Bad Words

It sort of crept up on me; I didn’t see it coming this time.

I’d been through this all with my son and yet somehow? I thought it wouldn’t happen again.

So I sailed through my daughter’s late elementary school years, feeling pretty smug.

Sixth grade?

Still quite smug, thank you very much.

But with the start of seventh grade this year, it began. She started using it around the house. Dropped it into conversations here and there.

My skin prickles when she says it. Cold beads of sweat begin forming on my neck and I suddenly lose my appetite. I know I need to deal with it, and quickly.

The “A” Word.

You know the one I mean.


It’s finally happened; the homework has once again surpassed what I remember from school. The furthest reaches of my brain cannot return any of the Algebra I learned back in the day. And I can’t just wing it like I could in her younger days.

Science questions? I’ve got Google on my side.

Honey, the sky is blue because….oh, look! The ice cream man’s out front! Let’s talk about it when you come back inside….

You can’t just Google Algebra. You still have to understand it.

I miss multiplication tables.

Exponent? Oh, I know that one! But what the heck is a quadratic equation and why do I need to graph it?

It turns out, I don’t speak Math. When my son’s math homework started getting hard to follow, I actually thought I was re-learning it, storing it in memory, and this problem would never happen again.

Apparently I was wrong.

And anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to just have the high school son help his younger sister with her math homework has quite obviously never had siblings.

Short of shadowing her to class (embarrassing) or enrolling in the Algebra class at the community college (boring), my only option is to try and keep up by following her lessons in the book.

I have to admit, it makes me feel pretty incompetent as a parent.

I mean, I have a college degree! I was an Accounting major! I can balance checkbooks, figure out tips, estimate taxes, and tell you how much that cute hoodie on the 40% off rack will cost.

Just don’t ask me to do seventh grade again.

This may quite possibly be why we stopped at two kids.

I am thrilled to have a post syndicated for the Own Your Beauty series over at BlogHer today!

Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one’s self and influence the lives of those around us – our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.

I would love for you to head over to BlogHer today and check out my post, maybe leave me a comment or some sparkles.

Or maybe just some chocolate.

I love that.


  1. Owning your own beauty is way harder to learn than algebra.

    PS algebra is a stupid way to spell a word. Just sayin'

  2. The Empress says:

    I google everything.

    No lie.

    Has never let me down.

  3. I have a seventh grader too so maybe you and I form a study/support group. I'm going to look at the glass half full when I say Hank will probably be in what we called "bonehead" math back in the day which is where I belong now.

  4. zenaliciousmom says:

    Yeah honors math …brainiac (or so I thought) here too. And ummm – I've been SLAMMED by SECOND grade math. Seriously!?!?! WTH!?!? I too am a big fan of Google but I have recently learned that I am supposed to do this in secret (bathroom perhaps) so that my kids don't know how lame I am. LOL!!! Because I continually hear – what do you mean MOM YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A BLABBERGOOBER ANGLE is? heh.

  5. Aglebra is stupid.. Which is why I married a man who is a math guy. It was one of the required assets I had when I was dating. I knew there was no way I would be able to help with the future homework.

  6. I can't believe you made it to seventh grade. I'm worried about second.

    Will be by to see you on BlogHer! xo

  7. By Word of Mouth Musings says:

    HUGE congrats on Blogher today!
    This is another upside to homeschooling, my 13 yr old is taking Algebra online, with a tutor available 8 til 8, videos aplenty … and did I mention its free as a FL resident? LOVE it!

  8. I still have all my notebooks from my college math classes but I don't think they will do me any good when my daughter starts getting algebra homework.

  9. I am ever so thankful to be married to an Algebra teacher. (Except he doesn't ever know any of the books I am referring to!)

  10. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:

    My husband is in charge of all advanced math subjects. And he will teach her to drive. That is the point of having him around.

  11. A Hootie Hoot says:

    I am really really NOT looking forward to having to help my son with his homework when he gets to be that age. Maybe I can pawn that duty off on my husband!

    You have been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award! Please visit to claim your award!


  12. Oh dear me. This is why I don't think I could homeschool…I didn't even make it to calculus as a student! And therefore had to avoid any math heavy majors.

  13. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    Hee! I saw the BlogHer post before this one. Already been there done that, beautiful!

    And I was ok through their freshman year of high-school.

    Then….nope. Done. Stick a fork in me,

    Thankfully the husband is a math/physics guy.

    I'll stick with the term papers.

