Math “Quiz” and Communion

I am not a moron.

A quiz is still an assessment of your knowledge of a subject. It counts towards a final grade in a subject area. That final grade will end up on a report card. I may or may not sign that report card envelope depending on the mountain of crap it is hidden beneath. Regardless, the report card counts, the grades on it count, and the “quizzes” used to calculate those grades count.

Tonight Sam and Maisy both informed me that they have math “quizzes” tomorrow. They inform me with the same casual air of one mentioning that it might rain tomorrow.


1. It is Monday.
2. I suck at Math.
3. They know both of these facts.

I start with Sam. He explains that there are just three things to know for this so-called quiz. It turns out the “three things” are actually THREE CHAPTERS.

We start working through problems. At first all is well. He seems to really have a good handle on stuff. Then, all of a sudden, he is telling me that 9+6+1 is 18. I am patient for the first four minutes. Then the tirades begin.

I point out his age, grade in school, and IQ level. I explain that NONE of those things are compatible with the finger counting he is trying to hide from me. Does he really think I believe he suddenly started casually drumming his 10 fingers one at a time on the table for fun? He sits on his hands and scrunches up his face. I call on my Lord. Sam knows I am not praying.

At one point I ask him to tell me what 6×4 is.

“24″ he squeaks.


“24?” Now he is barely whispering.

I slam my hand on the table just as I catch Maisy’s eye. “Um, Mom? 6×4 IS 24. [gulp]”

I sigh. The stress of the situation robbed me of my fourth grade times tables for a minute.

Then, as suddenly as the delirium took hold, it is gone. He does 6 long division problems perfectly and in minutes.

My head spins.

He adds decimals and calculates exponents. His scrap paper is covered in correct answers. Once again, I am feeling my religion. My red wine reminds me of Communion. That’s what I need. (No you heathens! Not wine—Communion!)
My Sam
Maisy has just told me that her “quiz” is on scatter plots and a bunch of other stuff I can’t tell you about because I wasn’t listening to her. I tuned out when she started explaining to me that her math binder had a separate section for each chapter. Each chapter was further subdivided and color coded. There was a notes section, and a homework section and a sample problems section. She does not need my help.

Somewhere in her soliloquy I hear her mention her brother. “What did you say about Sam?” I ask.

“I said, Sam is a kinetic learner, Mom. He needs to actively participate to learn. I am a visual learner. I see and learn. I get that from Dad. Daddy sees something and he just knows it. Sammy is more like you, he needs to “do” to learn (she is not paying either of us a compliment.) He totally knows his times table. I bet if you had your scrap paper in front of you, you would have remembered what 6×4 was too.”

Don’t judge me. If you had been here tonight, you would have aimed for her good arm too.


  1. LOL! I guess I should savor the days when my kids don’t have homework yet… I can only imagine…I have a hard enough time remembering show and tell!

  2. Since I loathe math as well, I totally get your evening. Totally and completely.

  3. That is why I’m responsible for English and Darren is responsible for Math. I too believe 6 + 9 + 1 = 18

  4. Thanks for the morning laugh – I needed it. Hope they do well on their tests. Marlene

  5. Ha ha ha! We have exactly the same situation over here!!!!!!!

  6. My dad always did Math and my mom always did English

  7. OK, so maybe this is a dumb question, but why can’t he do finger math? I aced all my math classes, was ahead a year in math, and loved H.S. algebra & college calculous, but dang I can’t do math in my head past 2+2!! :)

  8. Oh now that seriously made me LOL histerically!! Not so good since I am working in an open office plan trying to look like I am working. Misery truly does love company – so next time I am in the midst of a homework meltdown with Max, I shall do my best to remember this story, thank you so much for your wonderful, REAL stories. I want to be sick more so I can see you. where’s a kidney stone when I need one? ;-)

  9. Hey, scrap paper is allowed on most important tests – if he does it well and quickly, who needs the mental math :)


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