There comes a point in every parent’s life when you realize you are getting old. Sometimes it comes in sports when your child legitimately beats you in a one-on-one basketball game or in a foot race. For me, it came during my children’s middle school years when I was confronted with their math homework.
My age betrayed me in two ways. First, it had been many, many years since I had done any algebra and calculus. Even though I was pretty good at it in high school, I managed to forget it in the intervening decades.
I should also note that when I looked at my kids’ middle school homework, I also realized how much more advanced they were. They were being asked to master content in middle school that I didn’t tackle until high school! Second, and more important, the problems were different. The teachers were not just looking for answers, but the process used to arrive at the answers. In addition, the terms were different, so even when I knew the answer, I could not tell them the proper way to get there.
I don’t think my experience is unique. Read the rest of this entry »