I've never been good with numbers. I did all right with multiplication, subtraction, addition, and division, but when letters got involved with numbers, that's where things took a bad turn. I remember in high school, when my dad, who is incredibly smart with numbers, tried to help me with geometry, I would bawl and bawl because I just didn't understand it. And I also figured, why do I need this? I will never use it in life because I'm going to be a writer.
Well, I really haven't had the need for geometry, but I figure the whole experience just made me stronger, right? And I also have fodder for my books since my math teacher was just like the teacher on The Wonder Years - very monotone and practical. It was incredibly rare for him to even crack a smile.
But now my daughter is learning multiplication and division, and she's struggling. We made some flashcards last night and I told her that the easiest way to learn multiplication is to memorize the facts. As a mother, it's so hard to see her stare at the flashcard and have no idea what the answer is, even though I can see her mind adding up all the numbers - and when the fact is 9 times 3 and she's adding up 9 threes (instead of 3 nines), that can be incredibly frustrating.
I think, like her reading problems, she has a different way of learning. I wish I could unlock the key to what that way is. I know her teachers are aware of it and I am hopeful that they will be able to figure out how to teach her so she understands. I know that with her reading, we put her into Reading Recovery and it made a huge, HUGE difference for her. She now reads just fine. I pray that it will be the same with her math.
So far, I haven't had the need to know lots of math problems except for the basics. After all, I'm a writer. But just wait until I have a character come knocking on my door who just happens to be a mathematical genius...