Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Math, part 2: Calculus

This school year, Luke and Ariel have been taking calculus at Chattanooga State. I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure how they’d do, etc. Once again, I worried about nothing.
When Ariel returns from class she’s giddy. That’s right giddy. One day, Cal leaned over to me and whispered, “She’s acting like she’s been on a great date.” I whispered back, “I know, she’s like this every day. And it’s calculus.” We shrugged our shoulders. How can someone be giddy over math?
The other day she sat with me on the couch and told me in near breathless terms about the glories of anti-derivatives. After she finished, her face fell and she said, “You don’t seem very excited.” I said, “Ariel, it’s like you’re speaking Swahili to me.”
I mean, anti-derivatives, does that mean “against derivatives”? If it does, I could kind of go for that. Or, is it ante-derivatives, meaning “before derivatives.” Whatever that would be… This is the problem—I have to parse our conversations. And even when I do, they mean nothing to me.
The scary thing is when Ariel got home from class today, she gushed, “Next semester in Calc 2, it’s all anti(ante)-derivatives!” My eyes glazed over, and I said, “How exciting for you, sweetheart.” Can someone rescue me?!

p.s. Later in the day Ariel called out to me, “Mom, what’s 38 plus 26?” I said, “Ariel, you’re the math tutor—you should know you’re math facts.” She replied, “That’s what calculators are for.” I said, “What does that mean? Are you implying that memorizing math facts is for people who are bad at math—so they can feel better about themselves?” She just smiled and said, “Math facts are just toooo hard.” Hmmm, does that make me her private calculator?!

1 comment:

  1. You're not just my private calulator, but you are my portable private calculator. (You're just for the math facts, though, like 12 times 16. If I needed to graph a function I'd have to go get my graphing calculator.) *Sigh!*--So much effort is required in getting a calculator, that's why we need portable ones (i.e. mothers)!