Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Giving up, giving in, or retreating for now. How Algebra is kicking my a$$.


I went back to school last August. I incurred a mountain of student loan debt and was ready to finish my degree so I could finally teach. Things were going great, even if fast track online classes were making my head spin. Then came the class I have been avoiding for years. The class that is holding me back from finishing school. ALGEBRA.  I. HATE. IT. I do not understand anything beyond the very base level problems that require me to "Solve for x". What's worse,  I seem to be able to learn math skills,and have a low level of confidence,  and suddenly the information is just gone. POOF. Like it never existed. What in the hell is THAT about?

I thought it was just "math anxiety" which is a very real thing. Researchers at the University of Chicago  found that for people who get anxious at the idea of doing mathematics, just preparing to do a math problem can trigger activity in a part of your brain that registers physical pain. NO SHIT!!  When the subjects were asked to prepare to do a math problem, they showed significant activity in the posterior insula, an area deep in the brain that is associated with responding to threats and experiencing pain.

Yeah, that sounds about right. As a matter of fact, laying my hand on a hot stove burner is right up there on the list of "Things I Would Rather Do Than Math"  that, and stabbing myself in the eye with a pencil. Just thinking about this is giving me a math headache right now.

Where did that 0 come from?
I didn't do well with Algebra in high school, and now many, many years later- it is a million to the tenth power times worse. My brain seriously does not think in "theoretical" terms. Much like my son on the autism spectrum, I deal in concrete terms. If you give me a math problem, there should be a definitive answer. Not this bullshit, 6x+4y=15 where we are going to say y is 0 and x is 1. WHAT THE FUCK? Where did the 1 and 0 come from? How come making up numbers is ok? How is there a bazillion answers for one problem?? What the hell is a slope intersect and how do you graph it??  What is a function? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!?

Not THIS Khan
For three weeks I have sat at my kitchen table, using the numerous resources at my disposal- the textbook, online tutors, The Khan Academy (which is not teaching me how to shake my fist and yell "KHAN" in my best William Shatner voice), Purple Math (which is geared towards middle school age kids), other students, The Mister, Teenzilla, Youtube videos- whatever I can get my hands on. I am averaging 18-20 hours a week on the homework and about that much sobbing and throwing things. I have lost sleep, I smoke like a chimney and my family hides from me.  This can't be simple "math anxiety" and with these fast track classes I do not have time to seek a possible diagnosis for Dyscalculia which  is a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic. It is akin to dyslexia and includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning maths fact, and a number of other related symptoms. (Wikipedia) 


Learning is hard work, and it's easy to get lazy once you are out of school. This isn't the case. I am NOT lazy. I LOVE school. I have a 3.89 GPA right now. I AM intelligent. I just can't do math. Trying to see how algebra actually fits into my every day life is frustrating to say the least. This abstract crap does NOT fit into MY everyday life! I truly believe that I have no practical use for graphing inequalities.

NEVER going to need this
So what do I do? I have been TRYING so damn hard. I am truly doing the best I can. I hate to fail at ANYTHING- I have never felt so much like a failure than I do now. I do not have the time or financial resources available to re-take this class- much less an Algebra II class. I am ready to just give up. I mean- what would be any different if I fail and then take this class again? The understanding of Algebra isn't going to magically appear. And seriously, pushing 40 years old- taking 3-6 months off to get counseling and intensive tutoring just isn't going to happen. I am already at the edge of the curve to be hired- what with all the baby faced youngsters flooding the teaching profession.  

Someone commented on one of my many ravings on Facebook that I wouldn't want my kids to just see me give up. What they are seeing mom lose it daily, cry, snap at everyone and just be generally miserable. They are watching me sit at my kitchen table, asking for help, trying to do the work for HOURS on end to the exclusion of EVERYTHING else...sometimes even dinner. What they are seeing is mom doing her very, very best, and not "getting"it. Hard work is not something I am afraid of. Hard work with no reward and a big fat "F" is. 

Instead of calling it "quitting" I will call it a calculated retreat.  In the meantime,  if anyone needs me, I'll be under the covers with a glass of wine and some chocolate  ruminating on my failure. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

I choose......YOU!

