Recently, while “helping” my youngest son with his first semester kindergarten homework, I came across a word problem asking how many bases three cylinders and a pyramid possess. Admittedly, math is not my forte (I might not have a forte), but I can answer that: four.
“That’s not right, dad; it’s seven. We learned that in my class.”
“Seven?” I said. Oh, I get it—they’re (math users, an epidemic) counting each face as a possible base. I counted up the sides and got eleven this time (either it was a rectangular pyramid or I don’t count well, probably the latter). Despite my poor math skills, I know seven is not eleven.
His teacher hasn’t graded our homework yet, but I’m fairly certain he’s right (I vaguely remember confirming his answer via the Internet.) I thought math was supposed to be logical. I thought bases are on the bottom. Even if I stood on my head, I wouldn’t consider that the bottom of me (some people have made statements to the contrary…) And if I do consider the math top to be the math bottom, shouldn’t I apply that process consistently to cylinders and pyramids? I hate math now more than ever.
Regardless if my son is right or wrong, this is not a good sign. How am I going to help him with his third grade homework, the quadratic equations? Teach him how to hide the calculator? I can’t say, “What are you going to do? Carry a calculator everywhere you go?” He’ll probably carry a computer in his ear that makes my laptop look like one of those contraptions from the fifties that filled a whole room (but you still couldn’t play Gorf on it).
I guess that’s what tutors are for. Hell, maybe he can teach me the math I can’t remember.