I Am NOT Smarter Than A 5th Grader

I knew this day would come, I just didn’t think it would come so soon.  Zaphod has been spotty on his math assignments; some, he’s in the 80′ and 90’s, some, he gets a failing grade on.  We had been trusting him to complete his homework on his own, because he had always done so well in the past.  Recently, he’d been getting more frequent failing grades, so we told him that he had to have us check his homework every night.

Last night was my first night of checking his math homework.  I found several errors and worked him through the proper analysis to correct them.  I made sure every answer was correct.

He got his worst grade of the year on that one.  A couple of questions were ones he HAD right, and I made him change them.  How embarrassing.

I’m afraid he’s almost beyond my help, and that’s scary.  He’s in 5th grade, learning concepts I swear I was taught in the 9th grade, and that was almost 30 years ago.  I work with algebraic problems every day, but in the programming language I use, I tell the computer what order of operations I want by manipulating parentheses.  I’ve plum forgotten how they work without them. 

I’m afraid if I try to help my son, I’ll do more harm than good.  I have to totally leave him at the mercy of the teacher.  She’s a great teacher, but I’ve always had the philosophy that Lintilla and I are the ones in charge of our children’s education, and the teachers were subcontractors.  Now, we are almost totally out of the picture.  It’s really, really hard to let go.

However, Zaphod is absolutely knocking English and Literature out of the park.  He’s excelling in French, and has a perfect score for the year in science.  He’s a GREAT student.  I just don’t know if he’s as advanced in math as they think he is.  And, I’ve learned I’m not as good at math as I thought I was.

Trillian is the exact opposite.  The girl is an absolute math whiz.  She’s taking advanced math, and has a 99 for the year.  I watch her doing her homework, and math seems effortless for her.  I think her problem last year is that they weren’t challenging her enough. 

You know the cliche: girls are supposed to be more verbal?  Well, Trillian struggles (if you can call scoring in the 80’s struggling) in English and Reading – the exact opposite of her brother.  She DOES however, excel in science, as well as math.  We’re working to help her with her verbal skills (her mom was an English major).  We’ll get her somewhat proficient, and that’s OK.  But with math and science, she has a gift.  It’s a joy to watch.

Maybe Zaphod could help her with English, and she could help him with math.  But first, I’d have to get them to quit fighting long enough to get their homework done.

However, I just can’t get over the fact that I, in effect, turned in 5th grade homework, and failed miserably.

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One Response to “I Am NOT Smarter Than A 5th Grader”

  1. Ford Prefect Says:

    Welcome to the world of older children!
    I can’t tell you how many times the wife and I have had to call our son the senior to help his 7th grade sister with her math homework – we just don’t get it anymore! I’m a writer I don’t do math!!!


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