Algebra. The dreaded subject by many highschoolers, and the very subject that gives my son and me grief every school morning.

This is stupid….this doesn’t make any sense…. why do I have to learn this…when will I ever use this in life….

…..are the broken record of phrases frustratingly sung by my son.

As I nod in agreeance with most of the song, I know deep down there’s not much more I can give him in an answer than learning to be a part of a system of expectations.

Because really, what significance does this have on his future? Is learning algebra going to make or break him?

Yeah, there may be a few things he’ll use, and maybe even a lot more if he picks the right industry, but in my limited experience, I don’t see very many people in their daily lives having to figure out what the cube root of a number is and then in turn having to find its square.

So why….WHY…do we continually subject ourselves to such misery? It’s the system.

Someone, somewhere saw the value in all high schoolers learning algebra so a spark began and now it’s part of the system of expectations of those who graduate high school. Unless I’m going to buck the system (there are some that successfully do), work to change the system, or find a plausible, honest way around the system, I must conform to these expectations in order to give my child and our homeschooling credibility in this world.

It’s not a conformity that doesn’t instill questioning — because responsibility means we shouldn’t blindly follow all standards — and it doesn’t mean that I have to like it or agree with it, it just means we’re going to do what is necessary to gain access to success even if we are gritting our teeth the whole time because we don’t see the point beyond meeting an expectation.

And then, we can find our own values to get us through the frustrations in seeing that, though we would rather spend time on more relevant studies, it is teaching my son to:

  • Do hard things he doesn’t agree with to get what he ultimately wants.
  • Fail at something that doesn’t come easy thus eventually overcoming it with hard work.
  • Work hard through problems by using analytical skills.

These are hard, usuable lessons he WILL use in life.

No, we don’t necessarily have to learn these hard lessons through Algebra, but hey, it’s what we are choosing to conform to for a higher goal, so let’s do our best to harbor what can be positively gained in the circumstances we find ourselves in even though it’s hard.

Thus, in the bigger picture of it all, it will help him to conform to the system that needs no changing or questioning. That is God’s system.

And if we as humans can learn to adhere to fallible human systems to accomplish our goals, how much more can we submit to the infallible system that may have aspects we can’t totally understand with our human minds yet gives us the ultimate goal.

In the end — Algebra or no Algebra — if my children can learn to conform to God by doing the hard things in His perfect system, then they will accomplish their greatest success.

Prayer:
So many things in this life are difficult to comprehend, yet You, my LORD, are sure and true. We have goals to accomplish to gain access to a career that provides financial support and sometimes that means doing hard things that we may not fully understand. Give us a heart that is willing to conform when necessary. Help us to always see the value in the big picture of what is really important in serving You every step of the way. We may not always agree with the human systems we find ourselves in — and sometimes we may need to work to change it — but Your system expressed through the word is perfect, and we can put all trust in that. Amen.

Truth in love,
Heather

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