Math without tears | Darcy Brixey

As a kid, math was never my strongest subject. It was terrifying, mystifying and it always got the best of me.

In first grade, I’d take the easy way out and get David Lloyd to do my subtraction. As we got older, David wised up, and I was on my own.

I’d ask my dad for help and he’d explain long division, or polynomials and I’d stare at him as if he were speaking another language. Or my attention would wander over his shoulder and I’d notice the nail holes on the wall, or the loud tick of the apple shaped kitchen clock. When his explanation was over, my response was a blank stare or dramatic sigh. Irritated, he’d explain it to me again … only this time a little louder. I’d start to cry or shove my papers around the kitchen table in frustration and his nostrils would flare like a bull. How hard could it be?

By the third explanation he was yelling, er, explaining in a booming voice.

“Dad, stop yelling!”


This is exactly the reason my mother wouldn’t let him teach me to drive.

Now I’m faced with the same dilemma as my son starts to get math homework that needs a little help. I don’t want to make him cry over math. Diagramming sentences, maybe, but not math.

Luckily, there is plenty of math help available from your local library. The King County Library System has a tutoring program available called Study Zone. Volunteers are available at the Lake Hills and Bellevue libraries to help your students through history, language arts, and of course, math. For a full Study Zone schedule please consult the website at

After the libraries close, there is still access to a professional tutor. Under our Research and Homework link, there is another option for Live Homework Help. KCLS subscribes to this tutoring service and it is available to students from 2 p.m. to midnight daily.

The tutors are background checked and are experts in their field. They are teachers and graduate students. The software from Live Homework Help allows students to upload a document for proofreading help, use a whiteboard for math, or receive assistance for conjugating French verbs. This service is also available in Spanish.

If you don’t have a library card, now is the time to get one. Enjoy an evening of math without tears.

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