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I studied Math till college- had no great affinity for the subject but was never scared of it. It was like any other subject. Have been reading, hearing, watching people who find it a monster and always wondered why it was such a problem. Then the monster seemed to enter my hitherto happy mothering domain. As in most cases, kid studies are my responsibility in our house ( Mostly volunteered and happily supported by my husband).
Once when my elder child seemed to be getting introduced to the monster ( finding the concept of tens and ones difficult) I had successfully challenged it by using matchsticks etc. and had sent it packing. Four years later, it revisits. My younger kid, who seems to be proficient in all subjects has been attacked. As soon as we open Math, his face changes colour, his logic seems to vanish and even his speech parts ways.
A month back when I told him to inform the teacher that since he had a rash in his underarm, he could not perform dance steps, he said to me "What are you saying mom - I refuse to discuss my hygiene issues in school!" and I was speechless on hearing this sentence. I did not know his vocabulary had evolved. Today, he was speechless when I asked him what is quotient of 63 divided by 7. He knew the table, he knew the terms dividend and divisor and quotient ( He had just told me.) but he could not mutter an answer. We have been studying this for last one month. I asked him to close his books and we will start again tomorrow. My husband argued - He may learn to run away from trouble f he leaves it now. My logic was - retreat, recover and recharge!
I am not sure what was more upsetting - That 'my' son could not understand such a simple thing or that how would he cope up or that he was scared and feeling lost. But I was very upset. His lost and scared expression haunted me. He was going to lose self esteem and confidence if we do not make the monster go away. So Math became a monster for me after having lived half my average life.
In our education system Math is almost like a life skill. Often Math and English are treated as the key employability skills in the grown- up world. I tried to tell myself "OK so what will happen if he does not like Math, cannot understand it and does not score well in it? He can do many other things."
Even as the mother in me reasoned that it was alright and every child cannot be good at every subject, my logic failed to understand how a fairly bright child cannot understand something which is so logical. So I googled "Interesting ways to teach Math to class 3 kids" and came across various websites and learning games and modules. I even thought of classes such as Kumon or Abacus but remembered how 2 years back he would come back from Abacus and say "The numbers written in columns make me dizzy". Then I thought "May be I am not able to explain to him correctly. Should I look for a tutor?" "Too early for that" said my mind. His Math teacher is good and had shared in PTM that he is doing well but needs to gain confidence while doing the sums.
What will help? I do not know but am willing to give it a try. Not because I want him to learn Math and excel in it but because I want him to not be scared of any thing not even a subject. I want him to learn to 'be' himself and not panic. I want to help him get rid of the monster of Math that has gripped his mind. Beware Math monster... here comes Mommy!