First Grader’s Viral Math Problem Is Driving Adults Insane

This article originally appeared and was published on

You may be familiar with the Holderness family from their smash-hit holiday video “#XMAS JAMMIES“.

This week, however, the singing and dancing North Carolina family is going viral for a much different reason.

Adults around the web have been left dumbfounded by one of 6-year-old Penn Holderness’ homework questions, which was shared on Facebook via the Holderness family’s fan page on January 9th.

“Internet friends: solve this 1st grade math homework,” they wrote, adding the hashtags #showyourwork and #mybrainhurts.

Since it was posted on Facebook a mere two days ago, the conundrum has racked up over 500 shares and amassed over 1,700 reactions.

And after reviewing some of the 1,600 comments, it becomes pretty clear that people are A.) not too happy about the difficulty level of homework being given to first graders these days, and B.) completely unable to solve the problem themselves.

“What the actual hell is the point if this? Am I missing something?” commented one woman. “Is there some skill that this absurdity is supposed to hone?”

“What purpose does this serve in life? Whatever happened to normal math homework,” pondered another.

“What the heck? I am not smarter than a first grader,” another bravely admitted.


Luckily, the Holderness family jumped back in to assure angry commenters that this is not the typical type of problem included in their son’s homework.

“FYI, this was the final page on a 7 page sheet,” they wrote. “The previous 6 pages were a much more normal level for a first grader. I don’t think the teacher expects everyone to get this, I think it was meant to be a problem that would challenge the children, so for that reason I think it’s great that our school included it!”

Considering the sheer number of commenters (presumably over the age of 6) who could not figure out the answer, we think ‘challenge the children’ is an understatement.

And just so you’re able to sleep soundly tonight, here’s one commenter’s unverified yet seemingly accurate solution.

“While I agree this is too advanced for a 1st grader (my 7 year old niece would not understand this complexity at all!); I still had to solve it!” wrote Heather Combs Dutton.

“You add diagonally and subtract across and down to get the missing number of 14 (J).”

Seems simple when you put it that way.

(h/t Daily Mail)

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