Math for Grown ups at Our Little House

Note to our Living Large community: I took an extended weekend this past holiday. This is Thursday’s post, coming to you a bit early! Nest week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled Tuesday and Thursday posts!


Raise your hand if you’re one of those people, like me, who have had problems with math all of their lives.

I’m not sure where my problems began, although I do know my mother didn’t like math and wasn’t good at it. My dad only had an 8th grade education, so he wasn’t a lot of help either.

I had to take Algebra I in both 8th and 9th grade and because I wasn’t required but to have one year of high school math, my second attempt at it counted as my math credit for graduation.

I was thankful I didn’t have to take it again until college, at which point, I had to take remedial college math to even make it into statistics, which I also had to drop once and take again. I had to pay for a tutor both semesters.  

Math wasn’t my friend and by the time we built Our Little House, I was not ready to deal with the square footage measurements, dimensions to get cabinets and the refrigerator to fit, or even the coordinates for our land survey.

My aunt drew up our house plans and I learned from her construction background about calculating square footage.  But that was all I knew how to calculate when we built The Belle Writer’s Studio. I had to rely then on our builder. He did a good job, thankfully, but I like to be more versed in a subject when overseeing a project.

If I had the book, “Math for Grownups,” then, it would have been better.

The author, Laura Laing, takes the mystery out of math in this book and even makes it fun! She not only deals with calculations for home projects in the book (Chapter 4), but how to also expand or contract recipes, budgets and so much more.

The publisher has agreed to give one copy of “Math for Grownups” to one lucky Living Large reader. And, you can have up to 4 chances to win! This contest is open to any of our Living Large community, anywhere.

Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Comment on this blog post between now and 3 p.m. CST on Monday, July 13 for one chance in the drawing.  PLEASE make sure to leave a link back to you, or put your email address, so I may contact you. If you win and do not claim your book by Tuesday, July 14, another winner will be selected.

For three more chances to win, you also need to mention in your comment that you did these things:

  1. Join our Living Large Facebook page. Click on this link and hit “like.” If you already are a fan of Living Large on Facebook, tell me in your comment on this post and you still have another chance to win.
  2. Ask your friends to join Living Large on Facebook by posting a link to the Living Large page in your newsfeed to your friends. Suggested message: “There is something for everyone on this Facebook page: Home and garden, sustainability, living a simpler and happier life. Won’t you like this page too!?”  
  3. For a fourth chance to win, send this Tweet out to your Twitter followers: RT@fivecoat Comment for a chance to win the book, “Math for Grown ups”

Good luck to everyone!

Is math your friend? When did your relationship with math begin?

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52 Responses

  1. Vida says:

    HI Kerri,

    How are you doing? We are finally having a hot spell here in Greece… it feels like summer at last!

    About math: I was horrible in math at secondary school (your equivalent of high school), or so I thought. Then I went to University in San Francisco when I was 16 and took a compulsory freshman math class. It was what we had been taught in Singapore when I was 14! So I breezed through it and felt like a genius… just wanted to say that all is relative.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Vida,

      Good hearing from you! It is so hot here in Arkansas as well!
      Europeans are much better schooled in most subjects, including math. Our German daughter breezed right through the highest college prep course our American high school could offer her! And she was only 16!

      • Vida says:

        There you go, it’s only a matter of schooling. I don’t believe for a minute that Europeans are smarter than American kids.

        Ditto for the Asians. I went to school in Singapore which is SE Asia. You know the whole cliche of nerdy Asian mazz and physics whizs? I firmly believe that it has nothing to do with race or genetics, possibly culture and definitely, schooling.

        Where is your German daughter now?

  2. Merr says:

    Anyone who takes the mystery out of math gets high points in my book! What a terrific idea…and a good service, to boot.

  3. Amber says:

    I’d love to own this book!
    Also am a friend on facebook and shared the link to the page.

  4. So you’re telling me if I win this book, I can build my own writers’ studio? 🙂 I gave up on math after honors calculus in high school, and so far, don’t feel like I missed out on anything by quitting there. My recipe conversions haven’t suffered a bit.

  5. Jane Boursaw says:

    Love the concept of Math for Grownups. Count me in! Also Tweeted, am a fan on Facebook, and evangelized to my FB followers!

