Long Division Isn't Real


I was looking through my unpublished entries this morning and I found this:

4
th grade – The year I was homeschooled.  Mom had to bribe me with strawberry-orange-banana juice to get me to do my shoolwork.  

Mom had a psychological breakdown over teaching me long division.
  I hated long division because it looked more like dance-choreography than math and I was pretty sure that it wasn't actually real and my mom was just fucking with me for entertainment. 

My mom was like "First, you draw a line with a little hang-y tail!
  Then you write the big number inside the little half-box.  Then you write the little number on the outside!  Now, divide the the little number into the littlest part of the big number that is at least as big as the little number.  It probably won't fit exactly, but that's okay.  Figure out how many times it fits all the way and write that number on top of the box.  Now, write the number that the little number does fit into underneath the number that it doesn't fit into and subtract them.  Then draw a line.  Then write your answer under the line.  Then bring the next number in the big number down next to the number you just wrote.  Then hop on one foot and punch yourself in the face while singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star... "





IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!!!  Why would anyone do that with numbers?


To this day I am resentful of that stupid half-box with the little hang-y tail.  It should never have gotten involved in math.  It drastically altered my ability to take math seriously.

P.S. 
 I'll write a real post for you later today.   


21 comments:

mylittlebecky said...

long division is a lie. in other news, i love what you've done with the place, very fancy and festive :)

KatWalk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

Thanks, I needed a laugh today!

Twewi said...

Punching myself in the face was always my least favorite part of math homework.

Mildly Unstable said...

If you can find a math teacher in the United States who can clearly, concisely, and correctly explain the long division algorithm...then wow...because that m-fer is a bitch to explain. Especially to a 10 year old.

Cbellabell said...

Trust me, I've been teaching long division for 11 years, and even I know that it's child abuse.

Sarah P said...

Who decided you should go back to public school?

dogimo said...

268 is correct! 268 is correct!

When I lift my mouse and kind of squeeze it a bit, this little window machine drifts on screen and you can put numbers in its window and math them. I put in the numbers as shown and 268 is the true answer. Plus more pennies than is even possible, though. I'm not sure what the pennies are for but I think in math like this, the rule is: ignore the pennies.

Gigi said...

Ummm Allie? You totally lost me at "first you draw a line with a little hang-y tail..."

I hate Math; have always hated it. I clearly recall sitting at the kitchen table trying to learn my multiplication tables and sobbing - because I just DIDN'T GET IT! And guess what? I still don't. And that is why God created calculators.

Metallo Bianco Jewelry said...

I hate math. Coming from someone who has a Bachelors in Finance, long division is enough to make anyone have a psychological breakdown...spreadsheets were created for a reason. STUPID half-box with the dumb little hang-y tail!

Ed Adams said...

Math is the devil's crackpipe.

I don't know what that means, but it sounds badass.

Alison said...

This is exactly why I'm afraid to homeschool my sons. Psychological breakdowns that feel like you're hopping on one foot and punching yourself in the face while signing.

Alison said...

or singing. or whatever.

Allie said...

Long division was always an epic fail for me as well. This post accurately sums up the feelings I had throughout elementary school (and possibly feelings I still have towards anything that involves math...)

your blog is incredible! if you ever have time, please check mine out at http://alliekate.blogspot.com

miss. chief said...

I don't even get why they're teaching kids long division. Isn't that like the math of the pioneers? Why not just teach them how to steal land and eat cornucopias? (or maize-u-copias as the native peoples called it)

I mean...I have never ever ever ever felt the need to not google a math problem or use a calculator.

"oh, no problem, just let me long-divide that for ya. gimme 26 minutes"

Plus you have to do fricking multiplication and guesswork to figure out how many times the number goes into the number anyway. You may as well guess.

Or use your blackberry.

Angie said...

Don't feel bad. I had a hard time learning how to tell time. Like on a clock. My stupid teachers were teaching me "It's one fifteen, one thirty, one forty five" and my parents were teaching me "quarter after one, half past one, quarter to two". Needless to say, my 7 year old brain wanted to implode. So I wore a digital watch for a long time.

jazzlamb said...

I could hardly be able to type this because I was laughing too hard. I LOVE the randomness. Just what I wanted to keep myself up:P

ShineForLife said...

Love the post :) There's a decimal point in front of the two.

Rachele said...

I know I'm way late to this party, but, your problem is that you totally didn't watch enough "The Price is Right." Long division is all about coming as close as possible without going over. Meaning you guess, and then you look at the answer, and then you try again, and then you do it enough times to get really fucking good at guessing.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Oh my god, now I know for sure we're long lost twins, if twins can actually be born 20 years apart, and in different countries.

I too am a genius, but have never understood long division, and I too always believed it was a form of abuse.

I have to go lie down now.

kembial said...

You know something? Well, sure you do.

BUT, you will now know THIS after I tell it to you.

Back when I just learned long division, I totally got it. It was organized and you could stop and find out where you fucked up the numbers (usually after you turned in the work and got a big red X for being wrong) and fix it (or feel like a retard, because SERIOUSLY how did you make such an obvious mistake?)

Eh, my point... Oh yeah, as soon as I stopped using the skill, like the day after they stopped teaching it in favor of other stuff, I forgot how to do it all. For 10 years I've always felt a little foolish for not remembering, on the rare occasions long division was discussed. Long division SITUATIONS don't really come up, because calculators exist in the real world. Only in movies do the super geeks save the day by figuring out numbers in their head or on paper.

Um... my point... Right! Your interpretation of your mother's instructions totally reminded me of how long division is supposed to work. It made sense, and I get it again.

I now feel slightly more whole. And your mother just re-taught me long division by proxy.