I have to write a short encouragement to you all tonight:
About 5 or 6 years ago I had a teenager who was not that interested in Math whatsoever, not terribly interested in a lot of Academics. In fact we had such constant nagging over getting Math done every day and so inconsistently succeeded that I decided he could learn it later on if he had the need for it. I valued a good relationship with him more than him knowing Algebra.
At the time we were doing Decimals, Fractions and some other basic Math leading up to Pre-Algebra. We didn’t do a whole lot of Math past that point. In the back of my head I felt very conflicted, especially since I love Math and I knew he probably would need it later on. I still felt though that he had the tools to learn it one day if he ever needed it. A few years later, we picked up a Math curriculum written by a college professor with a great DVD and he took it upon himself to start studying Algebra 1. He continued on and started Algebra 2 with the same publisher and then the day came about 6 months ago, when he decided to pursue Engineering and he realized he would have to get to Calculus.
He took off and studied Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus with the help of Khan Academy and some input from myself and his Dad and today he tested into Calculus 1 with his college placement test. I’m so proud of you, Jonny Hyman, for all the hard work you’ve put into this and for what you’ve accomplished all by yourself. I know you will be ready for anything now!
What this has proven to me just once again is that it is true that once a child sees the point in learning something and they see the need for it, they will do whatever it takes to push through it if they have the character training in place of perseverance and a high work ethic. Expose them to good life skills and books like 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens. Show them the joy those have who have found their passion and possibly an example or two of people who really hate their jobs. Academically, all they need will be the basics of the core subjects, that they learn early on and then they’ll take off. It fills me with so much joy to know that he now also loves Math, like myself and that he actually finds it more fascinating than even myself because he truly discovered it on his own and made those connections. He has long surpassed me now. Go Jonny!!
To everyone else, don’t stress too much if your child is “behind”, “ahead” or any other label, just help them find their way 🙂 All they need will be the basics of the core subjects, which they learn early on, maybe another Math teacher or tutor along the way, and then they’ll take off, in whatever direction they are meant to go. It fills me with so much joy to know that my son now also loves Math, like myself and that he actually finds it more fascinating than even myself because he truly discovered it on his own and made those important connections. He has long surpassed me now. Go Jonny!!
To everyone else, don’t stress too much : )