  6. Kelly says:

    Hi. I always hated Math, but thought it was just because of the new Math which I grew up having to learn. My mom had worked out a deal so that my Mathwiz sister,(who @ age 53 downloads free Algebra books to work, for fun)would come to my classroom, (she was 2 years older) during my recess, and I’d have to sit with her and do flash cards, while everyone else was outside playing. That made me just love Math! And then my 7th grade Algebra teacher told stories the entire 2 years I had him, and we all learned nothing. This was before teacher evaluations, I guess.
    I had a great 5th and 6th grade teacher, of whom I still stay in touch, and he helped me more than anyone. I do struggle in Math still. After my daughter got to the last sememster of 5th grade, I was pretty much doomed on helping her. I never do Math unless I have to do so, so maybe this book would help me! I would never read it if it wasn’t fun though. So, I hope to find out!

  7. Judi says:

    Also, I am a FB fan AND I shared this with my friends on my FB wall. :0)

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Judi! You may still need help with the house, even with the book, but it could give you the skills necessary at least, to know what the builder is doing. Thanks for the FB like and sharing. You’re entered 3 times in the drawing.

  8. Judi says:

    What a great idea for a book! I HATE math also and never realized such a large share of the population felt the same way. I always blamed it on the “new” math that I was required to learn in the ’70s. Thank goodness for calculators with function keys. I had to take Business Math as a college course and only passed because the final was open book and I had copious notes to help me remember how to solve the problem.

    Needless to say, I always thought I would need a builder to build my tiny house since my math skills are so poor, BUT….if I were to win a copy of your book, problem solved! ;O)

  9. Willa Grant says:

    I took & failed Algebra twice & on the third try the teacher gave me a pity D just so he wouldn’t have to work with me another semester. My kid has tried over the years to help me & she has, at least it makes sense when she is there but when I’m on my own I’m stumped! Maybe this would be the key to unlocking the mysteries of math. 🙂

  10. Penny says:

    Kerri, my mother was the same and my father died when I was young, so I remained terrified of maths and unable to even try to calculate, especially with someone waiting/watching me try. Our country is on metric and although I know metric is easier than imperial I can’t actually see metres the way I can see yards. The fractions of imperial flummox me too so drawing any plan is only approximate and has to be ‘fixed by my sister who is a CAD expert. This little book might be able to help me, even at 68 years old! I liked it on facebook too and alreay a fan of living large.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Penny! Don’t even get me started with metrics. The U.S. should have went on this a long time ago! It makes it more difficult to calculate the way the rest of the world does! You’re in the drawing 3 times!

  11. Tabitha says:

    Oh man, you sound like me. I took algebra over and over again hoping to get good at it, and it just doesn’t stick in my brain. Geometry though, where there are pictures/diagrams and shapes was so much easier. Sounds like this is a great book for making algebra seem less abstract and useless.
    Glad I found you via Tiny House’s Facebook page. Liked, followed & RTed! Looking forward to reading your blog more. 🙂

    • Kerri says:

      Glad there were two of us that had problems. So happy you found Living Large too! You’re in the drawing 3 times!

  12. Marci says:

    I liked, tweeted and commented! Loved coming across this blog through tiny house blog. my partner and i are are just starting our plans for our tiny house. i love to dream and draw and he loves to correct my math discrepancies in the plan. we are are learning so much from people like you! keep on blogging!

  13. Most subjects in school came easily to me, but math was always my nemesis. I could procrastinate on studying for a history test, then cram the night before and ace the test. However, math proved to be much more of a struggle and I developed a virtual phobia about it, avoiding it as much as possible. I got by with the minimum math courses in high school but couldn’t avoid Algebra in college. I’m actually glad that college forced me to face my nemesis and conquer it, because once I overcame my fear and loathing, I actually came to enjoy many aspects of learning Algebra. I realized that my years of avoiding math courses and putting little effort into the ones I couldn’t avoid, had built up an unnecessary paranoia about the subject. I’m still not a math wiz by any means, but at least don’t have the fear of it that I used to.

