Warning, this is an embarrassing post. If any of my colleagues are reading this, please don’t hold this against me. If any of Zach’s colleagues are reading this, please remember that we are only related by marriage. And Monica, if you read this someday, I hope you don’t forget how profusely I apologized to you afterwards, or the wonderful and inspiring story I told you about my 8th grade algebra class, but I do hope you forget how I taught you to borrow numbers when subtracting. You are right. I was wrong. And good luck on your test tomorrow. I hope you rock it!
. . . I asked Monica to pick two easy pages of her homework packet to complete while I put Kelly to bed. When I came downstairs to check on her, she was happily coloring an elephant and told me she had finished the page with the clocks and a page of subtraction. As I checked her math work, I noticed that she had done four problems incorrectly and asked her to erase them and try again.
She buried her head in her hands and shook her head. “Mommy, I have a test tomorrow!”
I said, “It’s ok. You’ll do fine. You have the right concept. You’re just using the wrong numbers. Math is very specific and you have to have the exact right number. I’ll help you.”
I walked her through the steps of borrowing and said she had to remember to go back one number before adding a 1 in the ones place. She sighed and redid all four problems my way. Then I said, “Do you want to try three more problems on the back for extra practice before your test tomorrow? I’ll give you a piece of chocolate.”
Of course, she wanted SIX more practice problems. She is a hard worker. As she was working on the last problem, I was mentally adding the numbers to check her work because something just didn’t seem right.
“Wait a minute honey. This isn’t right. These answers don’t add up. Wait a minute. I need to figure this out.”
That’s right. Mommy taught her wrong. She had done it correctly the first time, without my help.
We had a good laugh over our chocolate. Hopefully, lesson unlearned.