this is me helping bella with her algebra

Bella: Mom, you have to help me study for my test tomorrow. I’m serious.

Me: Fine. What are you studying?

Bella: We’re factoring polynomials.

Me: OK, factoring polynomials is fun.

Bella: That’s what my teacher said! (surprised that we would both agree on such a thing)

Then she proceeded to tell me what a great teacher she has and explained some great trick her teacher had taught her. Of course I didn’t have the faintest idea how to factor polynomials with a big “X” thingie. Instead, I studied a few examples in the math book and tried to show her how the book was explaining the problems. We ended with Bella basically shouting, Stop! stop! I don’t want to learn another way!

and then, Fine, you can show me after my test tomorrow.

Fine, so I stopped. I checked some problems she had done and they were all correct. We finally got to a problem where I had to show her the “book” technique and after much grimacing and eye-rolling she got it. I kept telling her to write down the formula first, and she kept saying, Why bother if I can do it in my head?

What a smartie pants.

Painful, but ultimately a productive homework sess. We finished by racing to factor a cubic polynomial – one that was not a homework problem – and we both got it right!

Then she turned back thirty or so pages and said, Now will you help me review the rest of the chapter?

Since she clearly knows her stuff and has more integrity about learning it than I ever had – I refused and told her it was time to go to bed.

It’s fun to have a kid who loves math, but also a little freaky.

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