Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh, for fuck's sake!

We put The Boy in honors math this year. Because of the faster pace, he usually needs some help with the homework, and I usually help him with it every night (I don't do the work for him, but I figure out how to do it, then I explain how to do it, and we both do it independently, then compare answers to make sure he's got it right; if he's got it wrong I explain to him where it went wrong so he understands it). Tonight he was extra stressed about it and in an all-fire hurry to get it done before DF arrived to pick him up for the night. I held off asking why until we finished.

Now that we've finished, here's why: Because DF feels he's mentally superior in math to me. (1. The Boy's words, not mine; 2. It's true: I'm good at math, but the furthest I've gone is algebra, and I'm a bit rusty; while DF knows calculus and has an engineering degree and everything.) If DF finds out that The Boy had MY help with his math instead of DF's help, he would not like it. Apparently he is taken to saying, "If you ever need help with a math problem, come to me, I'm much better at math than mom".

But here is why The Boy prefers my help with math instead of DF's: whenever DF is explaining something, it seems that he is just talking to hear himself talk. (This is true of all things, not just math.) It's like pulling teeth to get an explaination out of him, because you have to listen to 20 minutes of shit you don't want or need to hear in order to get the explaination that you understand. When I explain something, I strip it to the easiest form to make the explanation easy. It's probably my "lack" of sophisticated mathiness that makes me a better tutor. I get straight to the point instead of going on and on about it. It's probably also in my favor that The Boy and I share one brain, so I know what kind of explanation he is going to understand.

So now The Boy has decided it's easier to hide the fact that I help him with math, and let DF think he did it all on his own. Which means he has to be sure to finish it before DF picks him up so the subject of math homework does not even come up.

I asked him if he couldn't just explain to DF that "I understand the way mom explains it better", which is, in fact, the truth. But The Boy said he knows DF's personality enough that he can anticipate 20 arguements that DF will have if The Boy says that.



Jess said...

On the plus side, your awesome kid has a better understanding of human psychology than many people twice his age. Plus he has obviously learned some lessons about picking his battles.

Yeah, I'm reaching for a silver lining here. *sigh*, indeed.

allison said...

Your boy is smart.

Cindy (starshine) said...

Yes, there is a reason we refer to your ex as "DF".

CosmicAvatar said...

It could just be that you're better at explaining things, full stop, regardless of how good you are at Maths. I am utterly shit. My dad (who is excellent at Maths) often used to drive me crazy when explaining stuff to me, whereas Simon (Bally, who is also excellent) put things in far simpler terms and actually made me understand algebra properly for the first time, for which I am so grateful.

In short, what Cindy said. [evil]

CosmicAvatar said...

Oh, and what Jess and allison said too. [nod]