Monday, January 19, 2009

Checks and Balances - Math

Yesterday I spent most of the day getting our checkbook up-to-date. My last entry was 09 November 2008. That is three bank statements. I have been checking our account online to make sure everything looked okay. Amazingly I didn't have too much problems balancing the checkbook. The big problem was I couldn't find a couple of debit card receipts. There were also a couple of changes in our regular deposits that I wasn't aware of... or probably was aware and forgot.

The past few months more checks were written. Most of the time we don't write checks. Bills are paid through electronic bill pay. The necessities are either paid for with cash or debit card. Sometimes the credit card is used, but not often.

I know there are computer programs for balancing checkbooks. I tried one of those programs one time. I hated it. I prefer a pencil, checkbook register and calculator. Alas, I used to be able to do it without a calculator.

My Daddy was amazing with math. My Daddy didn't have much schooling. He was a farmer for the first part of his life. By time I came along he was going to school to become an electrician. He went to school and worked at a drive-in theater to support his family (four children). He retained his math skills all his life.

I wish that I had inherited his skills with math. I barely passed algebra. Then geometry! I could never figure it out. I could come up with the right answer to a geometry problem, but couldn't arrive at the answer the way I was suppose to!

In seventh grade "New Math" was introduced to me. I decided to look up on the internet to see why it was called "New Math". This is part of what The Straight Dope had to say:

"In the fifteenth century, when German parents wanted their kids to learn addition and subtraction, they sent them to local universities. To get them to learn multiplication and division, however, they needed to send their kids to Italy for graduate school. The new math that arrived in Europe soon after, which transformed CCLXIV x MDCCCIV into a problem that we can teach to sixth graders, was truly revolutionary. The new math of the sixties was, well, like many other movements of the sixties, disruptive, despised, and moderately beneficial, and is now still around, but incognito.

After Sputnik was launched, Americans felt the schools were in crisis. The National Science Foundation (NSF), created in 1950 to promote basic scientific research, was expanded in 1957 and began to examine and promote change in secondary school education in math, biology, chemistry, and social sciences. The changes in the curricula and texts had a filter-down effect on the primary schools as well. The main thrust of these changes was a switch from teacher "telling" and student recitation to "inquiry" and "discovery," with the hope that students would be more likely to retain information they found out themselves than what was just told to them in lecture form and memorized. In the hard sciences, and to a lesser extent the social sciences, this was described as "hands-on learning." It's a teaching technique still held in high regard by educators and parents today."

My seventh grade teacher, Mr. Austin, he made "New" math very interesting. He tried to teach us to do some math with Chinese-Japanese number characters. If we did well with our math he would read us stories from a book compiled by Alfred Hitchcock. I loved hearing the stories and I loved watching the Alfred Hitchcock show on tv. So I did very well with the "New" math.

I seem to use math every day... sometimes not very well. How much do you use math in a day?

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Still more astonishing is that world of rigorous fantasy we call mathematics. ~Gregory Bateson

If I'm losing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga. ~T. Guillemets



  1. I was terrible in math and very bashful. I had one of the only male math teachers and he really intimidated me! I laugh now that I hardly can double a recipe! ha My mom and brother loved to watch the Alfred Hitchcock tv shows. I think they saw them all several times over. Hope you have had a good day.

  2. Oh...good for you...I haven't balanced my check book in AT LEAST that long, LOL. I hated math as a I'm working as an aide in the middle school, and I'm TEACHING 8th grade math...and I tell ya...some of it is HARD, LOL.

  3. I would rather slam my head in the car door than do math. Hubby is good at it so he keeps up with all of that stuff.

    (RE:Nerve pain..I take Neurontin for it but there are times when it just doesn't cut it. )

  4. I am getting better about getting my check book balanced...I used to put it off for so long then I would have a mess. I can totally relate on the math. I think I just went to Algebra and that was it, I gave up. I think mostly because it was harder for me and I just hated it too much.
    I do use math pretty much every day now and sometimes I don't even realize that I am.

  5. I always enjoyed Math and even Algebra but I never went any further than that. I wouldn't know what to do with my check book if I let it go longer than a month. lol. I put almost everything on a credit card so I can collect the reward money. I only have one or two checks a month so maybe it wouldn't be so hard to straighten out if I let it go.

  6. I don't do that any more I look at my account on the Internet and let it do the book keeping. I was using quicken program. But failed to keep it up. What is good I only write a check for water bill at city hall. the rest are paid on line. and use debit card for purchases.
    Take care.

  7. I hated math in high school; ironically, in college, the class I had to take was by a professor who very much taught via the "new math" method...and I found the straight numbers problems we sometimes did in breakout discussions with a teaching assistant to be much more mentally relaxing!

    Thanks for visiting my Show and Tell Friday post about teapots a week or so ago (I'm just now catching up on the blog visits I owe!)

  8. I have never been a fan of math, but I am thankful that I learned a lot of the basics. Just don't ask me to use algebra! LOL! I have forgotten most of that!
    Have a great week!


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