Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Today's rant.

No other terms than unconditional & immediate surrender. Ulysses S. Grant.

At what point do you admit defeat? How much is too much & where is the line between need & insanity? When is enough enough?

It has taken 12 months but Dearest has finally pulled the plug on me. He has watched the tears, the tantrums, the sheer frustration of dragging a child against her will where she has no intention of going & boy do I know what's going on in her little red head because she is me some thirty odd years ago! Enough. My problem, so Dearest tells me, is that I don't like to be defeated by anything. He could be

Ring the umbrella school, Dearest tells, not him, & do something about this. It took a week. I am so non~confrontational even when I know I'm right. I got over debating in High School. I don't like rocking boats & I needed some measure of mental stamina ~ hard given my mind is rather taken up with other things just now.

Eventually I managed an e~mail & explained that Ditz has completely plateaued out. Math is going absolutely nowhere except maybe backwards. She is not learning. She is not retaining information. She is actively engaged in sabotaging her math. Every lesson we had to backtrack, go over & over the process & for what? Ditz is not going to use this math. Trust me on this one. I've never used it in my life either.

I want, I explained, a Math for Dummies curriculum. Basic math. Everyday math. Math Ditz will, & does, use in real life. The child does not need to learn how much fuel to put in her Lear jet. That's what the pilot is for. She should probably be able to work out if she has enough money for fuel to get her car from A to B. Then again her mother doesn't. Intuition is a wonderful thing & rarely fails me ~ or at least fails me far less often than my math does.

I've heard all the arguments, ad infinitum, about what good training for the brain math is ~ but that's assuming you are actually using your brain & I can assure you Ditz is not. I have heard how it helps you think outside the box. If Ditz thought any further outside the box she'd be airborne. Logic? Strategy? Math hasn't helped so far so I don't see that one changing any time soon.

This is the sort of thing that has the anti~homeschoolers howling after homeschooler's blood. So shoot me. I went to public school. I also went to a very elite private girls' school. My math is barely to a third grade level & Ditz's is much, much better than that ~ & guess who taught her?!

The unpalatable truth is you cannot teach someone who refuses to learn. I mean, I loved math class. I got in so much extra reading because so long as I was quiet & non~disruptive no~one cared that I never actually did any math. I distinctly remember the last math exam I ever sat. There were 25 questions to make a percentage out of 125. I got 25% because I *attempted* each question. In other words I wrote something but I didn't do a single sum or get a single sum right. I didn't care then & care even less now. Frankly I'm surprised we got this far before hitting the wall but now we have hit the wall.

So I'm a mathematical moron! Then how come I can stand in the checkout handing money back to the public schooled cashier because she has given me too much change & she really should double check? I've lost count of the number of times this has happened. These kids must be costing their employers a fortune!

I don't know how Ditz does math. I never have. It's visual, concrete & mental. I don't think she knows either but give the child a sheet of music & she knows how the fractions work. Give her a recipe & she can double or triple it without thinking twice. She has worked out [without the calculator] how long it will take her to save an air fare to England on her current pocket money [not any time soon!]. She understands, far better than I do, how math actually works but she has absolutely no interest in it for interest's sake. It only becomes interesting if there is a dollar sign in front of the number & she's got it in cold hard cash but if she needs it she knows how to work her math out.

I don't recall the child ever expressing a desire to be an engineer or an architect or a quantum physicist. She really doesn't need algebra or geometry to toot a flute or sing like a canary ~ whether she participates or teaches music. What she does need is to know how to balance her cheque book, how to asses her bank statement, enter into a financial contract without getting ripped off, work out a budget & live within her means ~ something far too many people don't have a clue about.

Why on earth do we fill our kid's heads with abstract math & leave them to founder in a financial morass as adults, in debt up to their eyeballs & mortgaged to the hilt. I can't remember the figures for our personal national debt [how much everyone owes on their credit cards, debit cards & loans] but it's in the millions, probably billions. Does that not strike anyone but me as just a little insane?

Oh, so, there is no Math for Dummies curriculum ~ & no, I'm not writing one! The school is doing something up for us. Heaven alone knows what. Will Ditz be happy? Probably not. Will she be able to do it? Probably. Another year & we can ditch the stuff completely & we will be perfectly o.k with that because bottom line: Ditz has tried her best but the reality is God did not make her with a higher math gene & we will all be better off & happier if we just accept that fact & move on. Moving right along here...


Allison said...

I think one US state now requires a financial awareness seminar. What good is it to know percentages but not know enough to calculate that buying a $4 coffee on credit and paying off only the monthly minimums will end up costing $8? Or $16?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ganeida,
I have often wondered why we need to study Algebra, especially when my husband and I haven't used it since leaving school, but our whole school maths curriculum this year is Algebra. It appears that we will need it for science in the next couple of years.

