Count me out

GRIN # 129

It’s official.

I have given up assisting my first grader with math. Kind of at the request of his teacher. I am confusing Tyler and making things worse. My helping is not, well, helping.


I hate homework now more than I did when I was in school.

Well, not all homework is equal. I really hate the math. Really, really, really.

And, if I’m being honest, (and I’d love to write a real column about this, but I’d just be bludgeoned by teachers everywhere) I think kids get too much homework.

There. I said it. My opinion. I”m not an educator, and I know there are all kinds of state requirements that administrators and teachers have to teach to and meet and it’s stressful and political and they’re doing the best they can. I understand that. But it doesn’t change my opinion.  The kids are there seven hours a day. And I think that’s enough. In a lot of private schools, they don’t have homework. They learn what they need to learn in class. Git ‘er done.

I know. Very unpopular.

Here’s what finally soured me: the extra credit math questions that come home every week. In FIRST GRADE.

Here’s one:

Q. Julia spent 1/3 of her birthday money. Then she lost 1/2 of the rest. She now has $10 left. How much did she get for her birthday?

A: Not enough?

Q: Mary has three skirts, two blouses, and either black or white shoes that she likes to wear to school. How many days can she go without repeating the same combination of skirt, blouse and shoes?

A: Maybe Mary is sick and will be out that week and when she returns, there will be school uniforms; what about that?

Those are the kinds of questions that almost kept me out of college–twice.

When my brain encounters a word problem it says: “I. Will. Not. Do. This. Abort. Abort.”

Maybe it’s because I didn’t get enough homework.

Yes, I realize I just contradicted myself. That I get.

The extra credit, not so much.

Not at all.


7 Responses to “Count me out”

  1. I’m willing to bet the amount Julie got for her birthday that the teacher wouldn’t agree with my answer for the second word problem.

    The teacher is going to say the answer is 12 (3 skirts * 2 blouses * 2 pairs of shoes = 12 unique outfits), when it’s really at least 24 (3 skirts * 2 blouses * 2 LEFT shoes * 2 RIGHT shoes) = 24 outfits. The problem doesn’t say you can’t mix and match the shoes, even if common sense would dictate otherwise. I say at least 24 because I won’t even include going barefoot in this example.

    • Andy, that is amazing that your mind even works that way. To make it more “fun,” let’s throw in the variable that you can’t wear white shoes until after Memorial Day and up until Labor Day.

  2. Madness. This sounds like something we see from our son’s school, called “Math Stars.” I might have been able to do those problems when I was taking 12th grade calculus, but not after 25 years without using those skills. I can’t believe elementary school kids are doing these problems, although it’s a positive sign that they can. But my wife and I are flummoxed.

  3. My math homework nightmares are so bad, I don’t even think I will attempt it w/ Emma!! My dad would break the erasers off of the pencils and throw them across the room b/c he made me so nervous I couldn’t even add 2 and 2!! I was scared sh**less!!
    You are right though… too much homework for this age. We have been lucky so far. Hate’n it for ya girl!

  4. Here in Hazzard County, they don’t give the kids homework… When we asked why, the teacher told us that most of the parents can’t help the elementary school kids with their homework anyway, so it is pointless to send any home… Aah… the joys of rural North Carolina!

    (This is the same school that didn’t bother to call us when our tween showed up to school in a bra and a zip-up sweat shirt jacket after ditching her shirt in the woods on the way to the bus. Apparently, the shirt didn’t show her “hotness”. Silly child… There is NOTHING hot about a 12-year-old… Okay… I have managed to go totally off-topic.)

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