Friday, May 19, 2006

Statistically speaking

Each of my children has a 50% chance of being mathematically challenged.

Thankfully, it's a nice, round 50% ... otherwise, I'd have no way of calculating it. Yes-- I am the reason the odds are so iffy. I'm no good with numbers.

My husband actually studied engineering in college before veering off into the Liberal Arts sector and becoming a writer. People are usually amazed that he can do better than the average creative guy when it comes to more advanced operations. Personally, I'm thankful that he has the skill. How else would I be able to take a recipe and not actually double it, but just add an additional half. (And you know, there's probably a name for that ... but I, of course, do not know it.) Dh stands at the ready, just in case those 1/3 tsp. need to be halved. Because you don't even want to know the decidedly unscientific method I'd use to do it.

As it turns out, 2 out of our 3 children are pretty good when it comes to math. Both boys seems predisposed to it in some decidedly un-me like way. Ds5 can already perform mental addition into the tens place, and ds3 isn't too shabby either, being able to read numbers into the hundreds quite easily.

Dd8, however ... ((sigh)) ... she inherited not only my grey eyes and long feet, but also my lack of understanding when it comes to anything relating to numbers.

We've tried just about every math program under the sun, it feels like. Calvert, Miquon, MCP. And Math-U-See? Don't even get me started there. It sounded good enough in all the reviews (some of which came from very trusted first-hand sources). You get your hands on all those little blocks and the concepts just click! Problem is ... they didn't. Dd was so frustrated that I think she had nightmares about units and choco-EIGHT and the big castle for the hundreds.

Currently, we're using Horizons. I have to say it's working pretty well. We moved dd back one level. Did I just say that?!? Yes, ma'am, I did. With no regard whatsoever for her self-esteem we started our third grader on Horizons 2 this past fall. Praise the Lord, it seems to be working! Dd is only a little more than half-way through the year's worth of work, as we have been taking it nice and s-l-o-o-o-w.

Dd is thrilled. The whole "2nd grade math" thing hasn't bugged her at all. O.k., it did a little when she first got the book and saw the big bunch of balloons and the giant "2" on the front. But within a few weeks, she was relishing the approach and the gradual acquisition of skills. She finally seems to be grasping concepts that she herself was pretty sure she'd never get. And that, she has decided, is much better than having a "3" on the book and being lost all year.

We realize that we're fighting nature with nurture here. Some people were just never designed to be human calculators. But maybe, just maybe, we can turn the tide in her favor. Beat the odds as it were. Not that I'd know how to figure them.

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