoo! šŸ™‚

  • AlisonH


    When I turned 18, now that I could, I got my high school counselor to hand over all my school records and let me look them over. I found that I’d done math several grades ahead of my own all the way up till 7th grade, and then…poof. I could do 7th grade in 7th grade and by high school was barely handling the minimum. I knew how frustrated I’d been at it.

    I read a study recently where they said the part of the brain that handles math matures a little later in girls than boys, more like around 20, 21: which would explain why the required math in my college major was such a bear, but then somehow the last year it suddenly hit me that I could do this, that this was no longer the struggle it had been.

    So I guess the moral is, if your bright-at-math daughter struggles later, it’s temporary.

  • Stella


    My husband is all about the math. LOVES it!!

    I, on the other hand, was in Finite Math my senior year of high school and I couldn’t tell you a single thing we did. Well, no, not true. I handcuffed myself to one of the desks with another girl’s toy handcuffs. We then discovered that the brain surgeon that she was, she didn’t have the key. We had to take the desk apart.

    That was senior math.

    I could write you a book, but I couldn’t count how many words are in it!

  • the planet of janet


    that is, of course, the PERFECT answer!

  • Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children


    You ARE a genius!

  • Amy


    My daughter brings home her 8th grade algebra and asks me for help. I tell her to email her grandma, the math professor!

  • Kori


    So that’s where I went wrong! The first time I got married, he was a guy who worked at McD’s.

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    Math–why does a blonde need to worry about numbers šŸ˜‰

  • Heather


    I was on the math team in elementary school, but after that struggled to maintain a C average. My daughter is currently taking geometry and has NO problems. Which is lucky for her, because I couldn’t help her if she needed it.

  • A Shade Of Scorpio


    Well then! I know where to send MY fourth grader on a week daily basis!!!

  • Tom


    That worked out very well for you, didn’t it?

  • Mz. Nesbit


    sounds like your kids are getting the best of both brain hemispheres!

  • holly


    math. pthththth. what has math ever done for us? i’ll tell you. nothing but trouble. math is at the root of *all* our problems.

  • Mr Lady


    If I can stay for dinner, I’ll come help her with her homework.

  • Shamelessly Sassy


    I have a dirty,dirty love for math.

  • Jenny from Mommin' it Up!


    my dad is a math teacher. God knew i needed that, cause I was a chip off the OTHER block – my mom. only way i made it thru algebra 2 and trig was that my dad helped me every day! I don’t even know why I took trig! craziness i guess! it was torture.

  • debbi/kurtsmom


    The monkeys and the man do math like it is some happy day party. I go outside and pretend I did not birth them.

  • DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM


    I am exactly the same way. I excel in language, english, literature, etc. but Math is just impossible for me. My Ladybug LOVES Math though, and is good at it. I’m pretty sure she was switched at birth.

  • MammaDawg


    LOL – you ARE smart!

    Me – I would’ve been smart, if I could’ve just kept out of trouble. I’ve no idea how I could’ve had so many advanced classes and ended up missing so many days of school, I had to make it up in night school.

    Okay, maybe I do know.

    Thank GOD my eldest isn’t following in my footsteps!

  • Heidi


    My son brought me his homework to check tonight (4th grade) and after staring at it dumbfounded for about 5 minutes I told him checking homework was a “dad duty”. šŸ™‚ Can’t let him know that I didn’t know what the heck he was supposed to do! šŸ™‚

  • LiteralDan


    To best complement my deficiencies, I should have married a rich girl.

    I was not blessed with that kind of foresight, but I’m glad you we able to flesh out your parental portfolio. I married someone pretty much exactly like me in almost every way, so I guess you could say we are just Us to the max!

  • Jaina


    Lol, getting a hysterical mental image of a pedicure during a math test.

  • O My Blog!


    I married a Math major too! Helps when sales come up and I can’t figure things out.
    He hates shopping with me šŸ™‚

  • Erin


    I was never good in math and am now struggling when i sit down to help my 4th grader with her’s. it’s all in the way they teach things now. I’ll start showing her one way to do a problem and she’ll say…”that’s not how we were taught to do it”. Talk about frustrating! But we manage to work it out using her methods and some of mine.

  • Kimmylyn


    I am the WORST at math.. thankfully my husband has that part .. it is yet to be determined where the kids will fall.. I am praying they get their father’s brain.. my is shot..has been forever really.

  • Jo Beaufoix


    I am exactly the same a you with Maths. I hate it and have no confidence even though I’m actually fine. I loved my English and Art classes though, but no one gives you cups and prizes for English. Boo.

    Leave a Comment

    Your email is never shared.
    Required fields are marked *