Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grrr...


My oldest appears to have brain damage.  Two days ago he knew x^1/2= sq.rt x, and now he doesn't.  He knew this months ago - what's up with that?

(sorry, I need to figure out how to do math equations when blogging - suggestions anyone?)

Also, he will come to me with a blank sheet of paper saying "I need help with my math"  before he has looked at his problems, or even dated his paper.  He gets mad when I tell him that he should at least copy the original problem before he comes to me for help.

This morning he came to me to ask for help doing the review (REVIEW!) problems at the end of a chapter that in itself is supposed to be review.  I was asking what I thought was a simple rhetorical question to talk him through the solution.
His answer?  "I don't know"
Another simple question from me. 
Not even pausing to think a moment, "I don't know". 
Really?  OK.  "Have you read the chapter?"
"No." 
Aghhh! 

My final response was "Go re-read the chapter.  Find a similar problem.  Work through it.  Try the original problem again.  Come to me if you still don't understand."

I am finally empathizing with all those irritating people who tell me "I could never do that" when they learn we homeschool.  Usually I just smile and say, "It's not for everyone" when what I really mean is "If you wanted to homeschool you could, but it's fine that you don't want to."  Yes.  I'm that awful and pompous, but hopefully only in my head.

It's kind of like when I had only one child.  He was a sweet quiet child.  He had a mellow temperament and made friends easily.  He never bit anyone (but me), didn't pick fights, didn't scratch his privates in public, you know... he appeared to be a near perfect child.   I thought to myself, "If everyone parented like me, they too could have a child as lovely as this."  (To all those who had to stand next to me when I was thinking these pretentious thoughts, I'm sorry.  Really, really, sorry)

Then I had a second child.  Oh. My. God.  From the beginning this child was different.  He was colicky.  He was intense.  He was not mellow.  He was not easy. He hit and bit and cried - a lot.  Nothing I did changed his temperament.  I learned something I would have never known had I had only one child.  My first child was easy.  My second child was not.  It was that simple.

Now they've both grown.  My second child is 11.  He is still intense, and the most intorverted person I know (and that's saying something).  He is also sweet, kind, and sensitive.  He is empathetic and insightful enough that, to the gullible, he seems psychic.  He is now almost an "easy" child.

My oldest is 14.  He is moody, withdrawn, and not all that interested in pleasing anyone who isn't a teen.  Little I do pleases him.  My existence is, honestly, an embarrassment.  There are so many things wrong with his life right now.  He is furious that we would take family holidays but not spend $300 to buy him a program he wants.  (We have given him the option of working for pay to get it, but that's not appealing apparently.)  His brothers breath near him.  Right now, he's not an easy child, and I need bonus points for letting him live some days.

Sometimes you have an easy child, sometimes you don't.  Sometimes homeschooling is easy, sometimes it isn't.  It's that simple. 

Also - we've created a new acronym - SYW. 
Really. 
Show Your Work.
I say this everyday.  Everyday.  But does he do it?
No...sigh.. no he doesn't.  "I don't need to, the answer is obvious."
 Riiight... how did you get the wrong answer then? 

See me not strangling him?  Good on me.


5 comments:

Sue VanHattum said...

There is no easy way to show math online. If you ever write math in Word, you can take screen shots and post those as photos. I hear it's easier on Wordpress blogs than on Blogger. If all you want is a superscript for a power, you can use angle brackets (aka less than and greater than symbols) around sup. That's an html commend and you end it by using it again with a /before the sup. But I don't know an easy way to get the square root symbol.

I know you have a lot on your plate, but maybe he's acting helpless because the book he's using doesn't help him really 'get' it. If you want to talk about other possibilities, maybe I could help. If that sounds good, email me for my phone number.

April said...

Thanks Sue. I prefer to think he's acting helpless to piss me off. ;-P

But yes, I think there's an element of not getting it. We switched from Math-u-See to Art of Problem Solving for that reason. Until today it seemed better. I *really* think reading the chapter and working the sample problems would help, but that's just so... parental of me.

April said...

Thanks Sue. I prefer to think he's acting helpless to piss me off. ;-P

But yes, I think there's an element of not getting it. We switched from Math-u-See to Art of Problem Solving for that reason. Until today it seemed better. I *really* think reading the chapter and working the sample problems would help, but that's just so... parental of me.

Sue VanHattum said...

I've heard really good things about Art of Problem Solving. But I know that they're geared to 'good' math students. Could be he's just not ready for what the book is offering. Does aops have an online class for this that he could join?

Paula said...

When I homeschooled Robert, math was our worst subject...I say our because we would argue over things like "show your work" and "that's not the way it's done." There were many high stress moments.
Sometimes, I don't think it was about the math at all. Looking back, I think it was a young teen going trough some emotional growth spurt. Shortly after (say 3 months...) I realized that he had listened to me. He started showing his work...and flaunted it as if it was the way he did it all along... He is still at the teen stage where he wants my input but doesn't want my input. I figure underneath much of the teen attitude is a young man, working hard to become independent.