Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Math Ain’t Our Strong Suit

Of course, I would never say this to their faces, but my two oldest children are not good at math. Just like their mother. There's a special place in Heaven for us. Or at least, that's what I tell myself.

Tonight was Parent/Teacher Conferences at school.

5:00 - Conference with Sam's teacher, one of the sweetest women to ever exist. My mom met her when she had lunch with Sam for Grandparent's Day. She said, "Honestly, Kristin, I think I got a cavity just from talking to her! How can someone be that sweet??"

Sam has always been the one I haven't had to worry about regarding school - always nearly perfect grades, socially stellar, all-around good student. The teachers and kids love him. But this is 3rd grade and 3rd grade is when Abby started going to Hell in a handbasket. (Not literally, because you know she got a Come to Jesus Cake and all) 3rd grade is hard. It's a transitional year; it's when they start learning skills they need to succeed in Middle School and beyond. So when 3rd grade started for Sam, I expected some problems. Fortunately, they've been minor. Those multiplication tables are gonna get him yet. Hey, I started learning them in 3rd grade and it didn't click for me until 6th grade. See where they get it? See?

Poor guy, Sam scored low enough on his Iowa Basic Skills Test last year that he's one of the chosen few (and by "chosen few" I mean "bad at math") who gets to attend "8th Period" during the 3rd semester. Apparently the entire school's math scores were low and I totally applaud the administration and faculty for getting a handle on it and trying to change it. I would've applauded louder, maybe, had I not spawned a mathematical freak of my own who just can't understand why numbers exist, but that's neither here nor there. Fortunately, the school is planning on providing bus transportation home, which was my why my face initially screwed up into something that probably looked like an anus when she told us - because I could see me forgetting to pick him up, what with all the self-centered stress I seem to behold lately.

Other than that, Sam is just a nice, normal B student. Normal being a completely relative term, of course. He is my child, after all.

5:15 - Conference with Kady's teacher, the Best Kindergarten Teacher in the World By Default Because We Couldn't Have Cousin Courtney.

I have been stressing this week (No? Me? Really? And I'm normally so calm!) because, after visiting with another mom with a kid in Kady's class, I learned that her child had a reader and my child did not.

Now, Abby was a stay-at-home kid. She did not go to PreK or preschool other than a few days a week of Lab School at the college. So, when she was the first kid in her class to get a reader I totally attributed it to my mad parenting skillz. Then Sam, my only child to go to PreK, was one of the first in his Kindergarten class to get a reader and I attributed it to my mad parenting skillz AND my choice to put him in PreK. But now here's Kady. Have you met Kady? My child who was a diva from birth, who my mother swears is going to be a politician and I'm leaning more toward Evil Ruler of the Free World, my child who coins a clever and witty Kadyism at least 400 times a day? And also my child who doesn't have a reader and is nowhere close to getting one. Gasping, are you? Well, me too.

Mrs. Weese (it's actually Reese, but she'll always be Mrs. Weese to me forever and ever because I swear to you, after hearing how "wondowfol" Mrs. Weese is 67 times a minute, you'd call her Mrs. Weese forever and ever, too) assured me that she's sharp as a tack and brilliant and a good kid and just all-around amazingly amazing, but there's just some letters she doesn't know yet. And I'm okay with that. On the outside. On the inside, however, I am freaking the hell out, blaming myself for her not reading in the first month of school and wondering now if she'll end up pierced and leather-clad before she's 14 and will date a guy named Tread and will paint her bedroom black and vote Democrat. All because she didn't get a reader in the first month of school.

So far, she doesn't seem to be a bad at math, though. Of course, they're not really doing much with numbers yet, so there's still time.

5:45 - Conference with Abby's teacher, the woman who is preparing my daughter for the Big Bad Middle School that she'll be attending across the street next year, the woman who puts up with 18 stinky, buddingly hormonal tweens for 7 hours a day and the woman who has my utmost respect.

Abby is a good, solid B+ student. She's bad at math, though. (Betcha didn't see that one coming.) Yep, she scored low on her Iowa Tests, too. Her scores, however, were high enough on the low side that she doesn't qualify for 8th Period. The JOM lady (Indian lady, for you white folks) had an opening in the Native American Bad At Math program during school, though, and she's doing that 2 and 3 hours a week. Other than that, Abby is doing great. She's average and well-adjusted and giggly, which I hear is normal.

Paul was concerned about the kids's math scores as well, but he tends to not run around in circles, waving his arms in the air, screaming like a banshee. (Not that I know anyone who tends to overreact to stressful situations...) He tends to internalize his angst. He's quiet. Always has been, always will be. Oh, but boy howdy when we hit that parking lot, he let loose. It seems that if Paul has any say in it, our children will now be attending Mathematics Boot Camp. It's a new reality show on the Nerd Channel. I'm hosting. Once a week, the kids get in a big circle and start shouting out numbers in an attempt to take control of what is controlling us and then we all cleanse our chakras and do counting exercises.

Oh, and I also run around in circles, wave my arms in the air and scream like a banshee.


Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Well. Being a mathtard myself, and the mother of at least one, I endorse and embrace the title.

And girl, my Tink didn't start reading until AT LEAST the second half of Kinder. Hang in there.

M&Co. said...

See, I'm so behind that I don't even know what you are talking about when you say a "reader."

blythe said...

i'm a total mathtard and product of OK public scools. yet i made it out to MA and even graduated! there's hope. fret not.

mathtards unite!

Stewed Hamm said...

So they're mathtards... look on the bright side. They're probably the first ones in their class who can alphabetize the liquor cabinet.

Shannon said...

Hi, I am Shannon and I am a mathtard. :P

Brady on the other hand is making a 94% so far in math this year. He certainly didn't get it from me. Maybe from Alyssa? :) or from his dad?

Anonymous said...

If Kady must dress in black and pierce any numerous sites to vote Democrat - so be it. At least she will have her priorities in order. I wonder who the mysterious Republican in the family might be?????

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