I used an air fryer this week. My family was proud of me.

The bar is that low. I mean look what happened that time Yinh and my MIL weren’t around:

I’m also not handy. This utter lack of domestic skills means the very sight of a Conestoga wagon gives me chills. It might as well be the trailer for Hereditary. (I also don’t watch scary movies…but I am an avid reader of their Wikipedias.)

So now that we have this family commune thing going on with my in-laws next door, I feel extra pressure to pull my weight. I really only have 2 things going for me:

  1. I enjoy making cocktails. The others enjoy drinking them. (Lately, I’ve been making mai-tais but instead of white rum, I’m using blanco tequila.)
  2. I have the patience of a cadaver. (I’m also a space cadet that will not have his boarding pass out after waiting on a long line to get to the agent — I don’t know if this is the downside to my hard-to-rile disposition but I’ve definitely annoyed my share of people in life and the worst part is this same quality makes their annoyance roll off me too easily.)

The benefit of patience is that if I try to teach something and the person can’t get it — it’s always my fault in my mind. There has to be a way. So I get the privilege of trying to help the kids with their schoolwork and can usually do it in a way that doesn’t make them snap at me when they are frustrated. Not always but I am conscious of not taking them to a place where they shut down. As any parent knows, kids put up walls and they are often only permeable to a 3rd party. (I’m not a fan of tough love unless the kid is making careless errors. Give kids credit and space and recognize that sleep helps minds consolidate. You can drill a piano scale without a sense of progress only to find that it’s easier in the morning. Patience allows breaks to do their unconscious work, but you need to trust it. Persistence and rest are a powerful combo but don’t mix well with immediacy.)

I love that moment when a kid (or anyone really) discovers they can do or understand something that felt too big. The feeling of empowerment unlocks far more than the particular lesson’s objective.

With all that said, I create lessons to challenge them. You can meet them wherever they’re at by breaking problems into smaller bites and inserting them at the point where they feel most comfortable.

I published these math word problems with guidance for how to teach your child or student.

Similar posts I’ve previously published:

This one started as a kid lesson but turned into something about portfolio risk:

I have several lessons in the queue. After doing them with my kids and their cousins I’ll write ‘em up and share.

In the meantime, there are more posts indexed here:

These are more teen/adult appropriate:

Go slow and give people credit. Many people never had someone help them see they are capable.

Now if I would just direct this advice to myself in an apron…

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