Credit: Phillip Martin
There are MANY questions that I have been asked when the kids or myself say we are homeschoolers. The one I relate with the most usually is the result of me saying that I homeschool a HIGH SCHOOLER. Honestly, I have said it myself…many times!
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALGEBRA?
Well, aside from the fact that I did graduate with an A in Algebra…AND I did take College Algebra, with an A…I was confident that Algebra would not be a problem. Until today.
The scene is the kitchen. Clueless Just Plain Mom is busy doing nothing something important. The 9th Grade Boy is upstairs completing today’s assignment. He casually walks into the kitchen.
The Boy: “Um, ya. I don’t get it.”
Mom: What don’t you get?
The Boy: Graphing slope-intercept form.
Mom: Slopey what? What are you talking about? (Algebra’s important. Right?)
The Boy (Looks at clueless Mom with “The LOOK”): Algebra?
Mom: Oh. Did you watch the videos?
The Boy: DUH
Mom: Let me see. It can’t be that hard.
Famous last words. Sheesh! What WAS I thinking?!!
First of all, for those who don’t know…a standard slope formula is ax+by=c. The Slope-Intercept formula is y=mx+b. That’s easy (relatively speaking) enough to find. OK. But then I had to explain to The Boy how to graph it. Did I say that I loved Algebra? I do. I really do. But, Big BUT, I DESPISE, LOATHE, DETEST, Graphing. To do this day I cannot for the life of me figure out how it has helped me to have suffered through graphing linear equations. Until today. Trying to help my 14-year-old figure out how to graph them…aye, aye, aye. I’m beginning to think my algebra teacher was slightly demonic. Who on earth tortures children with this stuff? Who on earth tortures themselves with this stuff?
Well, after reacquainting myself with the art of graphing a linear equation, I decided to work the problems together with my son. Easy enough. Right? How hard can this be? (Note to self…quit ASKING THIS QUESTION!)
I converted it to slope-intercept. Y=7-3X. It all went downhill from there. (no pun intended). After 15 minutes of trying to figure out WHY my answer didn’t match the answer in the key, I called for reinforcements: Facebook to my rescue.
44 comments later…the conclusion: The answer key was wrong!
No WONDER I couldn’t figure it out!
As I was driving tonight to take my son to Karate, I thought about the afternoon. It dawned on me…I DO know what to do about Algebra. It didn’t require a degree or professional license to help my child learn how to walk. I simply provided the opportunity and guidance. Easy as 1…2…3. And although I hope I didn’t pass on my disdain for linear equations to my son, I do hope he learned a far great lesson than y=mx+b. I hope he learned how to solve a problem. To be confident in one’s answer. To question if you know it’s wrong. To take control of one’s learning.
The reason that I’m not afraid of high school is because I know that I can find the answers. I may not KNOW it all…but I know how to find SOMEONE who does. The world really is ours for the taking!
SO, the next time someone asks me if I’m qualified to homeschool, I’m just going to smile. Smile and say, “Yes. I have friends in Low Places.” BAHA!