Thursday, September 21, 2006

Too clever for their own good

My nine-year-old, K. was struggling with her math today. She kept asking me questions, and I kept giving her hints to help her solve the problems on her own. Finally, she took a break for lunch leaving part of the work unfinished, and I checked over what she'd done. When I compared the problems on the page to the questions she'd been asking me, I realized she had been making each problem more difficult before she tried to find the answer. All of my hints and helps were essentially already there in the problems to start with, only she ignored them and made the problems harder. Just as an example, one of the problems was 60 + 30 = 6 x ?

K: Mommy, how am I supposed to figure out how many sixes are in 90?

Me: Well, start with ten. Will the answer be more or less than 10?

You see what I mean? She made the problems harder to solve instead of using the "clues" already there.

Thirteen-year-old E. overhead much of our discussion, and immortalized the event in verse:

K---- G---- G----
Worked at her math,
An angry frown on her face.

“Addition! Subtraction!
It has no attraction!”
She cried as she sat in her place.

“Is the answer nineteen?
Or maybe umpteen?”
She pondered the words on the page.

“The answer’s a trick!
It’s making me sick!”
She flew into a great rage.

“Work!” Said her Mother,
“The answer’s no other
Than the one that is so plain to see.”

“I’ll work,” Said the Girl,
“When the answers unfurl!”
So she sat there until after tea.

Of course, when this was read aloud, I laughed so hard I couldn't eat my lunch properly at all. Sometimes homeschooling is a chore, but thank heaven there are days...many of them, really...when the kids show me that they are thinking and learning. When I showed K. what she was doing to make her work harder, she finished up rapidly, and E. was in a good enough mood to give me permission to share her humorous poem on my blog, and C. took a nap this afternoon. What more could I ask for?


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