History is repeating itself in my home.
15 years ago, I sat in 7th grade staring at my textbook. The subject? Math. Stupid, dumb, why do we need it, math. Okay, so I know why we need it; I just don’t like it. Or better yet, it doesn’t like me because I actually do like math. And one day, I would like to make it my bitch, but unfortunately it’s way too slick for me. I grasp a concept and it throws a letter or two into the mix. I solve for y and it tells I’m wrong because I initially solved x wrong. Math and I have just never seen eye to eye. That whore.
Now, though, math is playing a really shitty game of “I’m going to screw over your child’s life” and that’s a game that I’m unwilling to play.
See, when I first started having trouble with math, I was much, much younger than 13. I wasn’t a 7th grader, but a 4th grader. My theory is that I missed one day of school and my fourth grade teacher taught everything I would need to know to advance in my understanding of math that day. And because I wasn’t there, I missed it and thus have struggled every since. My friend, who was in the same fourth grade class as me, does not believe this to be true and insists that I didn’t miss enough that day to explain away my pitiful math track record. I disagree, but whatever. I don’t remember having problems in math before I missed that day, though. I don’t remember having math at all before that day. I was smooth sailing before then, so what happened?
Math scared me.
Math can be intimidated AF. With it’s integers and decimals and place values and shit. Intimidating. I was intimidated. But I was also afraid to ask for help and embarrassed to admit that I still needed help after getting help. So I struggled. And I struggled some more. And then a little bit more before my struggle became apparent. By this time, though, I was drowning. Math had made me its bitch. Anything dealing with numbers, I shied away from. Nope, can’t go into IT. They’ve got numbers and formulas. Can’t do accounting because, well, numbers. Science is out because percentages and shit. And, oh, business won’t work either because don’t you have to do financial projections and stuff and balance budgets? My fear of this tiny ass word ran and runs deep and it has dictated more decisions than I’d like to admit. For the first time, I’d come up against something that I couldn’t “get” and I didn’t know how to cope. So I didn’t.
The playing field now is different, though. I don’t have to deal with numbers on a regular basis and while I can appreciate that, my bank account does not. I assume that it’s possible to make a decent living in a non-STEM related field or in a field that does not rely on data analysis and projections, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my earnings. I digress.
Jam has a natural and innate interest in all things science and technology. She loves to build and create and hypothesize. It’s her thing. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that when it comes to numbers and math, in general, the struggle is real. At our most recent parent teacher conference, her teacher noted that while she’s progressing and not in jeopardy of failure, her academic performance when it comes to math is “inconsistent.” She told me about the class recently working on a timed math worksheet, where Jam struggled but didn’t ask for help. Sadly, that sounded familiar.
I should know this. Why don’t I know this?
This is the question that broke my heart. It was the question that prompted me to sign Jam up for summer school. With every insecurity in my body pulling me toward saying, “No, we’ll figure this out on our own because my child, my child, does not go to summer school,” I signed the paper. And here we are, summer school for math. I still feel some kinda way about this whole thing, but fortunately, it’s not about me. It’s about J and doing what’s best for her. So while I sulk every morning when I drop her off because “How could I let this happen?” and “Damn you, stupid math,” I know it’s the right decision.