Friday, January 21, 2011
My New Best Friend
In my pocket sized high school, there was one math teacher. Mr. Swanson. I loved Mr. Swanson. He had taught my mother too. (And she and he hadn't exactly made friends...my mom was a smart aleck. Her words, not mine.)
Mr. Swanson was great though. He taught algebra and geometry and trigonometry and calculus in graceful swoops across the chalkboard (and later dry erase board). The classes diminished in size as we went (there were three in my calculus class) and they were exhilarating times. We competed to get the answers done first and helped teach each other and always had Mr. Swanson when we were stumped. We never had math homework but a lot of quizzes and tests. We didn't even have math textbooks. We just had Mr. Swanson. He was all we needed.
I loved it.
I was enthusiastic to teach Braeden algebra. Algebra was fun!
Alas. I, my friends, am no Mr. Swanson.
And I don't understand algebra the way it is presented in the books. Mr. Swanson's algebra in all it's grace and elegance spoke a different language.
For this reason and several others, Braeden is going to start going to school all day for the second semester, starting in February.
It's a bittersweet thought. Bitter because all day! My boy! Say it isn't so!
Sweet because of algebra.
I have met with Braeden's future algebra teacher. He seems like a kind, math teacher sort of guy. He gave me the algebra book they're using so I can make sure Braeden's in the same place as the rest of the class when he joins.
To further complicate things, the textbook seems to be the exact opposite of the one Braeden had been using. The chapters we've struggled through already (yes, polynomials, I'm looking at you) are in later chapters and in this book they've already learned all about the joys of functions which was the final chapter in Braeden's old book.
So we've been cramming. (It hasn't been as much fun as you might think.) It mostly makes my head hurt. I don't have a teacher's edition so I've been plowing through the assignments myself so I have an answer key. I've been trying to relearn and translate modern day algebra vernacular into Mr. Swanson language so we can communicate.
Did I mention it makes my head hurt?
I made a lovely discovery. A reason to keep living. Glory Glory Hallelujah!
On the back of the course outline given to me by Braeden's future algebra teacher, there was a website students were encouraged to visit.
Maybe there would be help for my hurting head?
Enter Professor Edward Burger, my new best friend! My favorite person! The apple of my eye! There are videos on the website of Professor Edward Burger teaching all the concepts that are making me cross-eyed! As a bonus, he's quirky just like any good math teacher should be.
Braeden is currently listening to my knight in shining armor, a.k.a. Professor Edward Burger, explain about slope intercepts.
My head hardly hurts at all.