The Perils of 4th Grade Math

math_symbolsLet me start this post by saying I don’t hate math.  I use math every day.  I use math when I cook (fractions, anyone!).  I use math at work.  I use math when I go to the grocery store.  I like math.  I took lots of math classes in college.  I don’t hate math.

But 4th grade math?  Yeah, I hate 4th grade math with the fire of a thousand burning suns.

Or rather, I hate having to explain 4th grade math to my 4th grade son.

Part of it is a major change in how math is taught now; making it royally confusing for us parents.  Part of it is not remembering the steps in how to do it in the first place.  But the biggest challenge for me is staying calm when my son is frustrated which makes me frustrated and then everyone’s not learning anything.

Really, there should drinking games for mothers who have to deal with 4th grade math.  Or at least a support group.

I’ve been leaving most of the math homework up to my spouse to check, review, and tutor.  Which has its own set of issues.  Predominately that he doesn’t walk through the door most nights until dinner time.  It’s not exactly the best time for him (or our son) to be diving into math.  Everyone’s tired at that point.

In our Parent Teacher Conference this week, it was obvious that our son does well in math.  He masters the subject. Eventually.  But he takes longer than the other kids to grasp the concept. He needs extra time at home to be able practice the concepts.  Which means we need to carve out extra time to make sure that he can practice at home.  Which also means that if I don’t get a handle on 4th grade math, I’m gonna either need an Anger Management course or check myself into AA.

I wasn’t joking about that drinking game.

I’ve been pulling my hair out for years trying to help my son with math.  I’d bet money that in a year I can re-title this post “The Perils of 5th Grade Math.”

Like Divisibility Rules.  Do you remember Divisibility Rules?  I’m sure I learned them at some point.  I just don’t know when.

Or Prime Factorization?  Hell, I couldn’t have told what prime factorization meant to save my life.

Thank heavens we live in a high tech world.  I’ve found lots of free internet worksheets to help with the more simpler math concepts.  We’ve been watching Khan Academy videos for the more complex ones.  It’s helped us all stay calm.  He can watch the video more than once, do practice sessions, and not have to deal with his mother breathing down his neck.  I can make dinner and pretend that he’s getting his own private tutor… one that he doesn’t call “mom.”  It’s a win-win situation.

I still hate 4th grade math.  But at least I know that my son won’t hate me because of it.

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