Monday 27 June 2011

Wrath Against the Math

Math always came naturally to my son.  I remember about a year and a half ago he asked my daughter to solve a complicated math equation that he rapidly rhymed off:  “What’s 4 + 6 – 5 + 9 – 7 + 8 – 3 + 10 – 2 + 12 – 1?”  My response to my son was:  “You don’t even know the answer to that question.  How do you expect your little sister to know?”  Yet, he insisted that he did know the answer.  So I suggested that he give his sister another question and this time I would pay close attention so that I could compute the answer in my head.  He rhymed off some random numbers and he gave me his answer; sure enough, it was the same answer I arrived at – barely.   My son’s mind worked so fast that I could just keep up and yet he was only 10 ½ years old at the time. 

Now it is his sister’s turn to learn arithmetic.  I have been working with her at home on learning basic addition and subtraction facts.  Her brother offered to drill her today and I thought it would be a nice break for me so I agreed.  They retreated into my son’s room and things went smoothly at first.  However, within a few minutes, I heard my daughter’s voice rising.  After all, she didn’t want to spend her summer doing homework!  The battle ensued inside the bedroom, although my son was managing to keep it together despite my daughter’s resistance.  The door opened and out came my daughter; my son followed and said that she only completed 50 out of 70 cards.  I said:  “We don’t go to the water park until you finish all of the cards.”  My little girl sprouted crocodile tears but reluctantly retreated back into the bedroom.  Finally, the battle was over.  Out came my children:  “How did she do?” I asked my son, knowing full well what had happened in there.  His response?  “Well, her math has improved, but her attitude hasn’t!” 

Cartoon courtesy

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