When I say the ‘mm’ in ‘math’ my 10 year old begins his frown and by the time I hit the ‘th’ his head is low and his his lip is pouting so much it’s practically touching his neck. He hates math. Although very good at it. So good that if I was not the one who gave birth to him, I would wonder if he was mine at all.
I sucked at math. I still suck at it even with the calculator. I also do not trust my math and redo every question 3 times just to make sure that I get the same answer every time. But my son is not this way. He always gets it right every time. He is simply one of those people who understands the simple logic of math. None the less he hates it.
So, today I tried something different. I thought I would shake things up a bit and maybe in the process he may end up not hating math.
My grade 2 daughter is also very good at math. She is learning number sense with the Jump Math program so is doing a bit of reviewing the different ways a person can add or subtract and which way would be the quickest route to the answer. With my grade 5er learning simple algebra I figured he has got adding and subtracting down pact so much that he can teach it. This might become the way for him to not hate math. Even if that way is because he would feel he was the boss over his little sister. Normally, I spend a good part of my lectures to him that he is not. Today, I utilized that natural older sibling bossiness to his advantage. Without him knowing it. I’m sneaky.
I figured that this little experiment may blow up in my face. There was an excellent chance that she would end up in tears wondering why on earth would mommy put her in such a place where ‘heee’ can be mean to her. I worried too, that he would end up frustrated and lying on his bed wondering why on earth would mommy make him the boss if she would not let him boss her! What a horrid mommy I could have bean.
Thank-fully that is not what happened. My little girl was excited by the idea! She sat there soaking up every moment she was able to spend with her brother. She listened to every word he said and smiled the whole time.
And he took spider mans advice ‘With great power there is great responsibility.’ He was nice and polite and respectful at her efforts. He celebrated with her when she finished each page. Also, he was happy to go through each question to ensure the answers are right.
My experiment worked. He seemed to enjoy teaching what he spent the last 5 years kicking and screaming and crying and pouting to avoid. He found a reason to like math. Or maybe even love math. Or not hate it.
Afterwards, with a big smile on her face she placed her math book in her little in box than took a snack break.
He skipped to his waiting video games singing “I feel so happy, I feel so happy…”
And I was once again left with the wonderment if these children are actually mine.