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My middle son…

February 28, 2008

struggles with math. Really struggles. And I honestly have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for him because this was the sad, sadder, and saddest story of my school years as well. I have written before about the nemesis that is math.

And while I will be the first one in his corner to support him in not taking advanced calculus or trigonometry, I am insistent that he learn basic math functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and those assorted accessories of fractions, measurements, money, and so on.

When you struggle with math though, and the whole function of how numbers jab, spar, weave, and punt around with each other, even these basics can be mind-numbingly difficult. Today was a difficult day for him. And my heart shakes each time I see frustration well up within him because I know that frustration can harden a heart.

For years I detested math so much that I didn’t pursue studying things that I would have truly enjoyed. This same son also loves science, and I do not want him to think that because of the math in science that this area is cut off from him.

So we plug on with funny stories and unique visual aids to demonstrate math concepts. We draw pictures and always have scrap paper handy to scribble out the problems. We celebrate the days when math seems a breeze, and we hug more tightly and more often when math is a hurricane.

I do love this boy.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2008 12:57 pm

    My son is very similar, he’s thirteen now we went right back to basics when he was eight years old. He practised the basics, now that he understands he’s more confident . My son also loves Science and we felt much as you do. Practise is the key.

    My father in law used to tell him that when he was a young boy, about 9 or 10 I think, his teacher told him he’d never be a mathematician, his head teacher taught him maths in the High school (the head teacher apparently hated maths but was an excellent teacher who in lesson preparation had encountered the “problems” the children would face), this teacher enabled him to gain confidence and excel at the subject. He had a Mathematician teach him Advanced level maths which taught him the “beauty”( not my word) of the subject, he studied a Science at university but won maths prizes. Grandad still remembers Maths, he’s 72yrs old.

    This was one long comment, hope you don’t mind.

  2. schooldownthelane permalink
    February 28, 2008 1:09 pm

    He sounds a lot like my oldest daughter. She truly, truly struggles with math. She’s been stuck on fractions for over a year! I feel your pain, math is often a *hurricane* here. 😦

    I guess I should be happy that her passion is in history and literature, not much math there!

  3. February 28, 2008 10:22 pm

    I can relate! I think I was an awesome math teacher when I taught in public schools b/c I made sure my students had whatever they needed to understand what we were doing. I needed that when I was in school but didn’t have it. I was a very understanding math teacher!

  4. March 5, 2008 2:59 am

    I’m the one who struggled with math. I took Algebra 1 in college THREE times and finally passed with a “C” – for which I was VERY thankful! My 12 year old son is now officially learning something in school I NEVER learned. My husband tells me it called trigonometry. Ewwwww.

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