Monday, February 11, 2008


I have a friend who has a daughter with some math challenges. She knows that this is one of the biggest areas that Jonathan struggles with, so she came to me to see how we deal with it.

I encouraged her to focus more on her daughter's attitude than the quantity of the work completed.

This is why I say that.

When a child struggles with a subject it can be that either they have no desire to learn so are not putting forth an effort or they really do not get it.

I have seen both at work here. Jonathan really tries and cannot easily get concepts whereas Mikey gets most everything and is therefore bored and thinks that he hates school...sigh. I am working both ends of the spectrum here.

If I continue daily to expect Jonathan to move on through and past information that he did not grasp just to keep up a schedule
I am not helping him.
It serves to make him angry with himself for poor performance and then self-fulfills his prophecy that he can't "get" math!

If I can break that same schedule up into bite sized pieces that he can handle and he sees himself with some level of success each day it enables him to build the confidence that he can do it...sometimes this is possible for him...sometimes not.
As I said in a previous post we have made compensations for his inability to memorize the multiplication tables in the interest of his being able to move forward in higher math processes.
That has been a very good thing.

Having success nearly every day has enabled Jonathan to proceed much farther this year than I would have predicted possible. I am excited for him and look forward to seeing how far he gets.

Having my friend ask these questions was good...but to get an e-mail four days later with much excitement that her daughter had gotten a concept that she had been struggling with was even better!!!

Sometimes we, as the mom/teacher, need to relax a bit so our children can succeed.

Do you know what I am saying?

Have you ever been in a pressurized situation where someone is just really on your case to do something and the harder they push the more you focus on the fact that they are pushing and less on the task that they wish for you to complete?

I think of myself at a grocery store counting out change. If the cashier is all anxious and huffy I can be distracted by her attitude and lose count making it take all the longer. This just makes the situation worse. I believe that many times this is what we do to our children by expressing, verbally or not, our own frustration at their seeming inability to learn.
They focus on the "Can'ts" instead of the "Can's".
They worry about our level of frustration to the point of distracting themselves.

When we relax and watch for an attitude that is trying...and then work along side the struggling an encouraging way...we get much better results than we would have by just trying to be work processors with these challenged children.

So, that was my point about the attitude. If your child is demonstrating that they are trying but just are not getting it...make a compensation...cut the lesson size down...let them do it in three days instead of one...whatever it takes for them to see success. Sometimes I have just skipped a chapter if need be and come back to it later.

Be flexible. Relax. Your child will get what he or she is capable of and that is what God designed them to achieve.

I would be amazed if God has a career in math planned for Jonathan.

However, I can easily see Jonathan in ministry, counseling, writing, art or many other areas where he is extremely gifted.

Let us try not to major in our children's minors...but keep keeping on...getting to the next their pace.
Always encouraging and lifting these children up!

Your friend,

Becky K.

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