When the Math Stops Adding Up

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2 wrongs still never make a right.

1 wrong plus 1 wrong equals 2 wrongs.

Maybe we need to go back to the basics and teach the simple things we assume most people already know. Common sense and decency are subjects that need to be revisited. They are not second nature. They are non existent. Maybe less math and more morality. Maybe more right and less justifying wrong. Just a thought on this Tuesday morning.

A Reason To Be Grateful

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We all need that one person who is always there in our time of need. Recently for me, that someone has come on the form of a seventeen year old girl who has been tutoring my son through algebra and now geometry. It’s amazing how one small person can make an enormous difference in someone’s life. Not only does she help him get through worksheets and exams but she takes a tremendous amount of stress and worry off my hands. So tonight, on this last day of November, I am grateful for this girl and hope she finds someone as reliable in her own life as she has been in ours. What are you grateful for tonight?

Can You Help?

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I need some help. I am really struggling with something so I thought I’d reach out and see if anyone has suggestions. I need to get my son the help he needs in school. The problem is, teachers are not being entirely honest because I am assuming they feel the need to protect themselves. I really do believe they think we are critiquing their ability to teach when we are struggling to understand Chases ability to learn. Here’s an example. When you look at his grades in algebra he has all b’s. This is a false representation of the truth because he has never gotten over a 67 on a test except for one which was a 77 after 10 points of extra credit. The teacher acted like she didn’t recall that and did not leave a note next to the grade indicating the 80 was a retake. Also, it was suggested by administrators that maybe Chase wasn’t putting in his best effort and we should expect him to get a b the first time. Otherwise, why bother trying when he can retake it. When he asked us why we thought he was capable the second time I explained when he does a retake, the teacher sits beside him and guides him through. She told me he does it all by himself and acted like she didn’t know what I was talking about. On the way to school, I asked him to tell me exactly what happens during a retake in math. He told me his teacher sits beside him and helps him through. When I asked if he ever took one in a seat away from her, he said no.

What do I do about that? How can I go up against people who do not care enough about a student to just tell it the way it is? How will we ever get what he needs if it appears he is doing just fine? I am devastated and in shock that someone would sit across a table and cover her own backside when she isn’t even on trial. It’s not about her. It is about helping him. Let me add that last year, his teacher used to send him home with a blank test because he couldn’t even do one problem independently  in class but I bet that isn’t on record anywhere either. And the nerve to pass it off as his lack of effort? I really need some advice. I am destroyed over this and this is just one example. I thought adults were honest. I thought I could trust teachers with the well being of my child and this is what we get? He deserves better. All our kids do.

Take a Walk

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I’ve been recognizing the need to just walk away. I mentioned earlier my new task of unbecoming who I am. There comes a time when you have to throw in the towel and step away. I am quiet by nature. I am one with the quiet and noise makes me feel absolutely crazy inside. I realized after spending too much time on homework once again, the incessant amount  of noise my son makes while attempting to do work is excruciating for me. Part of me knows all too well that if he would just sit quietly and do the work, it would take him a lot less time. He just doesn’t stop. If he’s not humming or singing then he’s probably talking out loud to himself. I decided to go for a short walk just to get away from the noise. I got about three houses down when I heard the screaming. There is a boy, high school age, who lives in that house. He too is always making noise. I realize even though we are all different, we each have a unique set of challenges. The boy is autistic and I often see and hear him standing by his mailbox waiting for the bus. He screams all day long and he always seems to be outside. It’s easy to think we are the only one in the world who gets frustrated or has to deal with problems but I was reminded tonight, that’s just not true. The important thing is how we deal with those problems. We can react the same way day after day or we can find a new solution along with some healthy coping mechanisms. Stepping away helps to see the turmoil that is going on inside. Sometimes it’s necessary to be a spectator in your own life. Only by standing to the side and observing from a distance can we really get a glimpse of the whole picture. There are some things we cannot change. We cannot fix everything we think needs fixing because to someone else, it may appear that nothing was ever really broken. So my advice tonight is that when you are feeling like you don’t have any control, step away and go for a walk. Put some distance between you and whatever it is that is driving you crazy. Give yourself permission to take a break and breathe in calm and exhale the rest. You are stronger than you think so start thinking differently.

What I Learned From Consecutive Integers

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As I was helping my son with his Algebra homework, something became very clear to me. I believe we make life more complex than it needs to be. We push beyond our limits and we lack the intelligence or the self control to stop and say enough is enough. 

Let me explain. Chase has a test tomorrow and they started a new section today that will be combined with two other sections to be included in the test. There were 12 problems and the progression of the problems went something like this:

1) The sum of 2 consecutive integers =45. Easy right? 

8) Find four consecutive odd integers whose sum is 56. Getting tricky…

12) Find three consecutive integers such that the sum of twice the smallest and 3 times the largest is 126. Forget it!

12 problems, so much knowledge and a test tomorrow!

We have got to slow down. We need to allow ourselves to grasp one thing in our lives before we are tripping over our own feet running to get to the next. This is why we miss the details and walk around in a fog asking “why did I walk into this room again?” We are not paying enough attention in this moment because our mind has us jumping ahead to the next. We cannot survive peacefully and happily if we continue to live like this and follow this path. For me, it didn’t start until I became an adult but our kids face it at an earlier and earlier age. Just another realization that jumped in my brain that I felt worthy to share. I don’t know, what are your thoughts? 

1+1 Will Never = 4

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Next time someone says something really stupid say this, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Hopefully that will be enough to change the subject.

It sounds silly I know, but often we forget that we do have a choice in the way we respond. We engage in lifelong conversations that always lead us to the same discouraging place. Think of it this way. If you were trying to get to a beautiful destination but every time you got in your car and drove the same route you ended up in a snowy wonderland, how many trips would it take you before you drove a different route? The same path always leads to the same place and if you want a different result you have to change the equation. Even I, who struggled in basic math, can see the simplicity in finding the right answer. 1+1 will never equal four regardless of the time and effort you put into trying and forcing it to be that way. To get a different outcome, plug in a different equation period. It’s that simple. Don’t resist change, embrace it. You can have a better life, but it starts with you. You+anything will always equal the answer. What will that something be? Choose wisely! I guess it depends on the answer you are really looking for.

9 Days

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9 days. That’s how long it took me to get a response to an email. Chase was learning slope in math and needless to say he was having a difficult time. He had a homework paper due the next day followed by a quiz. I emailed the teacher in hopes to bring it to his attention that Chase was having such a difficult time. I am terrible in math and we were at a swim meet until 9:00pm so by the time we sat down to help him he was frustrated almost to the point of tears. I told him to go to bed and I would email the teacher.

A lot can happen in 9 days. The world moves on, life moves on and the progression of math skills marches forward. Today, I finally got an apology from the teacher telling me he was behind on reading emails. Seriously? 9 days is a long time and if you ask a parent of a child who has slowly fallen more and more behind, I have a feeling most would agree. Let’s not forget that this is the second apology, the first one going something like this. Mrs. H, I am so sorry I missed the boat on our weekly emails(504), I promise it won’t happen again. That was several weeks ago and the last time I heard from him until today. We have to do better by these kids. Perhaps someone who cannot keep up with academic emails is too overburden by teaching to then coach extracurricular sports. I just don’t get it and it really makes me sad. What I’m the world is going on? I have sadly learned to accept this. I am not new to it at all. Only now, I do not let circumstances like this one rob me of my sanity. We are doing the best we can to bring him up to speed at home but it is clear, neither my husband nor myself are very good teachers.