Or so I thought.
Unfortunately, my eldest does not appear to have inherited his father's maths skills. I'm not sure why passing on maths follows the lowest common denominator always favouring the side of the family that is worst at it. Or it does in my family, anyway.
My father read maths at university - Cambridge no less - but did he share his gift with his 3 offspring? Did he fiddlesticks, he kept it all for himself and his children had to fight their way through arduous, incomprehensible homework and crappy maths results for years. My mother is crap at maths. Nuff said.
So, following the maternal line, my eldest has inherited his mother's maths ability, poor lad. I was so hoping he'd be spared such punishment, especially here in France where so much store is laid by being able to do it. If you can't do maths, you're a loser.
One of the disadvantages of being divorced is that you suddenly become the sole on-hand source of help with homework. This is why my eldest comes to me with his problems, me whose heart sinks at the sight of an 'x'. I go sort of blind, my mind recognising trouble and so shuts all doors and windows, locking everything firmly down.
The only way I can hope to help is to make a huge effort to open everything up again, and try and see the problem without running for the hills. It hadn't been too bad in the past as he was young enough not to have encountered too much that was as recognisable as Chinese. As he gets older, however, we are entering dangerous territory.
Today he had algebra, with lots of n's and x's and working things out. I willed him away to work it out himself, but it was akin to Chinese for him - how I do understand! So it was that I heard the fateful words "Mum, can you help me? I don't understand a THING!"
At the time I was trying to watch a slide show of my brother's photos of Tunisia and didn't take kindly to having to tear myself away for the greater good. However, having squinted blindly at the questions, tried to work out what could possibly be vaguely something like an answer, I came up with my best offer. He bought it, understood it, and filled out the paper. It kinda looked right, but we'll see...
So there are two conclusions: 1) I'm not totally crap at maths, just almost totally; 2) my son is worse. I can see trouble ahead.
If it gets really dire, I'll call in the heavy mob. No, not their father, he tends to react like my father when I couldn't do my maths homework. He got all cross and then very cross and then livid and it just made everything worse. No, I'll ask my TWDB for whom maths holds much less mystery, and, equally importantly, he is able to withstand stupidity and incomprehension for a slightly longer period - at least 5mins.
I hope my youngest is better at it. I'm not sure I can cope with ten years of maths angst.