Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cramming for the Next Time

Yesterday, I couldn't help my 4th grade son resolve a word problem.  Now granted, it was on fractions and it was a word problem, but I have to admit, I thought I'd still be something of an asset at least until actual middle school.  

My older children long since lapped me in academics.  They're doing cool down runs around the track and waving me bravely on as I try to just finish the assignments. They've been very supportive but they don't ask me for help anymore.

But I'm not going down without a fight.  I'm not ready to resign myself to 3rd grade and down just yet.  So last night after I had to surrender to my oldest son as the tutor for the fractions, I took out the Handy Book of Space Answers, Everything You Ever Needed To Know about History, and my statistics book from graduate school. All three are subjects I completely stink at, and avoided as much as possible when they were actually required.

Effective immediately, I will assign myself 20 minutes of one of the three every night before bed, sort of like intellectual calisthenics. I predict my occasional bouts of insomnia shall soon be a permanent thing of the distant past.

In the meantime, I hear my son's teacher for first grade is beefing up her curriculum so I'm boning up on fractions, phonics and Venn Diagrams. 

P.S. If you are curious, the question that stumped me is: A pet store has 1/3 dogs, 1/6 cats and 19 other pets.  How many animals are in the pet store?  Yeah. I know how to do it now. 

My return question: A mom has a brain.  1/3 is allotted to remembering children and their schedules.  1/6 handles autonomic functions.  19 other separate urgent fields of important stuff like what's for dinner, what I need to do today, the courage to practice driving with my son, how to potty train the 3 year old and when the bills are due.  How many slots of memory are left to fill with 4th grade math recall and will I still have space to remember where I put my purse if I relearn this stuff?


Heidi Saxton said...

I hear you ... just finished the Basic Certification test, and spend two months rediscovering algebra.

But now I'm feeling dumb. 1/3 plus 1/6 equals 1/2 (2/6 plus 1/6). So that means there 58 animals (29 plus 29). Shouldn't the answer have been a number you could divide evenly into thirds, since you can't have a fraction of an animal?

Maybe I'm over thinking this... probably am.

Heidi Saxton said...

Oops. That "58" should have been "38." ut the comment stands... can't divide the number evenly by three!

Barb, sfo said...

I was laid low the other day by a SECOND-GRADE word problem.

Guess that's why my M.A. is in English.


Did we do problems this complicated in elementary school? I don't remember it, but maybe I've just blanked it out.

Sherry said...

The answer is 38, but that does mean that yes, there is an oddity about that pet shop.

Because 1/6 of 38 is 6.333333 and 1/3 of 38 is 12.66666 so there is a mutant cat with 1/3 more cat and a mutant dog with 2/3rds more dog or we'll just round down and up and say 6 cats, 13 dogs.

I had overthunk too because I thought we were dealing with whole animals.

But you would think a math problem would be sans fractions if they were dealing with dogs and cats at least, rather than say...apples and oranges.

MightyMom said...

My kindergartener was doing word probs!! And I know they weren't introduced till much later wheni was young!

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