  14. Paula @ Simply Sandwich says:

    Oh I went through that with my daughter and it was soooooo very painful. Thank goodness my sixth grader is a math wiz and loves it. i'm hopin I can escape this time! πŸ™‚

  15. I hated having to help my kids with Maths. We would sit and look at it together in bewilderment. Then my second boy got good at it and I did make him help the rest. Thank goodness that is over.

  16. Haha! Despite what teachers say, sometimes we WON'T be needing certain skills/subjects as adults πŸ™‚

  17. I have an engineering degree – I took 6 semesters of college-level calculus, plus differential equations. Yet last month, when I was helping my little cousin with his geometry homework? Complete brain freeze.

    My wife & I are a good team – I have the math & the stuff that you can figure out/know you're right. She has the literature components – she can help you develop a writing idea or get you to analyze a poem's meaning.

    In theory, we're set. Until I realize that I can't remember how to do bunk.

    Oh, and the "helping the little sibling?" Yeah, that doesn't work. I distinctly remember my 8th grade sister attempting to stab me, in 10th grade, with her pen as I proofread some paper for her and then tried to deliver a lesson on when to break for a paragraph.

  18. I could BARELY do math when I was in school… i break out in hives anytime Danielle even mentions math in passing.. ick

  19. Giggle, Laugh, Cry says:

    New follower! Please come check out my blog if you get a chance. Congratulations on your Versatile Blogger award from A Hootie Hoot blog!

  20. Congrats on the Blogher post!
    I was okay until this year, high school Math is more than I can remember or even try to relearn. History homework is the worst for me. Even if it can be googled it is still so BORING.

  21. Galit Breen says:

    Chocolate, sparkles, RTs, a math fairy. Honestly woman, I'd leave you anything! Congrats! You're fabulous! XO

  22. This is exactly what I worry about. Sure, he's only 4 now, but what happens when he gets to the stuff that I actually didn't do in HS? Like what if he takes Calculus? I never had to do that; don't even know what it is.

    Looks like I'll be learning Calculus with him. Or hiring a tutor.

  23. Mama Track says:

    Fun! I'm sure I'll do the same thing when we get there. Meanwhile, A kid corrected me at the zoo the other day when I called an orangutan a monkey. I know it's an ape, but the toddler doesn't get that….

  24. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    What!?? You can't google Algebra!? I'm toast…there goes my plan.

    Good luck with that. Could you write a how to post once you're all done? That would really help the rest of us!

    Congrats on BlogHer, can't wait to go read and sparkle you up!

  25. I never thought about that before, but you are right…Google can't help Algebra. Though on the bright side, at least you HAVE Google! So many parents never had that luxury.

  26. twinisms says:

    Math is the worst. I have one in geometry now and one in pre-algebra (same grade-the least they could have done was keep up on math together!). I don't know what I am going to do after this year. I never got past college algebra. I was a theatre major and I have a daughter who LOVES math. Frick on a stick.

  27. Dana @ Bungalow'56 says:

    One of the main reasons I married The Agronomist…. Math whiz? You're in baby!

  28. Megan (Best of Fates) says:

    I think maybe you just need to get better at Google.

    'Cause Google can tell you anything.

    No lie.

  29. Sluiter Nation says:

    algebra? I can do.

    owning up to my beauty? KLZ is right. impossible.

  30. Mommy Nani Booboo says:

    Noooo! I dread the day algebra comes home from school! I don't speak math either. And I have never EVER had to use it past my school years. My Fine Arts degree leaves me completely unprepared for any math or science homework. *shudder*

  31. France Rants says:

    I hear the word ALGEBRA and my eyes glaze over, my mind goes numb, and then I utter these four amazing words: Go Ask Your Father…..

  32. Tonya W. says:

    I don't do math!! I have made that very clear to EVERYONE I know, including and especially my husband. He has been alerted that is on math and science homework duty from the get go!

    Love your BlogHer piece!! Congratulations. πŸ™‚

  33. Booyah's Momma says:

    Uh oh. I think I'm in trouble. My daughter is only 5, and she's already asking me questions I don't know the answers to.

    If it weren't for Google, I'm pretty sure my kids would think I had the IQ of a gnat.

  34. I'm with KLZ. I'm also terrible at algebra. I'm dreading that part. If DH can't help them w/ their math? They're just SOL, I guess.

  35. Great. You’ve just put the fear of God in me. Especially since I didn’t even understand algebra when I was that age. My husband is going to have to stop traveling for work once my daughter hits middle school. Otherwise, she’s going to blow my “smart mom” cover.

  36. Hi, I hopped over to your site from mixx. This isn’t not blog post I would regularly read, but I loved your spin on it. Thanks for making a piece worth reading!