Prayers For Algebra

The young miss has an algebra test in a few hours. This semester has not been going well for her. She dropped off the soccer team partly because she insists she can bring up her math grade from a C. (Father’s aside here: I would have been willing to cut her slack on household chores rather than watch her quit her favorite sport in an attempt to rise to a B or B-minus.) For some reason, she’s tested very poorly in algebra the past several weeks. Homework assignments are the only thing keeping the fourth-quarter grade above an F.

She hasn’t been feeling well, either. She texted me to pick up wild cherry cough drops at the store. I texted back that I would and wished her luck on her test and that I would be praying. Her reply:

Thanks I forgot about til now lol but thank you :)

Last Friday I suggested she call a boy who is a good friend and who excels in math to help her study. She liked the idea … at the time. But I noted she spent about three hours on the computer yesterday afternoon doing some drawings and working on some artistic things she likes. I suspect her mind just drifted on this test.

It’s difficult for me not to nag. Or be perceived as nagging. The young miss is very independent and very self-directed. But sometimes, a young person has to take the initiative and ask for help. My wife tells me other parents are complaining about this math teacher. It might be that his tests are a little off-kilter. But I’m really reticent about jumping on a parent-complaint bandwagon. They do a lot of that in this town. The grade she gets, while important, is less essential than learning how to be a good math student. I didn’t learn how to be a good math student till I was a senior in college. And by then, I was already drifting out of a career in science.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Prayers For Algebra

  1. Brian says:

    Thanks for the blog post! I’m glad that I’m not the only one with math problems. Nice photo by the way.

    Your story helped me to do my Math homework.

  2. Fortify Life Day is what we celebrate 9 days from today. It is Feb. 24, 2.24, the Square Root of 5 Day. ( We know that Mar. 14, 3.14, is Pi Day ). Proof: Define one girth = 2 inches. Define z to be the number of girths in the face diagonal of a 2 by 4 piece of lumber for fortifying a fort, that is, a one by two. Pythagoras says that “Root 5” is one real solution to the degree = d = 2 equation: z^2 – 1^2 – 2^2 = 0. To get the other root, rotate by 2pi / d in the complex plane. Both roots are algebraic irrationals, unlike pi. End of proof.

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