Helen Bach: Daughter’s homework doesn’t add up

It's time for Helen to concede she's probably not smarter than a 10-year-old
It's time for Helen to concede she's probably not smarter than a 10-year-old
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I always knew this day would come, just not as soon as this.

Yes, I’ve got to the stage where I can’t help my daughter with her homework.

It transpires that in answer to Noel Edmonds’ question ‘Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old?’ I would have to reply ‘It appears not’.

It’s the maths that’s got me stumped.

In fairness to me, they seem to teach maths – sorry, numeracy – differently to how I was taught back in the mists of O-Level time.

However, even with looking at examples online courtesy of BBC Bitesize (please tell me, however did we manage without the internet?) I still can’t figure it out.

I did my best, had to admit defeat and then mutter the familiar parental line ‘We’ll have to ask your Dad when he comes home.’

So, after dinner, with the whole family involved – OK, the puppy took more of a supervisory role and simply stole slippers, but at least he was there being supportive – we managed to get the first question done in about an hour.

I jest not. It’s some sort of Sudoku-type puzzle – I imagine it’s only found on a website proclaiming ‘Maths is Fun!’ – where you’re given clues, then have to work out two sets of answers, and fill them in on a grid following instructions.

Once you’ve done this – which we did, eventually, after much scribbling, crossing out and starting again – you then have to do an extended re-mix version creating your own clues.

What fun for all the family! No, it isn’t actually.

It’s really, really hard and I just can’t do it.

I’ve tried, but it appears my brain just isn’t suited to extreme mathematics.

I think I’ve got to the Homer Simpson stage of every time I learn something new it pushes something old out of my brain.

My next move is to see if the answers are online so I can work out how it’s done.

I may even try to convince daughter and husband I figured it out myself, just for fun – I don’t think they’ll be fooled though!

Read more from Helen here.