Thirteens

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

This is kind of an addendum to the piece I posted about homework the other day. My daughter was doing her homework tonight, which, as I talked about, is bad enough. I kind of feel like a bad father making her do it. But, I looked at what she was working on. It was multiplication facts, for the number thirteen.

I stopped her and asked if that was really what it was. She said yes. I was blown away. I had only ever heard of multiplication facts going up to twelve. Schoolhouse Rock’s Multiplication Rock only goes up to twelve*. They’re doing thirteens now? My daughter said that they’re actually going to go up to sixteen.

I never really understood tens and elevens and twelves. Granted, there’s a trick for tens and elevens give you the fun repeating numbers and twelves are handy for converting inches and feet, but if you know zero through nine, you can do any multiplication problem, literally. What’s the point of memorizing larger numbers?

So, now on top of being annoyed at the homework in general, I’m upset that the homework isn’t even making her practice knowledge or skills that are worth having. It’s the ultimate example of busy work. One thing a nine year old doesn’t need is to be busier.

Of course, there could be some point to learning thirteens that I’m unaware of. If there is, I hope some teacher out there will chime in and let me know what it is.

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*It’s always bothered me that there are no Schoolhouse Rock songs for zero, one, or ten. I know they’re easy to do, but those could have been some fun songs we missed out on.

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