Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Math Isn't Easy to Everyone

I have to keep reminding myself that while I find math to be an extremely easy subject, not everyone is the same as me.

Case in point. Yesterday while I was getting ready for work and in the middle of brushing my teeth, my young tween asks me to sign two of his recent algebra math quizzes. One is a C and the other is a D. Both require signatures. I pause and collect my two immediate thoughts.

1. Why in the world did he do so poorly on his math tests?
2. Why in the world did he wait through the weekend to show this to me?

I look at him and (realizing this later on) must have had the worst look of disappointment in my face. I calmly ask him what happened on the quizzes? He shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn't know. I tell him that when he gets home from school we will need to review his mistakes so that we can move on from this and do better next time. I sign the papers and proceed to finish getting ready.

A few minutes later I go out to the kitchen only to find him bawling his eyes out over his cereal. The tears alone were enough to make his breakfast soggy. I felt terrible. I told him not to worry about the tests because even though we can't change the grades we can certainly learn from it and do better. He wiped his eyes and we went off to school.

I couldn't help but think about him all day yesterday thinking about him crying over a few rotten test scores. When I stopped by the house during my lunch break, I peeked in his room and saw that he had made his bed and cleaned up his clothes just as I asked him to do. He is a really good boy. And when I looked up his other grades online I notice he is making all A's in the rest of his classes. It's not like he is in a crisis situation. But it's math and math is so easy. Maybe for me. Maybe not for him.

So yesterday before I picked him up from school I decided to buy him a fruit smoothie because those always brings cheer. When he got in the car he was really excited to get the smoothie and we had a heart to heart talk. I explained to him that I just expect him to do his best and that we can both work on his schoolwork together like a team. I told him that on my lunch break I put together a few lesson plans for us to work on together and we did. He seemed to understand his mistakes and looked much more confident by the end of the night.

I learned a big lesson and that is that not all of my kids will have the enthusiasm for the same subjects as I do nor will they excel in the same things I exceled in when I went to school and that is ok. That's what makes them unique. What I love the most about him is that he listens to me, respects me as his mom, and is a kind, sweet and gentle boy. In retrospect that the most important thing to me.

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