Monday, August 23, 2010

Math class is tough!

People keep mentioning to me the 1980s era 1992 talking Barbie that says, "math class is tough!", expecting me to be outraged by it. Actually, I don't have any problem with that statement at all*.

I was offended by something else that the Barbie said. Does any one else remember that the doll also said, "Let's go shopping!"? The doll was conditioning girls to become consumers, but didn't give any balancing encouragement for girls to become producers as well. Are we valued solely for our purchasing power?

This weighs on my mind as I have been bombarded with back to school shopping messages for the past month and I am taking my daughter to register for middle school (6th grade) on Monday. Moreover, we still don't know which math class she should take. The students were given a couple of math placement tests in the Spring, but her scores were inconclusive. It may just be decided by what will fit with the rest of her schedule.

At least she will be rocking the back to school wardrobe I made/refashioned for her. We had fun putting it together, but I am under press embargo until after she has debuted them at school. She has given me permission to blog about the two dresses I made her for her 5th grade graduation. Stay tuned, and visit her blog.

* If you don't find that "math class is tough", then perhaps you should take a more challenging math class. One of the things I found most attractive about math was the state of "flow" that I achieved when working on difficult problems. This has helped me over many a rough patch in adolescence and early adulthood.



  1. For me Math class was tough. It was the only class I didn't find easy. I was able to skate through everything else, but math did not come naturally. It wasn't until later that I realized that that was a good thing - a sign that I wasn't working hard enough. I was able to pass that insight to my daughter and she was able to conquer calculus and graduate with honors. Math class is supposed to be tough.

  2. Since we're talking about math, let's make like a mathematician and see if we can find a still more general result.

    "If you don't find that your X class is tough, then perhaps you should take a more challenging X class."

    In my case, I'm not a physicist because I found my physics class easy, but because it was one of the few classes I took in high school that weren't easy (= boring).

  3. In public school math was easy (= boring). Things are much more rewarding and interesting if you have to work at them a bit. That said, physics was always a challenge for me no matter how hard I worked but in chemistry and math the harder I worked the more rewarding it became.


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