sentences I didn’t expect to hear from my 2nd grader

“I don’t have that algorithm memorized yet.”

Honestly? I had to look up how to spell ‘algorithm.’

Also, how old were you when you first had math homework that looked like this:

21 – (12+6)=

I’m thinking it was sixth or seventh grade, personally. Have I forgotten that much, or has math really gotten that much harder?


May 14, 2007. growing up.


  1. chichimama replied:

    You just brought back all of my high school math anxiety….

  2. CamiKaos replied:

    Oh. My. God. Am I going to have to start to study again? I mean that problem I can do no problem, after staring at it for a full 7 seconds willing myself to recall what to do when a problem is in parentheses. But in 2nd grade??????

    woo. this parenting thing… it gets harder and harder… I feel like you just gave me fair warning that my 5 year old is going to be an adult in 2 years…

  3. elise replied:

    As a weird coincidence my fourth grader, Sarah, came home with a problem similar to that it was 73.89 + (2.1 – 4) = The only problem was that the teacher hadn’t taught them about negative numbers. (CamiKaos you always do what’s in parenthesis first)

  4. MetroDad replied:

    Wow! I’m impressed, LM. I remember being so proud of myself in 2nd grade because I was the only kid who knew the times table. Now, they’re studying algorithms? Holy crap!

  5. fidget replied:

    i second metro dad. second grade i was stoked that i knew the 9 times tables

  6. soberbriquette replied:

    I remember having timed arithmetic tests in third grade. On mimeographed paper.

    But I think this is exemplary. My 5 year old was practicing writing her letters today, and I got to thinking about how some schools don’t teach cursive writing any more, probably because they don’t have time for the basics. I don’t think cursive writing is particularly important, but what else is getting dropped that might be?

  7. Library Lady replied:

    My second grader isn’t doing that yet, thank heavens. But her 6th grade sister has a math curriculum that looks like what I was taking in high school and they are being rushed through it in order to pass the state’s “Standards of Learning” exam.
    If she’d been going to school ten or twenty years ago she’d be thriving in math. Instead she’s been near to failing. A in everything else, C or D in math.
    What really ticks me is she’s one of the lucky ones with active,educated parents. But what about all the kids who come from poor families, or families that don’t speak English as their first language?

    What’s being left behind, De (besides wayy to many children) is all the things that made school fun. I remember dance festivals at my school. I remember in 5th grade where we made a model Mexican village and had a fiesta. I used to get kids coming in for books for “colonial fairs”, or special science projects, or book reports where they dressed up as famous Americans. I see less and less of that each year.

    The only reason PE hasn’t been cut is that it’s part of the “No Child” standards. Recess has been cut to a bare minimum even while everyone is raving about childhood obesity and not enough time for free play.

    All that’s left in school is Japanese style rote learning. They learn the facts, and spit them back out on the test. But there’s precious little time for creativity and thinking skills.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is one of those topics all too close to my heart!

  8. Anjali replied:

    That’s crazy! I can barely remember how to do that equation now. Perhaps I should repeat the 2nd grade myself.

  9. Her Bad Mother replied:

    2nd grade?!?!? So I’m probably NOT smarter than a third grader?

  10. Jeff - OWTK replied:

    I am pretty sure I would be held back and would never move past middle school. Don’t they have real homework assignments and standardized tests that young as well – that is crazy stuff. Thankfully, I got my grade school diploma and joined the labor pool already. ha.

  11. Jody replied:

    That was definitely NOT second-grade work in the late seventies. We were still doing long-addition and basic division at that age. Sheesh.

    (Although, I don’t know, maybe it’s not that hard to remember the parentheses rule after all? Eh. It still seems like a Bad Idea.)

  12. thordora replied:

    My brain hurts looking at the word math.

  13. Carrie replied:

    They are expecting more and more and more out of the kids these days. We didn’t do anything like that till 6th grade, I’m almost positive. I remember we didn’t even learn to write a whole essay until 10th grade and now the kids have to start doing that in 4th grade. I personally think we are overloading our kids way too much. When I was subbing in VA the kids got a 15 minute recess. That was the only recess all day. Insanity!

  14. Charles Arcario replied:

    I’ll tell you how I handle that….

    I take my sons homework and do it myself. Then he corrects it and turns it in.
    I am currently, barely, passing the sixth grade. I am, however, a little worried about how I will do on the FCATS.

    I am a 38 year old father of two. I learn something new from both of them everyday.

  15. Elizabeth replied:

    My oldest son is just finishing the fourth grade, and I haven’t been able to help him with his math homework for two years now! Do you remember having to calculate the area of a triangle in the third grade? I sure don’t!

  16. Patricia replied:

    I am a second grade teacher and even I agree that kids are learning things at too early an age. The NCLB laws and state standards take out a lot of the fun side of teaching. We have to WORRY about how a developing 8 year old will stand up to millions of kids across the country. Every lesson that we do must somehow meet standards. I will say however that we do the parentheses lessons and the kids LOVE them….they think they are puzzles! 🙂 I make it as fun as I can! 🙂

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