  14. Robbie says:

    I like math only when it comes to counting money! 🙂

    • Robbie says:

      …forgot to add, I am already a fan of Living Large, and a “friend” on Facebook 🙂

      • Kerri says:

        I’ll second that Robbie and add I only like counting it when it is coming in! 😉 You’re entered twice for the drawing.

  15. mat says:

    There’s only one person in my family that’s all that good with math past algebra, and that’s my brother (literally), the rocket scientist.
    As an amateur architect, I really wish I retained more of geometry and trigonometry, but those were my weakest subjects. Algebra is no problem, fortunately.

  16. I could any help I can get when it comes to math. I tweeted:)

  17. Sheryl says:

    Oh, math. Definitely NOT my strong suit. And now, with calculators, it’s amazing – and scary – how you don’t have to think. But calculators cannot figure out everything, so now I’m sorry I didn’t pay closer attention in math class all those years ago.

    • Kerri says:

      Sheryl, I actually think it is a mistake they’re making in schools not making kids work out problems long hand. At least I do have basic math skills and can do a division problem on a piece of paper if need be.

  18. Beezie says:

    Oops! Forgot to say that I don’t Tweet!

  19. Beezie says:

    There are times when I think my simple math skills need a bit of tweaking and other times when I realize that I can figure out square feet and convert that to square yards while other people are still fumbling for an answer! Figuring square feet is helpful for my job in real estate, whether I need to calculate the area of carpeting in a room, or the overall size of the land. I have liked your FB page and shared it on my Wall.

  20. You should see me try to figure out how much yarn I need for knitting or how much fabric I need for a quilt. It cracks my DH up to no end.

  21. Priscilla Cooke says:

    I entered earlier, but forgot about my relationship with math! It surely isn’t a good relationship! I can do very basic math, I get confused with the formulas and which one to use when especially with word problems. 7th grade we had to take pre-algebra and didn’t do so well. For my math credit in high school I took consumer math and I think I got a C-. I am going to attempt to make a simple chicken coop this summer and I will have to convert some of the measurements from the blueprints. I am hoping that it will be close enough to fit together to be sturdy and functional enough. This book would be helpful for knowledge for future projects I’d like to do.

    • Kerri says:

      Sounds like my relationship with math, Priscilla. My husband was decent at math, so that helps me around here. Although I’m waiting for this book (not one I want on Kindle, but I want this one in actual paper) and I’m sure it will aid me further.

  22. Debbie says:

    Both of my hands are raised! I avoided a college degree just because of math. I am approaching age 60 and have wondered from time to time about going back to college, but then I think about math! I’m ok with a few aspects, but when it comes to algebra and beyond, my mind turns to spaghetti! I can even remember getting the answer correct in the one and only college math class, a very fundamental class, but not in the way they wanted me to get the answer. It was just a class to get me ready for what I needed to be taking, and it was a struggle. I didn’t get a tutor though, perhaps that would help. Sounds like this book might be interesting.

    I already like your FB page.

    I have recommended your FB page to my daughter and son-in-law.

    I don’t do Twitter.

    I do really enjoy your posts although I haven’t had much to say. 🙂

    • Debbie says:

      I need to re-phrase my comment…I also posted to my FB wall. Thanks.

      • Kerri says:

        Hi, Debbie. Glad you are here. I wouldn’t let the math stop you from going back to college, if that’s what you want to accomplish. Tutors can be amazing and one helped me finally get my degree.

        • Debbie says:

          That is something I may check into. Not sure what I want to be when I grow up tho… 🙂 But it would be worth doing a little research. Thanks for the encouragement!

          • Kerri says:

            I’ve decided I want to be a lottery winner when I grow up, Debbie. But the universe is not cooperating yet! 😉

  23. Heather L. says:

    This will be a very valuable book for a lot of people. As a parent, you will no longer need to be embarrassed because you don’t understand your child’s homework. This book will do the trick.

  24. Kerri says:

    Thanks, Priscilla! Your name is in the drawing 3 times!

  25. Priscilla Cooke says:

    Hi! I like to read your posts and trying to live a simpler life.
    I already like your fb page.
    I have shared your page with others and asked them to like your page also.
    I don’t use twitter so I’m not eligible for that entry.
    Keep up the great blogs!