Thursday, April 15, 2010

Look Math, Myself

I often get stuck in my head about things. Let me explain. I've been wrestling with math, as you can see from the post above. However, this may be all in my head. You see, I'm starting to realize that ds will complain some no matter what. As long as he's not crying every day about doing school and is utterly miserable, he just wants to play all day and exert no effort whatsoever. I'm okay with that now. I don't fight it tooth and nail, I don't get stressed or frustrated, I just accept it the way it is. School is not always fun, not always ideal (many times not ideal), and it's still good. Good enough. A concept that I struggle with above all, and need to come to terms in school as well as in life.

But I digress. Math is the one subject that sticks out to me, as it was the bane of my existence for a whole decade. When you're a kid, a decade seems like eternity. When ds struggles with math, I see myself struggling as a child and not understanding the concepts when I was gifted in everything else. It's hard when you're used to not making any effort and things come easily to you, but in that one subject my glaring imperfection shone like a beacon of failure.

When ds doesn't understand math concepts, I get a feeling akin to despair, as he's more important to me as I ever was to myself. I want to fix it -- and now! Is it the curriculum? Is it me? Surely it can't be.. him? Turns out he's a lot like me. He likes History, he loves reading, he doesn't like exerting too much effort.. Hmm.. Through teaching him and trying my hardest to accept him the way he is, I'm taking some tentative steps on the new journey to self-acceptance. Just starting on that road feels liberating, feels wonderful.

So I got stuck in my head that I need to use multiple programs to teach ds. One program can't be enough, right? Maybe he will love one of them! Unconsciously, I think, I may have benefited from seeing things from multiple angles.

My intellectual side comes to the rescue and says there are no panaceas. Ds will not automatically love and enjoy math every day, everything, because of one curriculum and never complain again. I know he will learn to accept it and enjoy parts of it, learn a lot and use it in real life. It's hard letting go of your goals. Keeping yourself in the middle between slacking and rigid perfectionism is a constant effort, but a worthy one.

I asked him, holding up the MCP Math book A and the Miquon Orange Book, "Which one do you like better?" To my surprise, he said the MCP Math. Huh?? "The one. . you.. complain about so much?" I stammered. Yes, I like that one better. We are sticking with MCP and doing Miquon as a supplement. We take a few steps forward and a few steps backward, but we're going forward. More Family Math games are forthcoming too. I will have MEP handy to print whenever I need to present things in a different way. I am at peace.

I hope with all my heart that one day he will look back and that he can feel that love and acceptance I have for him. I hope my anger, frustration and lesser qualities don't eclipse that great, steady, unconditional love that wells inside me when I look at him but never ebbs away.

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