angry math: not a new subject

Hieronymus Bosch- The Seven Deadly Sins and th...

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I have a lot of dreams lately where I’m on a college campus with so much work to do in a short time. I live in a crazy dorm having to get along with other people who are so much younger than me. I wake up with a crick in my neck and muscles tightened, obviously stressed out while dreaming.

Now I know why. At church this morning I learned that you cannot lead while angry because learning stops.  That’s what my husband said yesterday about  homeschooling.  You can’t do it angry.  I’ve become aware of my anger when I’m teaching my children.

Since my older daughter started 5th grade, I’m lost with helping her with math. Up until 4th grade I did great: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 5th grade introduces fractions, decimals, percentages and geometry.  Those subjects did not bore holes into my brain.

Every school night we sat there while my body language yelled I HATE THIS while my daughter picked up on it. I frowned, rubbed my temples and forehead, jiggled my legs to get it done quicker.  My daughter got distracted and who could blame her? I was just as distracted.

We switched to a new school where each student works at her level. She took assessment tests to find her level.  Until then, she thought she’d never succeed in school or life because she couldn’t understand math.  During school she didn’t get the concepts, embarrassed to admit she didn’t understand. I had the same problem in grade school. I didn’t want to ask questions in front of the class because I didn’t want to look stupid. So I waited until the teacher sat at her desk so I could ask her privately.

One time she got angry with me because she gave me an opportunity to ask questions. Well, yeah, but I didn’t want to do it in front of all my friends.  Especially if they all got it and I didn’t.  This weekend I realized that because that teacher was angry at me I stopped learning. Therefore I didn’t reserve a spot in my brain to help my daughter.  Instead, I transferred that anger to her.

Luckily my husband takes a fun approach, eases up like the turtles in Finding Nemo, and enjoys the assignment.  I revel in learning word origins and acting out Shakespeare plays so my daughter learns the fine art of literature.

It’s math where I have a LOT to learn.


One comment

  1. Lynne · November 15, 2010

    They do it differently these days. Deep breaths.


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