Friday, January 30, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Homework

This is actually more like a turnabout than a flashback for me.
I waited until my last semester, actually my last and only class before I graduate in April
to take the dreaded Statistics.

It seems kind of silly sometimes,
it sure would have helped me understand all those research papers I've read and quoted in the stacks of papers I've written. And "it's more a new way of thinking about things than math".

Seemed silly until yesterday...
Jennifer came down stairs and found me close to tears working on my Stats homework.
Actually I have been close to tears on a number of occasions since the teacher showed the first formula on the screen in class.
I had to take a deep breath and fight off the wave of panic.
"I can do this, I can do this" became my mantra.

So yesterday I pulled out the trusty calculator that has been used by my kids for years and began to work on a problem.

I quickly realized that I don't really know how to use a scientific calculator.
Push which button first before you enter the number to square it?
Aaaaaaaa! wrong one.... how do I get rid of it!
Christian came to my rescue and gave me a crash course in scientific calculators.
The next problem suggested using "crunch it" and the data sets provided.
"click here for instructions on how to use crunch it"
I clicked but couldn't find the instructions...
I went back to make sure I did it right, I found the data sets but now clue how to use them.
I'm OK, I can still do this...

So I opened my trusty spreadsheet software and decided to set up my own program to do the same thing. It would be better anyway, then I would understand exactly how it worked.
In theory anyway.

A few minutes later Jen arrived.
Usually the roles are reversed.
She tenderly put her arm around me and helped me figure it out...
allowing me to do it myself so I knew what I was doing.

Now we both know how to find the variance and standard deviation for any set of data as well as calculate the correct z score.

Last night I though of the many times my children have been close to tears in frustration while working on their homework and wished I had been as sympathetic and helpful as they had been yesterday. Celisa, who took statistics last semester promised to teach me "crunch it" when they come on Sunday.

Mark sat down with me too last night just to make sure I understood not just the mechanics but what it all means.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful and incredibly intelligent people.
With their help I really can do it!
It's good to know we are not alone.


Amy said...

Nice work! It is so great to have help close by.

MZ said...

Hang in there--you can definitely ace this course!

The Fifes said...

i love this post!! Dustin's in Calculus right now, and it's so fun for me to be able to help him since he hasn't done any of that for 8 or so years. Makes me feel helpful. So your kids get blessings too for helping you. :) And dustin understands things a lot better than he would otherwise!