Of Solo Parenting Time and the Quadratic Formula

solving a quadratic equation notes
Much neater notes than our own attempts to solve quadratic equations

One of the greatest challenges with being a single parent to multiple children is finding the time to have solo, one on one time with each child. As they get older it’s possible that their own schedules enable some solo time by dint of the siblings being at other people’s houses, but it’s tricky with my three because while my youngest loves having friends over for sleepovers, at 10yo she still only sleeps if she’s with me or her Mom. Which means it’s darn hard to have solo overnight time with either of the older children.

As I have mentioned a few times here at GoFatherhood, my oldest opted for an online schooling program this year so she’s doing a full – and surprisingly academically rigorous — 11th grade curriculum entirely online through a California based school called Laurel Springs. It’s tough, and the classes that she’s having the most difficult time with are math and biology (while she’s flying through history, American literature and photography!)

Truth is, I have the faintest memories of taking a biology class in high school but nothing since then, and when my kids have studied chemistry I’ve had to admit that I have never had a single chemistry class, not in high school, college or my graduate work. Oh well. But math? I can do math.

So after much finagling and schedule tweaks, A- and I worked out a plan earlier this week where we’d work on mathematics for the afternoon followed by a binge watch of one of our favorite TV shows, Bates Motel, a show that is inappropriate for both my little one and my 14yo son (though he’d vociferously deny it).

Three hours of quadratic equations.

You know, the ax2 + bx + c = 0 problems that you likely have blocked from your memories.

Three hours.

And darned if we didn’t actually find it fun and easy. In fact, while A- still has a classic math student challenge of keeping track properly of all the + and – signs as formula are written, simplified and solved, I kept looking at the problems and seeing the solution laid out directly, something I don’t remember being able to do when I was in high school.

We must have been doing something right because after we worked for a few hours, she delved into a unit test and scored a solid 81/100. Great. Our goal for this class isn’t perfection but rather to get through with an acceptable grade, and 81%? That’s pretty darn good in my book.

We moved into some other math subsequent to the test to keep the forward momentum, then popped out for some delicious Chinese food from a local favorite, China Gourmet. Then it was time for the great Bates Motel marathon. Five episodes, including the season 2 finale. We wrapped up at 11.30pm. Awesome fun.

Most importantly, it reminded me of what a wonderful, smart and delightful daughter I have, someone who is too often content to remain in the background while her younger brother and little sister are doing their noisy best to hog the limelight.

Solo time. Smart. Good for your children and definitely good for us single parents, a chance to remind us of what terrific little people we are blessed to have in our lives for a brief period of time.

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