Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Let's shoot people who write instructions for maths worksheets.

As if the week couldn't be any crappier after yesterday, I stupidly and foolishly embark on a maths book with Squirrel.

After fifteen minutes I want to hang myself.

It's not even Squirrel who is the problem. Her maths comprehension, it seems to me, is totally fine.

My impending death is the result of the people who write instructions to maths puzzles. To make them FUN.

Take the maze. In this maze you must divide one number by another. You arrive at an answer, and with that answer you go on to the next step of the maze. Sounds simple, huh?

Only the toad who is playing mind games with a Squirrel brain writes in the instructions that you cannot complete this puzzle unless you know your times tables. But we cannot find any times tables in the puzzles at all, unless we think backwards and pretend that division is really multiplication in reverse.

We waste fifteen minutes trying to match up the instruction to the maze. It makes no sense! So I have a grown up temper tantrum and scribble over the instruction. Then we do the maze game by division in five minutes flat.

But I don't learn, do I? We go on and spend half an hour trying to figure out at the instructions about angles. The instructions make such little sense, we are better off ignoring the stuff altogether and just doing the maths.

If it was only me and Squirrel unable to match up words and numbers, that would be OK, because I would know daughter is like mother and we are both damned to a special maths hell. But Dig wanders in and starts picking a fight with the instruction about perpendicular lines.

So I suddenly feel sorry for all you school choosing people out there. Do you sit huddled and weeping over the primary age maths worksheets that Tinkertop brought back for homework? Or have you all learned to scribble out the garbage, and get on with the work?

Anyway, if you are thinking that shooting the people who write this crap is a slightly over-the-top reaction, you are probably right.

But after the day I've had, I feel a whole lot better by saying it.


Glowstars said...

It sounds rather much like some of the boy's maths homework from last year. The very stuff that I gave up with and pointed out that if a 25 year old couldn't understand the damned thing, then a 4 year old definitely wouldn't.

Grit said...

so it's not just my incapacitated neurons! i am consoled, glowstars.

katyboo1 said...

Be more consoled. I do not understand the maths homework that my children get. I have had things like number lines explained to me so many times and it hurts my tiny brain. Yet I can add, subtract, divide and multiply reasonably well. The instructions they give only seem to make it harder. We cheat and do it our way.

Grit said...

thank you katyboo!

MadameSmokinGun said...

I hate 'FUN'. It's a similar lie to "So easy a child of 4 can construct it'. My Dad was always complaining he never had a child of 4 when he needed one. Oneupmanship in the confines of a car with a broken stereo is far more effective. Self-sparked mathsy questions by sprog No.2 to lord over No.3 will then by followed by No.1 - unable to resist being even cleverer will interrupt with something more advanced. No.4 will probably burp the 7 Times Table in a possessed kind of groove. No.3 is bound to learn something. Mummy can smile in smug-mode. That's ticked off 'maths' for another week.