That time I lost my $#!t over 5th grade math homework

We have identified that my eldest daughter has many talents.  Singing, dancing, acting, flipping about and socializing are all areas that she excels in.  We have identified that math….well, math is an area of great and exciting opportunity!

She started out the school year pretty strong, but with rehearsals and shows and hobnobbing with famous actors, math took a brief seat on the back burner.

Famous actors

But now she’s back at it and attacking her math homework with vigor and enthusiasm.

The entirety of that last sentence is a lie.

Initially, math homework was approached with resignation and angst.  Fortunately, she’s now allowing me to supervise her while she does her homework and take an active role in coaching her through it.  Aside from a few bitterly wept tears, an episode of hyperventilation and the occasional breaking of mechanical pencils, I’d say it’s going pretty well.  Most of our pencils are now without erasers, but we’re making do.  Right now she is working on converting units of measure, multiplying decimals, and adding fractions.  (BTW, when is the last time you tried to spell ‘decimal?’  That’s a really hard word.)

She is needing less and less help from me and is doing quite well sorting out multi-step word problems.  I check her answers to make sure they are correct and make suggestions when she needs to rethink an answer.  Nobody has cried in DAYS!

So this morning, after I stumbled downstairs, I opened her folder to peruse her graded work.  Most responsible parents would do this in the evening when said work is brought home from school, but I like to keep things interesting and look in folders in the morning, when there is zero time to intervene on anything that may need my attention.

This is when I found the homework that we had completed TOGETHER, with a bunch of red marks scrawled through her tedious (and correct) work.

Rage filled my soul.

I went back and feverishly re-worked the problems myself.  With an eraser-less pencil.  Heart pounding.  And then I used a calculator to check myself…just in case.  Her work was right…because we did it together…and I’m a grown up…who does math at work…to rotate oral morphine to IV morphine and then to IV dilaudid and then if I’m feeling particularly saucy, to methadone. I know freaking math!

Son of a motherless goat!

I could feel my face getting hot.  And I could sense that Danny, who had initially been standing quite close to me, was getting a little nervous and backing away into the far recesses of the kitchen where he was much less likely to be impaled by the mechanical pencil flailing wildly in my hand.

“This is RIGHT!  Son of a b!t@#!  What the crap are all of these red marks?  Who the hell graded this???

“And what is this?!?!  This question is asking for THE SUM of fractions!!!  The SUM of 4 thirteenths and 16 thirteenths.  Why are we multiplying???   Awww HAIL NO!”

Please feel free to correct me if I’m missing something here.

“Sweet lord have mercy…I can’t.  I cannot.  Oh sweet baby Jesus.”

<hands on hips, pacing through kitchen>


I mean…please correct my kid…and me for that matter if our math is wrong.  But do not question my understanding of fractions and do not question how many feet of fabric Jeanne must buy to make her stupid hair bows for the dumb craft fair.   It’s 126!  126 dumb, stupid feet of ribbon! And if you look to the far left…you will see “126.0 feet of ribbon” with a big, fat, red X through it.

I can’t.

One thought on “That time I lost my $#!t over 5th grade math homework

  1. The former teacher in me is in deep pain for you. How long must we hang in mid-air before knowing what happened (and if you will also need to be tutored in fractions!!)!? The suspense!!


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