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October 3

Blog Day #4

X squared + Y squared = R squared

Last night was curriculum night at the high school Offspring #2 attends. Don’t’ get me wrong. I adore curriculum night. It’s the one time I truly get to see the environment where my prodigy spends his day and meet the educators who are attempting to format the grey matter in his brain and gain an edge over the lobe areas that the Xbox has melted. However, it is also the night in which I truly question how I ever managed to pass high school yet alone graduate from University. REALLY? I think they may have f*&^ed up some calculations somewhere when they handed me that diploma.   Because in all honesty – I have no idea what the educators in the Junior Year classes of High school are remotely talking about.

We begin with Pre Calculus. Now granted I was a Marketing/English Major in college and my Usually Lovely Husband takes care of the Math and Art related Homework areas whereas I cover all proofreading and Literature related areas plus lunches. However, this cheery man in somewhat baggy trousers starts his introduction to Pre Calc by pointing to an equation neatly written across the new age blackboard (which is now white and doesn’t require asthma inducing chalk dust) that reads: X squared + Y squared = R squared and says calmly, “Now this is a challenging equation because as we all know Y squared can’t be a function”.


My eyes are glazing and my head is starting to throb and I feel a hot flash coming on. Isn’t this supposed to be PRE Calculus? As in not REAL calculus? You know PRE usually means the baby step right? Like PRE School is before real school and PRE nuptials is before the real marriage.   Whatever happened to the times tables? I can manage those!

My eyes dart wildly about the room to see if anyone else comprehended this language. Dammit – large man in baggy sweat jacket nodding his head vigorously. Skinny lady in polyester shirt following with focused gaze. I sneak a glance to my right to see my friend with eyes as big as saucers. We exchange quick deer-in-headlamp horrified gaze.   My pulse slows ever so slightly. Someone else appears to be in near panic as well.

I whisper from the side of my mouth. “I was an English Major.”

She nods so vigorously her hat nearly falls off. “Same.”

Okay, so this Math stuff is a little harder than I remember. I’ll just move on the Child #2’s second class while I still have a little dignity and am just slightly sweaty.

Physics.   This should be interesting right? Plus one of my bff mom friends is there with me.   We take the back row together chatting and giggling and talking about Homecoming like we were in the middle of a flashback scene from our own hormonal high school days.   The bell rings and we are treated with an insidious glare from the teacher and immediately turn into model parents once again. She begins to explain the material to be covered throughout the year and I feel another hot flash dangerously lurking and my eyes begin to glaze as she intones, “Of course, we all know that the universe is basically made up of these four components.”


I think we can safely assume she is not talking about wine, cheese, laundry and dog hair which seem to be the four main components of my world. As she turns the conversation toward quarks, which I am presuming to not be a kind of mild cheddar, I feel my brain start to send off sparks of alarm that I am in over my head. I glance at my gal pal, who meanwhile is faking the biggest knowing glance she can muster, just as the world’s largest fly drops like a stone onto the desk in front of her.   Could this be a profound explanation of some scientific theory involving gravity and space or just a sign from the heavens that we are idiots? Perhaps, but it also seems to be a catalyst for the two of us to explode into the kind of laughter which only escalates when you try to stifle it.   Irritated glances ensue from surrounding parents and shake of head and narrowing of eyes from teacher as she attempts to continue over our snorts and gasps. Horrified that I have ruined Offspring #2’s reputation, I try desperately to cover my name tag and pray teacher has vision challenges of the over fifty crowd. Thankfully the bell rings and we escape like lambs from slaughter.

The evening continued with Engineering, American Literature and AP US History.   I am flummoxed that my prodigy is immersed in this on a daily basis.   I simply do not remember school being this hard when I was younger.   Did I really lose that many brain cells drinking gin in college or is this generation of persons just a whole lot smarter?

Suffice it to say, however you answer that question – I have mad respect for how hard our youth is working and more mad respect for the educators who patiently spend day after day keeping them challenged and motivated.   It’s a thankless and undervalued job in our society to be a teacher or a teenager and I am duly humbled by both.