Sunday, 14 March 2010

It's been 22 years and boy does it show!

I have been sitting with Alex for most of the morning so far, trying to motivate him to finish at least one piece of homework that is due in the next week. As far as I know,we have he has an English essay to research, a maths worksheet to complete and a rough draft of a SOSE (social studies/history) essay to write.

His English essay is on the effects of the internet on today's society and the pros and cons of the internet in general. One of the cons he had listed was the unreliability of some information on the internet; for example: on sites like Wikipedia. The best entry regarding this particular topic was found on .. you guessed it .. Wikipedia! We have managed to find evidence supporting some of the points he had made in his initial summary, but after trying repeatedly to find out the actual due date of this assignment, and whether or not it was to be done in class from his notes (quite a common occurrence), I we have moved on to his maths worksheet.

This worksheet was actually due at the beginning of last week and he has already received a lunchtime detention for not handing it in. However, as his teacher's aide explained to me, he is still required to complete the work and hand it in for a zero grade. I realise that this is supposed to teach them to hand it in on the due date next time, but that concept just does not fly with Alex. His logic is that he knows how to do all of the problems and has demonstrated this in previous tests, so why should he have to do it all again. I can understand his point but rules are rules, and contrary to certain people's beliefs coughcoughPetercoughcough, they don't just exist to be broken or bent so much they resemble a yoga master impersonating a pretzel.

I started doing some of the questions on my own piece of paper and was actually doing quite well with problems like:

If y = x(cubed) – 2x(squared) + 3x – 5, find the value of y when x = 4

therefore y = (4x4x4) - 2(4x4) + (3x4) - 5

therefore y = 64 - 32 + 12 - 5

therefore y = 39

and this:

Simplify (5xcubed - 7xsquared + 8) - (3xsquared - 9x + 2)

5xcubed - 7xsquared + 8 - 3xsquared + 9x - 2

5xcubed - 10xsquared + 6

Not bad for 22 years since I looked at algebra .. or so I thought. The next question involved compound interest which I always hated. I left that one for him to do and moved on to the next one:

A golf club has a 5-year-old lawn mower, which is now worth $5190.35
and which the club has been depreciating by 18% pa.
What was the purchase price of the lawn mower, to the nearest dollar?
What will the value of the mower be, to the nearest dollar, if the club keeps it for another 5 years?

It was at this point that I decided that I didn't need to know the original purchase price, as surely the club's accountant would have this information stored somewhere, for no-one to ever look at again. Besides, it was probably purchased from a 'mate' at a heavily discounted price, which was done as a favour to the president of the club to enable the seller to keep his membership after he was caught sleeping with the president's wife, so the paperwork was probably doctored anyway.

The value of the mower in five years time may be relevant to the tax department but considering that it has probably died a slow painful death due to planned obsolescence and the fact that it had probably been out in all sorts of weather, I think that working out the value of the rusting hulk behind the maintenance shed is a slightly over-rated pastime.

There were several more questions along the lines of the 'simplify' one listed above and then I got to some more word questions:

Bronwyn received her pay and spent 1/3 on rent and 1/4 paying off her mobile phone bill.
She then had $210 left. How much money was Bronwyn paid?

I did manage to work out that she was paid $504. What I'd like to know is:

  • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay?
  • Where Bronwyn is living that she only has to pay $168 rent! Maybe she lives in a share house with heaps of friends but that seems to be unlikely considering that her phone bill was almost as much as the rent. I mean .. come on .. $126 on a phone bill? Has she never heard of mobile phone caps?
  • If that's the phone bill for the assumed share-house and not her mobile phone, was that just her share or is she paying the whole thing? If she is, she needs to move out and find somewhere else to live 'cos she's having her generous, giving nature abused in a major fashion!
  • Didn't anybody teach her to budget? Why is she paying 1/4 of her wages out for a phone bill? Don't spend what you can't afford people! Oh, and don't forget to put some of that away for a rainy day and a bad hair day does not count as a rainy day!!
  • Why do I give a damn anyway? She's probably one of the young kids of today who don't appreciate that I had to walk ten miles, barefoot, uphill, in 50 degree heat just to find a phone box to prank call someone! I don't know .. kids of today!!
Now that I have totally lost the plot forgotten where I was going with this, I think I better go have a nice cup of tea and a good lie down!!

No comments: