10 Ways Sitting on a Tailgate is like Helping with Math Homework

I sat on a lot of tailgates at the Houston Auto Show. It made me think about how similar that is to helping kids with math homework.I was asked to be an influencer at the auto show last week. Every time we came to a different exhibit, I would drop a pickup truck’s tailgate and sit.

Someone commented on that.

“The tailgate is the most essential part of the truck,” I replied.

Which made me think about math.

Math is the most essential part of life. People don’t see it. But, like a tailgate, it is.

Regardless if you agree or not, here’s a fun comparison between helping your child with math and sitting on a tailgate of a pickup truck:

1. It’s better with friends.

Sure, you can relax while sitting on your tailgate alone. But it’s a great place to chat with your buddies too.

When doing math – your kids probably can get it done alone. But having a friend (or parent) around just makes it nicer.

2. Having a cold beer makes it better.

Mow the yard. Drop the tailgate. Crack a cold one. It’s almost like a Budweiser commercial!

You shouldn’t be stressed when helping with math. And if a beer takes the edge off, then go for it. You’re a grownup. (Note I am not suggesting you feed your child beer. This is to help YOU chill out.)

3. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t want to do it for long.

It sucks sitting on a grimy tailgate. Or a rusty, scratched up one. You can do it. But you’ll not likely hang around for long.

Is the math really hard? Are you having flashback’s from Mrs. Gullegde’s 7th-grade class? How long can you tolerate it? Not long. And I don’t blame you.Being a little uncomfortable is okay – and part of the game.

4. Being a little uncomfortable is okay – and part of the game.

Let’s be honest: pickups don’t come with frilly tailgate pads. After a while, the natural humps in the tailgate wear on the heiny.

And when you’re helping with math, it’s not all dandelions and unicorns. There’s challenge. And challenge, by its nature, is a little uncomfortable.It’s handy to have when you least expect it.

5. It’s handy to have when you least expect it.

You never know when you’ll need a quick place to prop yourself. At any moment, you can just drop the tailgate, and you have your own personal spot. Not to mention if you need to change a diaper in the parking lot – tailgates are GREAT for that!

Stuck in traffic with your child in the car? Do some addition practice with the license plates around you. And if you’re stuck in a doctor’s office, play the “find the shape” version of I-Spy.You get to do it your style. Nobody can tell you how to do it.

6. You get to do it your style. Nobody can tell you how to do it.

You can dangle your feet or sit criss-cross-apple-sauce. Or you can lay down. It’s your tailgate. It’s your way.

Teachers tell our kids to show their work a particular way. But we learned it differently. And that’s okay. You CAN still do it your way. You just have to translate it to that new way for your kid.

7. Different models are better for you than others.

Every automaker has a different style of tailgate. They “sit” differently (the feel on your bottom as you sit on it). They have different features. You might like some of them better than others. You might even hate some of them.

There are tons of different “maths” out there. (I hate calculus, btw.) If you like graphing but think logarithms are the devil’s spawn, that’s cool. You can help with the things you do like, and find a friend or tutor to help when logs come around.You may like it smooth, you may like it rough.

8. You may like it smooth, you may like it rough.

A smooth paint job on a tailgate helps when you’re wearing a pretty dress. But rhinestone encrusted blue jeans will tear up that paint job. Having a spray on bed liner is better for jeans.

People think you have to do math with a pencil. But it’s your preference. Your child might have to turn in pencil work, but pick smooth (ballpoint) or rough (pencil) based on how YOU feel. And what kind of paper you’re writing on.

9. Older is awesome. But maybe not better.

I love old pickup trucks. I’ll take an old Chevy over a shiny new Shelby Ford F-150 any day. But my truck gets 11mpg on a good day. And with each inch of driving, I’m adding to the pollution problem.

As a gen-X parent, you may like our old way of doing math better than this new math stuff they’re using. But they’re trying (trying) to teach our kids how to think. You can stick to your old way, but #fingerscrossed this new way should end up better.

10. Newer may NOT be better.

Countering #9, the new generation of “clean” trucks might also mess up the world, but in a different way. Only time will tell.

The “new math” looks like it might be a solution, but it could end up making math education even worse. Only time will tell.

What do you think?

What do you think about this comparison? Are you a pickup truck person? Do you see the connections?

And do you agree with the points about helping with math?

If you want support in your efforts to help your kids with math, join the free Facebook group Empowering Parents to Tackle Math!

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