Here’s a decade-old confession that I haven’t even told my own parents (cough … until they read this … cough): even though I managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, I failed college algebra twice.
It’s a good thing I never went into the finance industry, because I can’t count to save my life. In school I always aced my spelling and literature tests, but when it came to math, I just couldn’t pick up the concepts as easy as some of my fellow peers.
My basic algebra and trig classes were more painful than getting drilled at the dentist’s and I hid this little-known fact about me from everyone in my life out of sheer embarrassment.
It’s not that I can’t do simple arithmetic, but if you put two sets of fractions in front of me, I wouldn’t know what to do unless you started cutting up slices in a pizza pie and animated a tutorial video.
There, I said it: I suck at math. Exponentially.
Now, this didn’t really leave me with any devastating setbacks in life (other than the fact that I should be counting my daily calories more often and it would be nice to estimate my Trader Joe’s bill before hitting the cash register), but I never gave math a second thought until Britney Spears, mom to Jayden, 8, and Sean, 9, went on the record to say that she is taking math classes so she can keep up with her sons’ homework assignments.
She told People magazine:
“They go to a really hard school, and this week we had three hours of homework [a night]. Some of it is hard for me. Next year when [Preston’s] in fifth grade, he’s going to be doing pre-algebra, and I’m taking classes so I know how to do it.”
Britney gets absolutely no shade from me for admitting this. In fact, she’s even gotten me to consider enrolling at my local community college for math refresher courses (hello, Common Core math!).
There’s no harm in denying that you’re not a perfect parent and with my daughter in the first grade now, I know there is a lot of homework in our future. There’s no point in having both of us struggle with the more complex assignments.
Honestly, I’m afraid my daughter might have inherited that same gene that makes math difficult for me to learn, but there’s no harm in telling her that I too struggle with basic math problems. In fact, it will probably make her feel less embarrassed about it. And sure, it might make me feel like I never aced third grade math, but there’s no harm in going back to square one and relearning everything with her as she works her way through school. If that’s what makes our common denominator, then so be it.
Now as far as Britney trying to keep up with her kids, I think it’s awesome for her to be showing this initiative and taking a personal interest to help her children. Even as a mom in the celebrity spotlight, she is setting a great example for her boys and for the rest of us. Mommy doesn’t always know best and there’s a good chance that my kids will have an easier time grasping their homework when we learn together.
We’re all human after all and our flaws are what make up our molecules. Plus, no one ever said education stops at graduation and personally, it would do my grocery bill some good if I paid more attention to numbers. It will all add up better in the long run.