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Equilateral, Equiangular, Equal Measures – Who Cares?

I have to say, first off, that I simply don’t care! I really don’t. Math wasn’t my favorite subject in school. I did okay until after Algebra and I then I started to struggle. Teaching the advanced math in a home school can be quite a challenge for many moms, not just me. This I know. Teaching upper level math to a dyslexic is a whole new experience. Oh, you have no idea. Or maybe you do.

My sixteen-year-old always wants to know why. If something isn’t relevant to his world, if he doesn’t think that it ever will be, if it simply seems tedious for the sake of being tedious, getting it into his brain is a most difficult thing to accomplish. Hence, I am often struck with questions out of the blue and comments that cut me to the quick. Today, it was equilateral and equiangular and measures and lengths of triangles. I have to be honest. I read his questions and my first reaction (on the inside) was a heavy sigh followed by an exaggerated roll of the eyes with a feeling of being trapped followed quickly by panic, then despair! Outside, I stalled for time. I did the usual … umm … then I went and got the answer key book. My hubby happened to call just at that moment, so I threw the questions to him. Here are the questions:

“If two sides of a triangle have equal lengths, then what is true about the angles opposite those sides? If two angles of a triangle have equal measures, then what is true about the sides opposite those angles?”

Okay, I don’t know about you … but my reaction is who cares! This, of course, was my son’s reaction. Of course, I couldn’t let on that I felt the exact same way. Why not, you might ask. Why not let him know that he isn’t alone in his frustration? Well, let me tell you. I battle with this child enough as it is getting him to care about that which he does not care about. Feeding into that way of thinking and that mindset is in opposition to my goals for the day. It wasn’t an option. Pretending to know what the heck they were talking about and pretending to portray that this is actually important stuff in the grand scheme of life was not a good option either, but I had to do it. It was painful, which was why I was glad for hubby’s phone call. Right? Wrong.

I mean he is at work. He isn’t in the moment. He would have to do a quick switch from general tax accounting to Algebra (or rather geometry) and he can’t spend a lot of time on the phone anyway. Plus he is THERE and we were at home. The general gist is he blew me off! At this point my son in the school room, who is sitting there doing physics (having already done his calculus) chimes in a just little bit with a quick explanation spoken so rapidly I didn’t quite catch it let alone understand it. Then with obvious irritation he refuses to answer my question, saying that it would have to wait till his physics was completed, which I totally understood.

See, I am faced with the fact that my oldest will not be here next year to help me when these types of issues arise. In the past it has been a whole lot easier to ask him to explain it to his brother, since he does have a good grasp on it having just recently finished the course himself and for me it has been … well, a whole lot longer. I am trying to get used to the idea that he won’t be around. So, today, I thought I could easily handle this one on my own. I found myself, though, feeling befuddled, frustrated, and completely apathetic. Trying to work up enthusiasm and a logical explanation seemed quite out of the realm of possibilities. Remember, of course, that my sixteen-year-old is sitting there the entire time huffing and puffing and complaining and expressing all the things that I am feeling inside but cannot give into. Teach by example, right? Disciple by example, right? “Do all things without arguing and complaining that you may be come blameless and pure without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life.” Right! Well, I wasn’t a very brightly shining star. I must admit!

Of course, the answer is pretty easy as often the apparently hard questions are. They are asking for something so obvious that you figure that they must be asking for something else entirely, when they are actually asking for the obvious answer. This of course led to the next logical question: what is the difference between equilateral triangles and equiangular triangles? Come to find out they are just different ways of expressing the same triangle, which of course was a point they were trying to drive home to begin with, much to our consternation! If you are dyslexic these types of things absolutely send you over the edge! When you are a home schooling mother to two dyslexic sons, these type of things absolutely throw you into immediate, “Why in the world am I doing this?” mode.

I was proud of myself. I almost literally shook myself like a dog does who has gotten wet. I wiggled my head back and forth shrugged my shoulders and walked out of the room. Patience, practice, perseverance. It is all okay. God is in control. It doesn’t all depend upon me! God is good. Life is good. I am blessed. I am a child of God. I am co-heirs with Christ. Yes, I have to quote the promises to myself in order to remain calm and assured. Does it work? Well, sometimes. Actually, a lot of the time. Do I still fail? Yeah! But who knows how badly I would have failed if I had not tried to at least remember the promises! Right?

“What are the measures of the angles of an equiangular triangle? What are the measures of the angles of an equilateral triangle?” Does anyone care? Well, apparently the writers of this math book. And apparently knowing that the answer is 60 degrees and that both these triangles are the same is something one must know in order to continue onward. Or so my oldest son tells me as he sits and calmly does his calculus and physics by himself and gets a 100 on both! Thank You, Jesus for that! What do I think? Hogwash and balderdash! Don’t know where that comes from—a book or a movie or something. But anyway, it expresses my gut reaction to such mathematical nonsense. Just please don’t tell my sixteen-year-old son. Then I would have to explain to him why knowing what words are prepositions is important. I don’t want to have to do that. At least I AM good in grammar. Giving him the answers in that subject is easy. Motivating him in that subject, though, is even worse than math!

Measures, lengths, angles, triangles, whew! Who cares? Jesus. “Do all things unto the glory of God.” That is the gist of it. It is work put before us today. It is work that has come straight from the hand of God. We must do it well. We must do it well for Him. And I must portray that character quality in front of my sons. I must live it out. And I thought home schooling would be good only for their character. Ha!

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