Parents: How much math homework do you do?
Many parents tell me there comes a point when they stop feeling useful at homework time. Louise Epstein, the Fairfax County parent of three gifted mathematicians, said she challenged her daughters early on, creating word problems for them when they were toddlers. But her math instruction ended when they reached sixth or seventh grade.
She recalled the day her oldest daughter -- now a physics major at Cal Tech -- brought home a "challenge problem" from an honors math class at Longfellow Middle School.
"This is beyond me," she remembered saying. When her husband came home, he gave it a go. He dug out old textbooks and applied what her daughter called "brute force methods" throwing calculus formulas at it.
"He spent a very long time" on that problem, Epstein remembered. The next day the class solved the problem in a few simple steps, she said. She and her husband both have law degrees from Harvard University, but they don't come across equations very often, she said.
What's it like for you?
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