Monday, January 19, 2009


From Wikipedia: An oxymoron (plural oxymorons or, more rarely, oxymora) is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. Oxymoron is a loanword from Greek oxy ("sharp" or "pointed") and moros ("dull"). Thus the word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron.

I remember the first time I heard about oxymorons. I thought they were so funny:

Military intelligence
Deafening silence
Icy hot
Same difference
Controlled Chaos
Nondairy creamer
Organized mess
Ill health
Jumbo Shrimp

This school year, I became aware of what I have decided is a new oxymoron: Sunshine Math.

Sunshine Math is an extra credit math curriculum that the kids bring home once a week. They don't actually get credit in their class for completing the weekly work. Instead, if they correctly complete a certain number of the Sunshine Math problems, they get rewards like a pizza party or some other chemical-ly, junk-y food that will send them into spasmodic fits so that we can't actually get them to concentrate and complete the next round of Sunshine Math. But I digress.

I may be alone in this, but I find nothing sunshine-y about math. In fact, it makes me feel distinctly cloudy or overcast when I open the kids' Monday folders and find the offending lesson for the week.

I probably get grumpy when the Sunshine Math turns up because it is so challenging that I can't even do it. Actually, I can complete the kindergarten level, but the third grade? Not even close.

Sad, I know.
Sunshine Math quickly became Eamonn's personal realm because it was clear I was in way over my head and apparently I was making comments like, "I would rather put a sharp stick in my eye," rather than help the boys with their Sunshine Math.

Now I longer break into a cold sweat, my mental health has returned, and I'm glad I don't have to do my least favorite thing anymore.


Kristie said...

Fifth grade was when I lost the math wars. I can never remember surface area, or circumference, or any of that stuff. Thank goodness Blaine got an engineering degree, so I can send the kids to him. But, as he keeps reminding me, he never actually USED his engineering degree. So in another year or two, we might be hiring a tutor for our version of sunshine math, which I agree, is not very sunshiny.

Marci said...

Come on you don't want to do MATH? What about statistics? :)

jean said...

I'm with you - there's nothing "sunshine-y" about math. We must've gotten that from the non-Garvin side of our families, though - I think Grandpa can STILL do math faster in his head than you can on a calculator! Eammon can help the boys with their math, you can edit their journal entries & term papers - sounds like a good trade-off to me!

Mamasita said...

I'm with ya sista! I remember my elementary age daughter asking me once what a rhombus was and I had to stall for time while I went and looked it up.

Of course, this is the same daughter who, several years earlier, asked me if I remembered Abraham Lincoln. I just "love" when she asks questions like these.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my site, i love hearing from ya!

Leeann said...

Oh Lord. Math. Hate it. Despise it.
I got my first D in fourth grade math and I never quite recovered.

Sunshine Math, my butt!