“You know you’re gonna have to help Skylar with her math homework when the time comes,” I’ve told Mr. Candy on more than one occasion. After all, any math I’ve ever learned has been long buried in the deep recesses of my mind, along with my memory of watching “Dr. T and The Women.” And I have no intention of ever digging them up again.
“But I can only do math with Excel now,” Mr. Candy always shrugs.
So, basically, our daughter is screwed.
Turns out, I’m not the only math-a-phobe. A new study by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, for Intel, reveals that most parents would rather talk to their kids about sex and drugs than about math and science. According to the survey of 561 parents, more than half say they have trouble helping their kids with these subjects, and it gets more difficult as the students get older.
That’s right: Parents would rather talk erections than fractions.
There are a number of reasons for this. Some, like me, don’t remember or understand the subjects well enough to teach them. Others, like Curtis Silver, who writes about parenting for Wired.com, say they have the opposite problem, that they have too deep an understanding of the subjects. “Even I have trouble helping with math and science sometimes,” he writes. “Not because I’m not knowledgeable, but because it’s hard to transfer my knowledge to that of an 8-year-old.”
Yeah, yeah, that’s what they ALL say: “I’m too damn smart to dumb it down for kids!”
But, in all seriousness, maybe we should make more of an effort. The National Assessment of Educational Progress report released last week (also known as “the nation’s report card”) discovered that less than 40 percent of fourth and eighth graders are rated “proficient” or above in math.
On the bright side, more than 80 percent can correctly identify a condom and crack pipe!