So far, they are understanding it, and I praise God for that, for it's His wisdom and guidance that's helping them get through it, as I didn't even do Algebra at school. :P

I'm sure that Ditz will get along just fine without it, especially as she has so many other skills.

Ganeida said...

Lol Jillian: Ditz is angling to ditch science as well. I figure we don't need the math to do biology & marine biology ~ no chemistry & no physics. Again I did general science all the way through. I was arts/humanities oriented & had issues with the biology course. You know, things that were once living & now weren't. EEEEW!!!! I can hardly be surprise by Ditz's orientation.

Allison: Liddy did a course like that & it was really good. Looked at things like comparing phone plans & the catches in each one; getting a car loan; renting an apartment; buying a car; bank interest rates & credit. She is really financially aware. Oh, & she homeschooled for this course. :) She is also a really good saver & has no debt while most of her peers seem to be living on credit. I don't understand that one. It costs a fortune in the long run.

Mrs. C said...

God bless you! If Ditz were in public school, they'd have "differentiated" her instruction and we both know it. So she'd get really, really easy math and they would probably assume she doesn't know jack squat in the other subjects, too.

You're doing the right thing, homeschooling her. She has some areas of brilliancy. Tell her I said HI and hang in there!!

Ganeida said...

Oh MrsC! It is so frustrating but I know Ditz is just like me. Tutoring would be a waste of time & money because Ditz herself has quit. Ask her to memorize Shakespheare, which I couldn't do now for love or money, & she will nail it in a day or two; ditto even really difficult music; she gets the grammar I'm clueless about; she will do one rehearsal & nail this concert but her brain just isn't wired for higher math. I know she is restricting her choices early but God seems to have given her clearly defined gifts that Ditz is happy to work with & it just seems foolish to me to constantly try to swim against the current because in the long run it will make no appreciable difference.

Molytail said...

Aw but you *should* write one! *grin* Hahaha. Cuz y'know, you've got so much free time on your hands. :-P

There are some people out there who'd have canaries at what you've said, but I get it. (I bet ya can guess why LOL) ...Ditz is very nearly in high school, yes? It's not as if you're talking about a little grade one kiddo here (more of an unwritten book) - she only has a few years left of school and it makes complete sense to me that you would focus on the math that she *needs*, rather than trying to drag her through more 'advanced' math that would leave her frustrated & confused.

seekingmyLord said...

You already know what I think on this one. I have tutored math and, as much as I love it, I also recognize that higher math is not necessary to daily life. Finances are far, far more important!!

Persuaded said...

what about a "consumer math" course? at least i think that's what they are called...mainly just stuff like balancing checkbooks, figuring out discounts and that sort of thing. would that work for ditz do you think?

i really am no help at all... amelia basically went through high school and managed to learn next to nothing math-wise. what little she learned she has forgotten already, one year later. i took four years of math in public school and can remember even less, so there;)

Ganeida said...

Moly: You wait girl! You are only a year or so behind me & I suspect your fun & games haven't even begun yet!

seeking: If I wanted a reaction I posted in the wrong place. ;P On the other hand I dislike being eaten alive by people who think they know better than I do how to fix somethinmg that is only really a problem to the people who think we should be something other than what we are.

Diane: you made my point very nicely & in far fewer words! I remember no math I learned in school. I basically had to relearn math to function in daily life & that is all the math I know. Knowing this I'm looking for a saner approach.

Sandra said...

I was not good at math. I am good at arithmetic. There is a difference. My husband was a math guy, but he ended up dealing with arithmetic! I'm feeling the pain, but you move through it and get on. Poor Ditz, poor Ditz's mama. : )

Anonymous said...

Oh, you poor sausages!! I feel for you and hope you manage to get a resolution that suits you both before you lose it completely. I failed advanced math because I did all my trigonometry calculations in my head (and got the right answers, I might add) but couldn't (or couldn't be bothered) regurgitate it all onto paper. I was banished to ordinary math which bored me silly and I neither recall nor care anything about the difference between simple and compound interest. To me, so much depends on interest level and grasping the basic principles (I am convinced that I would not have been kicked out of the top math strand in my fist year or high school if someone had just told me what the distributice and associative laws of algebra actually _did_. I went to a small, 'special' primary school. I'd never met algebra before! I just hope that now, 35 years later, kids are prepared better for high school than we were.

Rant over; back to work...


Mrs. C said...

Meh, who said hiring a tutor? I just meant to fudge that area and call it good. If she can add, subtract, etc. good enough, right? :]

Jan Lyn said...

Hmmm...I was not granted that higher math gene either. I passed my kids off to hubby for math beginning at grade 7 or 8. Oh, I could do it if that was ALL I did all evening, every evening preparing. I agree, if one is not going into a math oriented field, practical math is what is needed. Give yourself both a big hug and press on. We switched to Teaching Textbooks......much easier now by the way.