Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll Take Parenting for $10,000 or The Honeymoon is OVER

How long, after the school year starts, does it take a third grader to completely meltdown over homework?  THAT is the question that will someday win me a million dollars.  Or at least that's how I like to think of the time I am doing right now in parenting boot camp.  Someday it's gonna payoff.  Big!

For those of you not counting, yesterday was the sixth day of school and that's when it all started to unravel.  And the cause?  Place Value or as I like to say "The Value of Zero".  Huh?  (I know!)  I won't bore you with details.  Here's the Meltdown Recap.  Read it and weep.  Or, if you are a smarty pants, read it and snicker.

Third Grader:  silently sobbing at homework table (which, in our house, looks remarkably like the kitchen table)
Me:  ignoring her
Third Grader:  sobbing more loudly
Me:  ignoring her
Third Grader:  excessively loud huffy breath and then a full-blown sob/scream
Me:  ignoring her
All other children (including the two year old):  MOM!  ARE YOU LISTENING!  S. is SCREAMING and we can't do our homework.  MAKE HER BE QUIET!

Did I ever tell you how my home is like a bastion of compassion?  It is.

Me:  in my frighteningly calm voice:  S. are you okay?  What's wrong?
Third Grader:  in her equally frightening quiet voice:  Hm. hm. hm umph. hm. hm.
Me:  What?
Third Grader:  Hm. hm. umph. hm. hm. hm.
Me:  WHAT?
Third Grader:  My homework is too hard.
Me:  going to homework table and looking at her homework - which is place valueHard place value.  Hmm.  Well, when something is hard for us, does crying and throwing a fit help?  (Thinking - Yes.  Yes, it does.)
Third Grader:  No.
Me:  Well, what might help?  (Thinking - chocolate - preferably dark.  And a beer.  Preferably light.)
Third Grader:  Looking at the example?
Me (after glancing at the first question:  In the number 2,467,985,470,887,476 the underlined number has what value?):  Yes!  I think that will help.  (Thinking - Gosh, I hope so.)

So, that's pretty much it.  We muddled through place value (With me frequently consulting the examples and my third grader assuring me that her teacher would tell her if I had done it wrong on Tuesday.  Thank you, teacher!).  My third grader was pretty sure there was a difference between "0" and "0,000,000."  I argued that I was pretty sure zero meant zero.  We ended in a stalemate.  Teacher will decide today who is right. 

Aside from the fact that I started dinner wondering if I am smarter than a THIRD GRADER, I am pretty sure it ended well.  I thought the value of zero was zero, but I could be wrong.  Nothin' like some third grade teacher who is half my age to make me call into question everything I have ever known about place value.  At least I still have a game show future.  If you are a Math Person (guess who's not), feel free to weigh in - and by that I do not mean chastising me for being Not Smarter Than A Third Grader. 

Hope you are surviving The Beginning of School, and if not - take heart, eat some dark chocolate, and drink a light beer.  You'll be better for it.

Yours truly,

I Miss Summer

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