Confession: Helping My Kids With Math Homework Is Just The Worst

I did not choose to become a teacher for a reason. That reason is that I am crap at explaining math.
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OK people, by show of hands (or I guess a "like" will do) — who here thinks math homework sucks? And I'm not talking about my own math homework, as I've been out of school for years. I (foolishly) thought I was done with math when I scraped through my required post-secondary statistics class but, nope, I had not factored in that when you have kids, you have to do math all over again. In the form of math homework.

And it is quite possibly less fun the second time around. When you pair Grade 6 math with a child who has no desire to do schoolwork after hours, you are setting the stage for a pretty crappy evening. So I thought I'd compile a list of five things that frustrate me most about math homework.

I have no idea how to do it

I was not great at math then, and I'm not great at it now. Besides that, my brain is pretty full with managing my family's schedules, my work, the supper menus, whose field trip money is due tomorrow, and generally just keeping everything on track.Whatever math I learned over the years (besides the basics) is filed quite deeply in my brain, not to be accessed without a full Google search followed by a moment of recollection. ("Oh yeah, now I remember! Sort of...") Yes, I have to learn how to do the math, first, before I have any hope of helping my daughter with her homework. I was in the clear until about Grade 3 ,but by Grade 4... Google.

A correct answer is not the goal

Well, not the whole goal, anyhow. If you can figure the question out in your head and just write the answer down, that is not "correct."Not all the way correct.You need to show your work. In multiple ways, oftentimes. So even if you are a math whiz, you will still need to spend an hour or two on that work sheet.Just writing. It. All. Out.

I really wish that math was math, and English was English.

Two words... word problems

Math sure has changed since I was a kid.You would think that since numbers and math are pretty much an absolute, that math would stay relatively the same. Nope.It's entirely different.

When I was young, you'd have all of the number questions at the top of the page, and the bottom of the page might include one or two word problems. Now it seems like almost all math questions are in a word problem.Anyone else notice that?So if you struggle in language, you will also struggle in math. And if you can't comprehend the question, the answer is as good as wrong, too.I really wish that math was math, and English was English.

It's not much fun

Not that everything has to be fun, of course, but I can think of about 20 different things off the top of my head that I'd rather be doing than a math worksheet right now. Cleaning the bathroom and taking out the garbage actually made the list. It's just so frustrating.

I'd prefer not to feel short-fused with my daughter after paying the world of math homework a visit. I'd rather be reading books together on the couch, playing a board game, watching our favourite show together, taking a walk or cuddled up talking about our day.Anything but math.

I am her mom, not her teacher

I try.I really try. I try explaining the math questions to her when she is unsure (after Googling them, of course).But then she looks at me, confused, because I can't explain it how her truly amazing teacher would. And we both shut down.

I did not choose to become a teacher for a reason. That reason is that I am crap at explaining math. I am likely making her more confused than ever as the evening wears on. I catch myself worrying that I'm actually making things worse for her.Sometimes, I think it could be less confusing for my girl if I weren't involved in her math homework to begin with — like at all.

That being said, I do get that having some work sent home is helpful from time to time just so that we know what she is learning at school and can see whether she is grasping it or not.Still, if we want our relationship to survive, I might just have to hire it out.

Anyone good at math?

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