So math is hard. Or Nicole thinks it is. She “hated math.”
I think she probably also hated English and grammar, since she uses both rather poorly, but I digress.
“We use(sic) to do math workbooks.”
She thought they were “busy work.”
The problem, of course, is that math is like playing the piano or riding a bike. It’s a skill. You have to practice a skill to get good at it. That’s what math workbooks are. Practice.
One other thing about math is that we don’t study it in school solely to enable us to solve an algebraic equation at age 52, after a lifetime of working as a dog groomer. Lots of people go all the way through school and rarely use higher math again in their lives. If they really need it, they get a calculator or a computer does it for them.
What studying math does (all those workbooks) is teach students how to think logically and clearly and orderly. How to reason. How to solve problems step-by-step. How to look at, say, an area where you want to build a patio and figure out that you might need to level the ground first. And then, the next step might be to actually be able to determine when it is level. And then a further step might be to slope it very slightly so that water will not puddle in your patio but will run off.
It’s not just about knowing how to figure out, say, what level is, but how to think so that you know that getting the ground level is desirable or necessary. How to put things in order.
Problem-solving. A really good life skill. Brought to you by your math workbook.
But the zinger is the second highlighted sentence. What if you are “forced” to do math when you don’t want to, when you would rather just take a break?
What if you are forced to wait on a difficult customer when you just don’t feel like it, and would rather go to Burger King because you’re hungry, only you don’t have $10 to do that and you absolutely have to wait on that customer to get paid so you’ll have $10 to go get that Whopper?
Or what if your boss says you simply must load that truck with boxes by noon, only you don’t feel like it, and you’d rather take a break, so you just say, “Gee, I’m gonna take a break right now and I’ll do all that later”?
One of the real weaknesses of homeschooling in general is that homeschooling parents tend to give in to this sort of thing. In “real” school, the teacher assigns a paper to be turned in by Friday, and if you’re late, you find out that your “A” paper has now earned a measly “B” for being late. It’s a little practice at what life is going to be like when you’re grown and holding down an actual job with real responsibilities.
Homeschool parents are prone to say, “Well, it’s okay because Aunt Rhoda visited last night and I know you had to stop working on it to play with your cousin Mikey, so you can finish it tomorrow.”
I know about this. We homeschooled for quite a few years. It’s a problem without an easy solution.
But I digress again.
Math is hard for Nicole. She doesn’t like it.
I have no idea if Ryan Muller made this meme, or if he simply shared it. There’s nothing on it that identifies the author.
However, it’s bullshit.
Here are the actual statistics about murder, right from the official FBI website.
In case that’s hard to read, in 2014, deaths (murders) from firearms of all types totalled 8124. Murders using blunt objects as a weapon (including baseball bats)? 435.
I know Nicole thinks math is hard, but this is simple. 8124 is more than 435. A lot more.
And I am aware that the meme creator says that baseball bats are the most frequently used weapon in “violent crimes” and death does not always result from “violent crime,” but we’ll get to his mixed statistics in a bit. The overarching theme of the meme is death.
First let’s look at the bottom two items on the charming little graph she posted.
The meme’s author doesn’t bother to tell us if this figure is for one year (one would assume that’s the case) or for an aggregate of 12 years or three years, or if it is one year, which year. So we have to guess.
And that is sort of hard to do because neither of those numbers match up to anything on the FBI official report.
The total number of people murdered in the US in 2014 was, according to the chart above, 11961. I did a little searching through the FBI website and found a slightly different figure of 14249, but that was “estimated.”
If you opt for a different year, the figures are similar. None of them match the ones in the meme. According to the meme, there were a whopping 28292 homicides in the US during some unspecified period of time.
Notice that the meme maker made the figure for “non-firearm homicides” bigger than the figure for “firearm homicides.”
Not only is this inaccurate, it is wildly inaccurate. Firearms account for the overwhelming majority of homicides in the US annually, as you can see clearly in the FBI report above. Out of 11961 murders, 8124 were people who were shot by a gun.
And handguns accounted for about 3/5 of the firearm homicides. (See? A fraction. Scary.)
Now then. Notice the other things listed on the meme. Smoking. Medical errors.
Let’s talk about medical errors for a second. That’s a big scary figure, isn’t it? Gee whiz. 195000 people died from some doctor or nurse making a boo-boo. That’s bad, if true. Turns out, the meme maker cherry-picked the largest estimate he could find so he could make the scary line longer.
But even assuming it’s accurate, imagine what the statistic is for “deaths due to not having medical care for a treatable condition.” It’s estimated that 45000 people in the US die every year simply because they have no health insurance. (And yes, that’s an estimate and as such, is subject to error.)
But suppose there weren’t any mistakes made in hospitals simply because there weren’t any hospitals? I assure you, I’d be dead a long time ago. Actually, I probably would never have been born.
But the larger point here is about the reason for the meme.
The guy made the meme because he wanted to make it look like hardly anyone ever gets killed by being shot. It just almost never happens. Why, people are dropping dead all around us, getting killed in car wrecks, and falling down, and getting lung cancer. Guns? Pfft. Hardly a blip on the radar.
But you see, nobody intends to die from smoking. Nobody says, “Gee, I’ll smoke so I can commit suicide.” No medical person (except for the occasional serial killer) intentionally kills a patient. Medical errors are just that: errors.
And on and on. Not a single thing on that list is intentional except the two at the bottom: homicides.
So the meme is comparing apples and oranges.
And then in doing so, the guy cheats with his figures.
But he fooled Nicole because she isn’t good with fractions. I would suggest that maybe she needs to get one of those math workbooks and do some work in it herself, even if it’s hard and she doesn’t feel like it.