At Classical Conversations, we have identified the five best excuses given for not attending a Parent Practicum that focuses on math. Or rather, I should say that some of these are excuses we have heard and some are excuses we have made up to be funny.
Excuse #1: I am Euclid’s great-great-granddaughter. Okay, okay, so no one has ever actually offered this excuse. However, you can imagine someone saying something along the lines that their relative (mom, dad, grandparent, and so on) was a good mathematician and then making the assumption that they, too, are good at math by virtue of their heritage. Math is not like eye color; it is a skill, an art, which one must practice with plenty of repetition. Michelangelo did not teach his apprentices a particular brush stroke one time and consider them masters of it. Neither should we expect to be masters of algebra, simply because we have once completed all of the lessons in an Algebra I textbook. If that is the case, we can hardly expect to be master mathematicians just because we happen to be related to one.
Excuse #2: Pi is something you cook in the kitchen. Wow. This one really takes the cake (pun intended!). I suppose this is intended to indicate that higher-level math is not practical enough to necessitate study. If math was simply something we learned in order to make our way through consumer shopping (making change at McDonald’s, for example), then this excuse might be valid. Math, however, is the language of the universe. It expresses beauty just as it serves a practical function. We are missing out on the beauty of math when we limit its study to solely utilitarian and pragmatic things. The Parent Practicum is the perfect place to find out that Pi is something worth tasting, even outside the kitchen.
Excuse #3: I am independently wealthy. Once again, this is an excuse that expresses that math is unnecessary unless you need it in order to “get by” in life. It is not—unnecessary, that is. Furthermore, even if it were unnecessary, you would be wise to heed the English proverb: “A fool and his money are soon parted.” If you are independently wealthy, learn math for the sake of not being the fool who will be parted from your independent wealth!
Excuse #4: My cell phone has a calculator. While it is true that the calculator on your cell phone can provide answers to various calculations, there is no substitute for exercising your mind. That which is not used, withers. A person who has been bedridden for even just a few weeks will notice the atrophy of muscles in his legs when he finally rises. How many people have made the connection between their failing memories and their failure to practice memorizing? Few, I suppose. The Parent Practicum will help you to exercise those mental math muscles. Forget having the coolest calculator on the coolest cell phone in town. Try having the biggest, fastest brain in town!
Excuse #5: The country is $16 trillion in debt! It sure is! That is why we need you to be at the Parent Practicum. A parent committed to learning math, loving math, and seeing the beauty in math will raise children who want to learn math, love math, and see the beauty in math. In addition to this, these will be kids who will understand math from the simplest concepts to the most complex concepts—the “stuff” that keeps homes, businesses, and nations financially solvent.
Why don’t you join us at our Parent Practicum? Bring your fancy cell phone; it is okay! Tell us about your great-great-grandpa Euclid; we would love to learn more about him, too! Bring a pie to share while we discuss pi; or buy one to bring if you are independently wealthy (you may need to bring more than one, however—bring at least 3.147!). We look forward to seeing you there!