I was very surprised and honored when I found out that The Mommy Ref nominated me for The Liebster Award!  I have been nominated for this once before, and it was just as big of a surprise- especially since I am such a lazy blogger!

So now it's my turn. Check out the "rules" for The Liebster Award and enjoy!

This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support each other.

1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.

3. Choose 11 new bloggers (or with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them about the award.
5. No tag backs.

11 Random Facts About Red Vines & Red Wine

  •  ü  I have a fear of open closets.
    ü  I am afraid of thunderstorms
    ü  I am becoming increasingly OCD. Seriously, the glasses and coffee cups in the kitchen cabinet have to be “just so” or I get REALLY annoyed!
    ü  I like to eat saltine crackers with butter on them
    ü  My blog used to be called Ramblings of a Wineaux Mom. Drinking a glass of Sweet Red wine one night, I happened to eat a Red Vine. Then I decided to change the name!
    ü  I love Zombie movies, shows, books etc. Especially The Walking Dead
    ü  I have had an idea and rough outline for a children’s book for about 6 years.
    ü  I have been married for 15 years this July
    ü  I collect pigs. I LOVE pigs!
    ü  I love the movie White Chicks
    ü  I used to be a cheerleader. I really really love cheer. I coach pee-wee cheerleaders in the summer. Teenzilla hates it. I made her do it anyway. 

    Questions from The Mommy Ref

    1.  Why did you start to blog? I like to write, and I thought, what the hell? Then I started reading Moms Who Drink and Swear and that was it!  I wish I blogged more- I really need to be more disciplined about it. Right now though, school is taking up most of my time.

    2.  Do you have a story behind your kid(s) name(s)? My oldest is named after Meggie’s son in The Thorn Birds (Dane) Teenzilla was difficult, all of us started with “D” and I kind of wanted to stick with that- but I didn’t like any “D” names. The Mister woke me up at 1:00 in the morning about 3 weeks before she was due and said RYLEE! And so it was. The Boy, we both really liked Noah! Each of their middle names is a grandparent as well.

    3.  What is your favorite sit com? The Big Bang Theory, New Normal and Modern Family

    4.  Have you ever been to another country? Mexico and Canada. I went to Tijuana when I was in high school, and I live about 20 minutes from Windsor Canada. Only been there a couple of times though!

    5.  What is your favorite ice cream? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. YUMMMMM

    6.  What did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer! I was going to go to NYU and live in New York. Getting preggers at 16 sidelined that!  I started teaching preschool when Teenzilla was 2, and never looked back. Now my goal is to teach special ed with a focus on ASD and implement an ASD program in our school district.

    7.  Are you allergic to anything? Walnuts- funny story- our wedding cake was made by my sister’s mother-in-law and was full of walnuts! I could only have a teeny tiny bite and even that made my tongue itchy

    8.  What state would you move to if you could? If I could afford it, I would move back to California. Temperate climate, we were right by the ocean, I loved it- except for the cost of living!

    9.  What is something you want to accomplish before 2013 is over? Lose 20 pounds and to get through these damn algebra classes without killing anyone!

     10. Who is your celebrity crush? Hmmm…. I guess I would have to say Nathan Fillion- he is so damn sexy, and funny. I bet he is amazingly cool in real life!

    11. What were you doing at 8am this morning? Shooing kids off to class as I left my part time job as a morning latchkey provider. 

       Questions from me to my nominees- you know- to stalk them better!

    1) Are you a Night Owl or Morning Person?
    2) What is/are your favorite book(s)?
    3) How many kiddos do you have?
    4) Why did you start a blog?
    5) What's your favorite junk food?
    6) What did you want to be when you grew up?
    7) If someone offered you $20 million dollars, but you had to give up one of your senses, would you? Which sense?
    8) What is your favorite movie? One that you will watch over and over and over?
    9) If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
    10) What is your favorite color?
    11) If it could be one season all the time, what would you pick? 

        and now MY PICKS for the Liebster Award- go check them out- they are awesome!

    Yep- pretty much all Autism related- but all wonderful blogs, and you should check them out!