I’ve been sitting here in complete and utter agony for over an hour now watching one of my charming boys do his math homework. It’s 12 questions. Just 12. Each shows the radius of a circle. He needs to find the area. No calculators.
I remembered how to do it. In fact, he knows how also. Simply multiply the radius by pi and square the result. No big deal. Except that when you write it out, it takes time. And patience. And accuracy. Oh, and writing neatly enough that when you go to add the columns, you know what the numbers were.
He’s been at it for a long time now. I did one to see how long it would take me. I don’t do a lot of multiplication these days without a calculator or computer. It took me about 1.5 minutes. Multiply that by the 12 problems and that’s 18 minutes. Add a little slop time and let’s say it should be able to be done in 1/2 hour.
I’d be more annoyed with him for lolly-gagging on this. But, I remember.
I hated doing math homework. I’d moan and groan and stall. I’d think of everything else I could do first. And then I’d sit crying with my homework unfinished — crying because I was so tired by that point that I’d never get it done.
I did get through it. And so will the kid. I hated math in school. I never thought I was good at it. My brother would help me sometimes. He was extremely patient. But still, I’d cry in frustration. Not a pretty picture. You might wonder why he’d offer to help the next time. But he always did. Thanks for that bro.
I thought I was a failure at math and yet, I placed out of all my required math in college. Clearly, I didn’t suck that badly. Maybe it was a lack of confidence.
And now, much of my work involves numbers. I do statistical analyses and stuff like that (stuff is the technical term for it) on a regular basis. Funny.
So I’m sitting here listening to the kid moan and groan and I know what’s coming down the pike. I’m not looking forward to it.
But all this procrastination brings me to some self-reflecting….
I’m working on a presentation. I might have mentioned it? Right. The same one. I cleaned my office. I filed. I put it off as long as I could. But now, it’s almost finished! Yeah… WAIT A SECOND!
That’s not how you find the area of a circle. Not at all. Oh my! It’s been almost 2 hours and it’s all wrong. All wrong. How to tell him?
It’s the radius squared TIMES pi!
So he’s a little teary now. But I explained that this is much easier than the other way. (As if that’s a consolation at this point.)
He’s on the third problem. This is going fast. Now.
I supposed this will teach him not to ask me for help with his math homework.
(And here I was thinking I really didn’t suck at math.)