Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tweedle Dum Dums

Yesterday I told you about all things Frick, so today I'm going tell you a story about Frack.

So, we get home from NYC Sunday night and Frack and his grandfather arrive home from the Pats/Giants debacle, along with my bestest and oldest friend in the world, Danny, at just about the same time. Frack jumps right to his homework. He's got an algebra test the next day and since I received a not-so-glowing email from his math teacher two days earlier, Frack knows his ass is grass and I'm the lawn mower if he doesn't up his game.

My Guy, Danny and I go sit in the family room to chat while Frack is studying in the kitchen. We were having a grand old time bitching about the sucky Patriots game and such, discussing this and that and about two hours breezes by. My Guy announces that he is going off to bed, says his good nights and leaves us girls to it. About 15 minutes later, I hear Frack's voice in the kitchen meekly say, "mom.." I provide the usual response, a slightly annoyed ,"ya" cuz I'm thinking he wants me to get him a drink or something. God forbid he rises the 5 yards over to the fridge to get it himself.

"can you come ere?" he says.

After a deep breath in, cuz I'm tired, I get up and go to the kitchen with Danny right behind me. What I find there literally broke a mother's heart. My son is sitting in front of his notebook with papers scattered about with a look of pain on his face that cut right through me. He looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm so screwed. I can't figure any of this out."

Now I know he's screwed because math is not a resume piece of mine and I pull my stomach off the floor, which has just dropped down there with this realization. I quickly look at Danny, hoping for some math mojo, and she announces, "I used to be really good at Algebra. It used to be my best subject," then she adds, "but I couldn't do it now. No way." Frick, math student extraordinaire, and My Guy are asleep and I was, of course, ABSENT that day, so Frack is as he said; screwed.

But the look on my kid's face sprung me right to action. Tweedle Dum 1, me, takes the iPad in my hand and asks, "Can't we Google this?" Tweedle Dum 2, Danny, says, "yeah, just type 'solve' and then plug in the equation." This leads us to a million different places all of which we find a whole lot of nothing. Frack is now arguing with Tweedle Dum 1, me, whoes trying to help him, that he's never going to figure this out and let's just forget it. Tweedle Dum 2, Danny, is now reading the results, clicking and we stumble upon this site called mathops.com. It's got the order of operations for quadratic equations right there and Frack begrudgingly looks at it. And looks at it. And looks at it some more.

Then the most amazing thing happened. It was TRULY like a light bulb went off in his head and the moment was quite memorable. "Wait a second," he said. "I think I get it." Frack then clears the table and starts working on the blank practice test. The teacher had given them the correct answers to the practice test but not the order of operations to get there, and Frack starts rattling off the correct answers in succession. The Tweedle Dum Dum's are high fiving each other like crazy after every correct answer and the energy in Frack changed instantaneously to that of serious student. Danny left for home and I stayed up with Frack for a bit longer. He got stumped a few more times but he then found a site on youtube called your. teacher.com with 3-5 minute video tutorials on every math problem you could imagine.

I was so proud of him and he used these wonderful resources to breakthrough his mental block. These videos are how HE learns and it was like a magic math elixir. Frack got an email from his math teacher last night announcing his B+ on his math test and a congrats on stepping up his effort like she knew he could. I told him I couldn't be prouder. We all learned something valuable, the Tweedle Dum Dum's included.

I told Frack that being smart isn't always about knowing all the answers.

A smart man know where to look to find the answers.


Cora said...

I run to Google whenever my kid has homework woes as well. How did we survive before Google????

SkylersDad said...

I think that is so cool, that is a lesson that won't be taught in school, about how to partner up and do research.

sybil law said...

Yay! i freaking HATED algebra. I always had some crazy assed way of getting the correct answer, but my teachers were always like, "But you only need to do THIS", and it just didn't compute for me. I passed with B's, but I really NEVER got it. Thank God for the internet, because I dread the day Gilda starts in on that shit!
And good for you and your friend for helping him! He did, indeed, learn a lesson that day - or two. Two being, of course, that his mom will help him help himself. :)

Scope said...

My first computer science teacher said that he always gives open book tests, because knowing the answers isn't nearly as important as knowing how to FIND the answers.

And that was long before the GOOGLES arrived.

MarkD60 said...

"Math is the science of numbers that has no purpose." I sucked at math in school, but I can figure anything out if I need to, because if I need to know something, it has a purpose, and if it has a purpose, it isn't math.

Dr Zibbs said...