If It’s Not Popcorn Math, It’s Fuzzy Math

Today my first grader asked me to help her with her math homework. After staring at it for about five minutes, I had to tell her to ask her dad for help when he got home.

Wow. Pathetic.

I knew this would eventually happen. I have even admitted to my blogging public that most math is pretty fuzzy to me (see “Lock Your Doors“). But I expected to maybe make it to AT LEAST fourth grade math concepts before I needed to start turning over that portion of homework help to my enginerd husband. Maybe?

I suck at mathAside from being a tad embarrassed at myself, I am also incredibly impressed with the curriculum at my daughter’s school. Believe it or not, I remember a fairly good chunk of my own first grade experience, thanks to an incredibly cruel joke God played on me by blessing me with a brain that is a steel trap for most things useless (like the theme song to the 80’s television show Small Wonder) but a leaky sieve for genius-making material (like algebra). And from what I remember, things were pretty basic. I have very intense flashbacks to staring at a red felt grid, taking tiny popcorn kernels out of old margarine containers, and placing them in various columns to find the sum. My daughter brought home a worksheet on mode and range. Seriously? Granted, once my enginerd hubby told…um, reminded me what mode and range were, I could see that it would fall into the realm of concepts my daughter could understand. But the fact that she was sitting there having a discussion with her dad using those words, mode and range, while I am sitting here still trying to remember what you call the two numbers you add together to find a sum, well, it blows my mind a little. Apparently, I couldn’t even handle popcorn math.

(And speaking of other first grade memories, I wrote about one of my favorites in an earlier blog post. And it is a lot more entertaining than popcorn math. Two words: Michael Jackson.)

There are no big revelations here. Really this incident has just served to reinforce what I, every math teacher I ever had, and my dad (a.k.a. my math tutor and also an enginerd) already know: calculators were invented for people like me.