School was never one of the easiest places to be, for me. And not just because I was a shy, bookish nerd that was horrible at sports.
Even though I almost always had decent, if not really good grades, there were a few things that went in one ear and out the other. And I’m finding, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I was good at English, it was in fact, probably one of my best subjects. The teacher was one of the scariest dudes on the planet, though. Mr. R didn’t take any crap from anyone, most especially students.
(think Snape from Harry Potter, he’s who he reminds me of, although I guess he kind of liked me, cause I kept my head down, and knew what I was doing)
I was pretty ok with History, I liked learning about the past, especially from Mr. H, who taught us that school didn’t have to be dry facts and boring worksheets. We could learn while we did things.
And Science was ok – our teacher Mr. W blew stuff up the very first day of chemistry, so he was off to a good start.
But Math. Math. Math was awful. Like needles to my eyeballs, it made me squirm and cringe, wanting to cry in pain and crawl from the room on my hands and knees over broken glass, because that would have felt better than doing math.
I know lots of people that like math. I am not one of those people. YoungerDaughter is pretty good with math, and I’m glad, as it is an important skill to have – being able to figure out problems using logic and numbers. There are lots of things that can be done with a firm grasp of math under your belt. Many options are open to her that would pass me by with a loud whooooshing noise, simply because I can barely add, subtract, multiply and divide without a calculator.
And OnlySon has followed in my footprints.
He is the one child I have that actually really struggles with his schooling, due to a slight learning disability, and a one-track focus on the things that he enjoys, to the exclusion of those that he doesn’t. OnlySon loves English, and his teachers tell me he is a delight to listen to when he reads aloud. He gets great grades in Spelling and Reading. And I’m glad. Being literate is as important to me as breathing.
But he hates math. And as much as I agree with him, and tell people that “math gives me hives”, I hope that some way, some how, he’ll find a way to at least – muddle through.
Because math is important, too. It helps you know how many cookies you get after dinner; how big a piece of cake you are allowed to have, versus the size your sister’s cutting for herself; how much money it takes to not only get into the dance, but to be able to get snacks once you’re there; how much that new Pokemon game costs, and do you have enough in your piggy bank to get it; and whether or not you’re getting cheated out of your fair share of loot at holiday time.
There are practical reasons to advocate for math.
I just don’t like them. And there are things that I was supposed to learn in school, that completely slid out the other side of my head, only to land on the floor with a distinct splat noise, as I left the room.
Algebra. *shudder* Graphing and Pie charts. Percentages. Decimals and fractional multiplication and division.
If you keep it simple, I can eventually figure out some of this stuff. But when you get into more complex equations, like the square root of fricking anything, you lost me, and I’m off to the book store.
I’m actually having trouble coming up with good reasons for these things, outside of those few special people that are actually built to handle these twisted critters, and should be licensed as Genius Number Putting-Together Guys and Gals.
Sudoku is from the bowels of Hades. Logic and numbers????? Frickin’ A!
But give me a Sunday newspaper crossword, and I’m happy, digging through the vocab files in my brain, searching for obscure terminology for “talkative”.
Loquacious. Yes, Shawna, I remembered it!
There were things I learned in school that I’ve carried my whole life long, and have served me well. I tell people all the time that while I may not be a “numbers gal”, I am definitely a “word gal”.
And I’ve learned that there were many people that were not good at math, and have done ok.
Winston Churchill: One of the greatest political leaders of all time – hated school and math, and stuttered. But his speeches are remembered as powerful and inspiring.
Thomas Edison: Patented over 1,000 inventions, including the light bulb, but had dyslexia, and hated mathematics – being told he was too dumb for school.
Walt Disney: Was fired from a job at a Kansas newspaper job, after being told he wasn’t “creative enough”. He was also considered “slow” as a child.
OnlySon is in good company. He’s smart, funny, creative, and focused when engaged in something he enjoys. I’m not too worried about what he’s not learning in school.