Today’s Rose is Rose comic strip reveals something that’s in the cultural background about math homework:
Can you name the background assumptions this comic strip makes, things that do not need to be stated explicitly for a wide audience to appreciate the comic?
I’d start with the assumption of math homework. Then, that the child needs help with the math homework. That the parents are the designated math homework helpers. That to be of help with the math homework, you need to know and understand the math yourself. However, parents either did or did not survive the math gauntlet at the level of math that their kid now faces. And that for folks who didn’t survive the math gauntlet, a fear of math is at least as real as fear of spiders, and at least as permanent a condition.
For each of these underlying assumptions, something interesting could be written and at non-trivial length. I may be inspired to do so on some of these myself. But don’t worry, I won’t do so here. Let me just say that this entire blog is dedicated to the notion that whatever bad reaction you have had to mathematics in school does not need to be a permanent condition. “Math as a garden, friendly and always new” is this blog’s motto and its commitment.