Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I Did DD's Maths Homework

I know it's a mess. Don't judge me, it was traumatic. 
DD came home with maths homework. Geometry to be precise. I love maths and geometry was always my favourite part of maths. I have also been a maths teacher in my time and I once co-authored a series of maths textbooks for primary school (published by HarperCollins although never actually used but that's another story*). So I offered to help her. She needed help as she didn't understand all the technical terms in Hebrew. Neither did I but at least I understand them in English.

So I'm translating all the technical words with the Google Translate. Meanwhile DD is screaming at me that I don't understand and that I'm doing it wrong. She was totally out of control. It was hard to concentrate. I'm saying, "listen to me, I'll explain," while she's shouting, "no you listen to me - I DON'T GET IT!" You can see how this might take us round in circles. And it did, until I had to send her out of the room and do the homework myself.

I figured that it's ok if I do it providing I explain it to her afterwards so that she understands. It's not ideal but this is the only way we can work. If I show her the answer on the page, she calms down a bit and will listen to the explanation. She cannot watch me working it out as it makes her panic and get hysterical in case I'm doing it wrong.

I worked out that makbilim are parallels and me'unahim are right angles. But now I'm looking at the words, I think it might be the other way around. Alexonim are diagonals, and tzla'im are lines, I know that much. I'd recognise the word for angles if I saw it but it didn't come up in this exercise. It begins with a z.

I kept getting the words muddled up so some of the answers were written after the wrong questions. When you're counting parallel diagonals and perpendicular lines on multi-angled shapes, you need to use different colours on the diagram otherwise you can't keep track. So I employed some pens. Pens don't rub out. The page looks a bit of a mess but all the answers are there - somewhere. Except for two questions which I understood but didn't know what the teacher wanted them to answer: How do you check that two lines are parallel? How do you check that two lines are perpendicular? I don't need to check on a hexagon (meshusheh if you're interested), I can see by looking.

My co-authored maths books for Year 5
I invited DD back to the table to explain my answers to her. She was upset by the messy page but she did understand the geometry in the end. Putting the maths page back into her bag she said casually, "now I need to do my Hebrew homework. Will you help me?" I just couldn't deal with any more of DD's homework tonight. She actually said she could do it herself but she didn't feel like it after doing all that maths. Excuse me? She is so doing it herself tomorrow evening.

*The other story. The books were ahead of their time, using computer programmes in parallel to the books before most pupils had access to a computer for more than one hour a week. This maths programme required an hour of maths with a computer every week when the one weekly computer session in school had to cover all subjects.


  1. I'm also an ex maths teacher - and could never help my DS to do maths without screaming/crying (sometimes both of us!). His big sister could help him - though once came to us and confided that 'He just doesn't have a maths brain'. That said, we found the right tutor: he got an A in GCSE maths and A8 for A level economics (Now studying history at LSE)

    1. LOL, I'm glad it's not only us. I do remember that I very rarely let my mother, also a teacher, help me with homework - only if I was really stuck.

  2. I'm transported back to us at Aylward with Alpha Beta maths books! I loved maths enough to do two years of a college degree in it (although I changed mid-course for reasons unrelated to the subject matter) but I can't imagine doing it in Hebrew. I'm glad you and DD got through it all.

    1. My mum kept a set of those books for years as she became the Maths Co-ordinator at Aylward for about 15 years. Miriam might still have them as she also teaches. What I remember about maths then, was that no one actually taught us. We read the explanation in the book and if we needed help we queued up at he teachers desk to for individual explanation. Of course only one of us needed to go. If you understood it you explained it to me and vice versa. I used to take my book home and my mum would explain the next few pages so we didn't have to waist time queuing. It seems unbelievable that we didn't actually have any maths lessons - just maths work time. Otoh, we were the last of the baby boomers with 40 children in a class.

    2. P.s. This was just in the juniors, not in the infants.