My YourTeenMag essay about what I gained by helping my tween with her math homework

The first time my 12-year-old daughter asked me about hiring a math tutor for help with middle school algebra, I said “no” because, well, I’m cheap.

Plus, I felt confident that my partner and I could field her questions when they arose.

Then, a few months later, after I’d repeatedly stayed up until 11 PM with Lily, working on pre-algebra problems, my husband re-introduced the math tutor idea.

I slapped it down once again.

This time, though, my “no” wasn’t an outgrowth of stinginess and arrogance.

This time, it was because, in this pandemic moment—when my seventh grader holes up in her room for hours each day, pulling further and further away from her family and the world outside—these late-night middle school algebra sessions have become our lifeline back to each other.

I’ve had to invest some effort, of course.

The first problems Lily brought to me triggered foggy memories of y=mx+b, but God help me if I remembered what any of it meant.

So after an initial fight-or-flight blink of panic, when I wondered if hiring a math tutor would have been the wiser course after all, I searched for a Khan Academy clip and mumbled, “Sweetie, it’s been nearly 40 years since Mommy did this. Give me a sec.” READ THE REST HERE

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