IT FRUSTRATES THE HECK OUT OF ME!
I went to school. I paid my dues. I did my homework. Sometimes. When Have
Gun Will Travel was in re-runs. WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO DO IT NOW? I’M
I knew all the president's names when I was in school. And no wonder—there
were fewer of them then. I used to think prison conjugal visits were where they punished the prisoners by making them recite
Anyway, my 14 year old needed help last year. On math. Algebra.
I found the answer, and I told him his was wrong.
“How’d you get that answer?” he wanted to know.
“Well, you take this number and put it over here and it becomes a negative
“Why did you put it over there? Mrs. Brown says you have to add this
number to it first, then subtract it on that side.”
“Why add it to that side if you’re just going to subtract it again?”
“Mrs Brown says—”
“I don’t give a rat's butt about Mrs. Brown. I want to know why
“I don’t know. You just do. It’s like the silent k in know.”
“Nobody knows why there is a silent k in know. You don’t pronounce
it, but you have to put it in when you spell the word.”
“That’s English. We’re doing math.”
“Yeah, but Mrs. Brown says–”
By then, I am a little testy, and more than a little immature. “Mrs.
Brown. Mrs. Brown. Why don’t you call your precious Mrs. Brown and ask her the answer?”
He frowned at me. “No.” the 14-year-old said. “I’ll
do it your way.”
“Our way,” I cooed and kissed him on the cheek. What a bright young
man to see the wisdom of his older parent.
He was an hour late coming home the next day. I asked him why.
“Math corrections,” he said. “We failed.”
Ever been there? Well, there is
hope and help online.
At www.homeworkhelp.com, there are online tutors. You have to register for the service, and it’s free, but they have an online store and encourage
you to patronize it.
www.pathwhelp.org/path is a non-profit organization that has message boards, email help, live help in chat rooms, a knowledge bank and links to
www.homeworkspot.com has online encyclopedias and other resources.
www.math.com has math help from basic to calculus
www.knowitnow.org is an Ohio
site with online tutors.
www.infoplease.com/homework/ has words of the day, online resources, daily spelling bees and homework helps.
www.schoolwork.org/math.html tons of formulas to work
math problems, exercises and a cool game to try using math skills: ThinkQuest
provides some interesting ways of learning math skills. One of them is the Hex
Agency: a high-stakes espionage game with a little of Mission
Impossible thrown in.
www.factmonster.com My personal favorite is a huge site with games and resources and
cool facts. For instance—did you know The largest currently known prime, 230,402,457–
1, was found by Dr. Curtis Cooper and Dr. Steven Boone of Central Missouri State University on Dec. 15, 2005. It has 9,152,052 digits. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering a $100,000 award to whomever is the
first to find a prime number with at least ten million digits; it seems likely that this will be claimed within the next few
And a couple of new ones: http://www.veritasprep.com which offers classes in how to prepare for exams ( though this is a school and not just online tips)
And Sum Dog which has tons of online math games to entertain kids and give them practice in math skills.
Anyway, I'm prepared this year. I know the sites.
AND the silent K thing? According to my sources (online, of course)
"The silent 'k' in words like 'knight', 'knock' and 'knob' is a remnant of Old English, and wasn't silent
at all but was pronounced along with the 'n'. Nobody really k-nows why or when it became silent but this change is believed
to have transpired sometime around the 16th to 17th centuries. For some reason the 'kn' consonant cluster became hard for
English speakers to pronounce. Perhaps it's the result of foreign influences; after all, England began colonizing the world
at a large scale around this time. This phenomena is just one of those mysteries of English language development -- along
with the Great Vowel Shift."
What is the Great Vowel Shift?
Gee, I don't know. Maybe Mrs.
Brown has a theory.