Tag Archives: math

Train Wreck Math

The other night Jake needed help with his math homework and unfortunately for both of us, Jason was not home yet.  So, poor Jake had to enlist my help.  It was late and I was tired which just set the whole thing up to be a comical train wreck.

He needed help with word problems.  I like words.  I don’t like math.  And the combination of the two sets my poor, tired brain on overload.  All the problems went something like this – “if two trains traveling in opposite directions leave the station two hours apart and the second one is traveling 45 miles faster than the first one…”  This was math homework but there were more words than numbers.

It was late and I was tired.  Did I say that already?  Everyone in this house knows that I don’t do well late at night.  But I was ready to give it a go and try to help the kid.  I realized quickly that I was having difficulty even trying to explain the process to him – which made me feel stupid.  In an effort to buy some time so I could jumpstart my brain I suggested we get out some scratch paper and both work on the problems – he on his paper and me on mine.

I tried.  I really did.  Did I mention that it was late?  I seriously could not get the darn things even set up.  Here is what my paper looked like.  Can you find the little choo-choo drawings?  So pathetic.

 I was ready to throw in the towel when a text came in from my dear friend Kara.  Our text thread went something like this…

Kara:  What are you doing up so late? Lots of lights on over there!

Me:  Math with Jake :(

Kara:  I’m sorry for him.

Me:  Me too.  Want to help?  Set up and solve : two trains traveling in opposite directions leaving the station two hours apart…

Kara:  Ummm no!!!. I’m good.  Have fun 😉

Me:  Do you think if I’m lucky one of these trains has a snack car?

Kara:  For your sake I hope so.

Me:  Maybe a bar car too.  I’m on the train for dummies.  I was never on the smart train.  I think my train may actually derail very soon. Good night!

Jake sat staring, a look on his face somewhere between bewildered and amused. He looked at my paper and then at his and I am sure he wondered how I possibly made it through college.  He smiled sheepishly and told me he liked the little train drawings.  I apologized for not being more helpful.  He told me not to worry about it and that he “got it.”

And then quickly said that going in early the next morning for a little more help – from the teacher – might be a good idea.

Smart boy.  He must be on the right train.