Mathematics. Arithmetic, Call it what you want..
And yes, I have tried for years and years to master it but I have recently admitted that mathematics will probably never come easily to me.
I can stand in an aisle at a supermarket and see the 1kg box of detergent next to the 500g box and have no clue which one is better value.
Sure – I have a calculator on my mobile phone, but I have no idea what combination of buttons to push to get the correct answer.
Solution: Buy the prettiest box!
And yes, I’m totally serious.
Lately, Ella has been wonderful though at doing the sums in her head and adopting that “looking at the sky with head slightly tilted upwards” pose before giving me the correct answer.
I hate that!
It amused me no end when both of my elder children received the mathematics award at school!
My 10 yr old daughter NEVER asks for my help with her homework.
She knows that I am THAT BAD!
But guess what.
I know that I have giftings in OTHER areas. So I’m A.O.K. with that now.
I remember as a school girl sitting down at my desk with my long-suffering father looking me straight in the eyes and saying:
“Fiona, it’s SO simple. Why can’t you see that! You just add this to that , borrow 10 from here and then your answer just pops right out at you!”
And I would look back blankly and say: “Hang on you lost me after ‘It’s so simple…….”
One day, during another one of our homework battles, I grabbed my musically challenged father by the hand and led him out to the piano in the lounge room.
I motioned for him to sit down beside me.
After he did, I said to him:
“Right Dad, play me an arpeggio in C minor.”
He looked at ME blankly and said:
“You know I can’t do that!”
“Yes, you can” and I played it for him and then said:
“There Dad, it’s just SO simple….“
He got the message and we never fought over maths again.
I have recently applied this approach to my own son when he struggles with his handwriting.
It would be like him asking me to name all the characters invented by Nintendo.
I simply could not do that, but I can write and write and write!
I was thinking a lot about this today and it occurred to me that there are a lot of things that I expect from my children that they just aren’t able to do.
Like Ella’s bike. She is 10 yrs old and she still has training wheels and refuses to even get on the thing now.
She has struggled with balance issues her whole life and I am embarrassed to admit that we have nagged her and nagged her to get back on and learn…..
But Ella is fantastic at OTHER things.
She is a maths whiz, she is a fabulous reader and she is amazing at art.
I have finally come to realise that she is meant to be an academic.
She will NEVER be sporty. It’s just not how she’s made.
She absolutely loathes sports day!
She has been hit in the head, stomach and legs with baseballs, knocked over during a game of touch footy and boinked on the head by a basketball!
But….she has won awards for public speaking, she always gets top marks in her assignments and class work and has a reading level far beyond her age.
She reads books that I don’t think even I would tackle!
And Harley – well, reading and writing he struggles with…..but he’s one of the fastest runners I know and he is great at throwing and catching balls (so much for bad motor skills eh!)
He really doesn’t care if he can’t read his aircraft books.
He’s more interested in the fighter jets photos anyway. And he LOVES YouTube!
Searching “Stealth bombers” or “Harrier Jump Jets” is more fun to him than reading about the Cat in the Hat!
Lucas – Well, Lucas is also going to be brilliant at anything that DOESN’T involve sitting still!
Outdoors is his domain and where he gets most of his sensory input from.
He is in his element on trampolines, rock climbing and jumping off high places. Climbing trees and shop fittings is his type of activity!
My kids are all unique, they all excel at different things and if I tried to force them into things that don’t come naturally, it will always be a struggle.
Just like my Dad trying to make me understand maths.
I could write a song or poem and put them to music and compose a musical score but try to get me to work out how many apples are left if you take 65 away….is an excerise in futility!
And Dad had no trouble working out the square root of 6072 but couldn’t possibly understand what every-good-boy-deserves-fruit- means!
My dream is that in the future, schools would recognise that all of our children learn differently and cater to that.
Imagine all our sensory seeking kids having their maths lesson in the playground counting the different types of barks on the trees then dividing that by the number of soft silky leaves that are lying on the ground.
Or the electronic whiz kids are taught to read by C3-PO who uses an interactive whiteboard to spell out D-R-O-I-D!
And children like Lucas would benefit greatly from regular “get up and run around the playground like madmen for 5 minutes” breaks before they are then called back into the classroom to continue their ABC’s.
Yes, I know that schooling has come a long long way over the years and I would hazard a guess that every school in the populated areas in Australia has at least 1 ASD child in it.
I know that there are a lot more special allowances made for our kids than ever before, but I would LOVE to see even more progress..
Now……Just because I can, here is one of my all time favourite singers Brooke Fraser with “Arithmetic”