The parents, who blog at The Holderness Family, uploaded a photo of their son’s complex homework on Facebook with the caption: “Internet friends: solve this 1st grade math homework #showyourwork #mybrainhurts.”
The question requires kids to identify the missing letter in a diagram.
The mum explained this question was the final page on a seven-page homework sheet, adding that the previous six pages were “much more normal” for a six- or seven-year-old.
“I’m 40 and my brain cannot bend in these ways,” she wrote on Facebook on 10 January.
The question reads: “The picture shows some letters that are arranged in a pattern, use the key to find the missing letter.”
Using the key, the majority of people on the comments could see that B = 6, S = 23, P = 20 and G = 11.
But that’s the point at which they become stumped.
“What the actual hell is the point if this?” one person wrote. “Am I missing something? Is there some skill that this absurdity is supposed to hone?”
Another mum commented: “Haha just showed this to my eight-year-old and he had no clue and nor do I. This is absurd.”
And another wrote: “What purpose does this serve in life? Whatever happened to normal math homework.”
Thankfully there were some commenters there to solve the problem.
James Nantz commented on the thread with a possible answer.
“The answer is J = 14,” he wrote. “ It is a complex math question that requires you to substitute the letters with numbers.
“You take the value of the S, B, and G and add them to get 40. Then you subtract the values of B and P from 40.
“That leaves a difference of 14, which is letter J. It all has to do with getting children to think in complex ways.”
Heather Combs Dutton also agreed the answer was 14 and even drew a diagram.
“While I agree this is too advanced for a first grader (my seven-year-old niece would not understand this complexity at all); I still had to solve it,” she wrote.
“You add diagonally and subtract across and down to get the missing number of 14 (J).”