doing maths

Clark has been studying his maths* lately. That may be a surprise. But there is an even bigger surprise: he's enjoying it. This makes me wonder.

Like many people, I didn't have many good experiences with math in my early years.

I see the math paralysis in the eyes of students who come to me in tears because they are near failing despite their hours with tutors in the math lab. Like them, I never savored college algebra. I saved my one required math class (statistics) until my last semester of college . . . and I understood it. I studied it. I even liked it.

So why do so many people fear math?

I have a theory about why. First, I think our brains were just not ready for it when it was first introduced to us as children. The power of abstract thought generally develops in early puberty; this ability is essential in order to understand how 'x' could possibly equal 42. So, that being said, can't we let kids perfect the basics before we mix the letters and the numbers?

Second, people who major in math or science and do well in school have many, many lucrative career options. These options must make teaching seem like full-time charity work. I'm sure that there are some very, very good teachers out there. I had an amazing physics teacher at HHS. (Thank you, Mr. Summerhayes.) I'm just saying that out of the six years I spend in secondary education, I only remember the name one math teacher. One. And I only remember him because he told so many painful, punny jokes.

*I first heard "maths" in plural form from a student from the UK, where, apparently, there is more than one math. Love it.



I have a confession.


There. I said it. Just so you know how serious this is, you have to know that I also hate all caps (QUIT YELLING, already) and excessive use of exclamation marks (use sparingly!!!! - overuse causes punctuation inflation).

I know some of you will protest, but I don't care. You can have your costume parties and your haunted houses . . . and your spiders and rats, and your masks and gory face paint, and your blood and maimed limbs, and your carved and smashed-in pumpkins. Enjoy. I'll be at home baking my pumpkin into a pie instead of carving it into a Jack-O-Lantern.

The past four years I have strategically, purposefully turned off all the lights or been gone that night. When we have littles, I will just buy them the candy they want on that day and we will go home and plan the menu for Thanksgiving.