Equations

On Friday, I printed about three-hundred pages of maths revision. I’ve sorted, stapled the pages into sections and numbered them according to the grade the pupil would achieve if they could complete that section. That’s the way this guide is structured. I like it. It has a clear efficiency. For example, if you can work your way through bounds, you’re on a high C. Trigonometry, proportion and vectors – low A. Algebraic proofs and non-linear simultaneous equations names a couple of the toughest sections; the high A zone.

My problem is that I just never practised algebra enough to be comfortable with its mechanics. Luckily, Lulu is comfortable with algebra. Due to her intense training with Joe, our favourite recent Aberystwyth University masters graduate in Astrophysics (first class!), who I found on TutorHelp four years ago or so, Lu is an algebra warrior. Well, she isn’t scared of it anyway.

Man, I wish I was better at maths. I wish I could really help Lu with this. I mean, I can help her by carrying out the above activities like printing and stapling, but I can’t help her with the nitty gritty. When I see the nitty gritty, the first thing I want to do is run away – ostrich-style!

It is amazing to watch her. One of my favourite ‘watch this’ party tricks. And because I instantly recoil when I see a question which asks to make an equation out of something; a relationship, a graph or something strange going on in a circle, I love watching Lu not feel the same rising panic I feel.

There are 43 sections of the maths revision guide to complete. Sunday morning now and Lu’s on 32. Afterwards, she can start revising for the mock exam in November. The end-of-year exams in June were like mocks of mocks. These ones are the real mocks. Still mocks, but proper mocks.

It’s hard not to feel dazed. I never had so much exam preparation when I was Lu’s age. Funny, all this week I’ve dreamed of being her age. I haven’t thought about it in so long. I was in The Green School for Girls for my second year after moving back to the UK after a childhood in the States. It was both grim and surprisingly ok. I spent my time being terribly lonely and happily innocent.

Then last night, I had a crazy dream. I dreamt that Lu broke some rule in which she would be executed. It was somehow ok though in my dream – because the rule was that she would come back to life the next day. I was convincing myself that it was no big deal because she was coming back tomorrow – but when it happened, all senses left me. I started to yell uncontrollably. What if she didn’t come back?

Is this a maths-based dream? Another transformation of life into equation that I’m not going to be able to figure out? Whatever the answer, I can still do one formula. I know how to print. How to staple. How to find help. And how to stick around.

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