"YES!!! A sentence that makes sense!" my son yelled when I read him the first dictation sentence in All About Spelling Level 6, Step 2: "My algebra homework makes me pull my hair out." I think he punctuated it with an exclamation point when he wrote it though! We often laugh at the fun dictation sentences, but my son felt he was understood (and perhaps vindicated?!) when I read this one.
Secretly I've been musing how useful algebra really is. It forces one to think logically and sequentially, as well as creatively (sometimes there is more than one way to approach a problem). Skills that are also very essential to writing, whether one is writing fiction or non-fiction. I'm not sure I could convince my son of its usefulness when he is knee-deep in variables, but I see applications abound to many areas of life from the discipline of showing one's work and having to follow a task beginning to end, step by step, in some orderly fashion.
But as I said...that's my secret!