I say this with more pride and surprise than you can imagine. My 3rd grade teacher kindly consoled me with these words, "Girls just aren't as good in math, my dear." I grabbed onto that little nugget of sympathy and worked it over good through the years, comforting myself with it often through my struggles and failures in this area. After all, I wasn't meant to be any good at this!
When I began homeschooling, I realized that this negative stance I'd taken against mathematics wasn't going to help my sons at all - so I cut "I hate math" out of my vocabulary and focused on being an encourager. To my surprise, I began to see this subject in a new light - it was actually a little fun and kind of like puzzles. Still, I grew anxious as we passed on through the lower levels of math and approached the stages that actually got their own names - firstly ALGEBRA. I entered it keeping my fear and trepidation secret, as well as the sigh of relief that blew through me when my sons all proved adept at this dreaded subject without much (or after a while, any) help from me. With my third son, homeschooling had changed as well as our finances so that I could afford to put him in a class with a "real" teacher with experience from years of public school teaching. More than anything, I wanted accountability for that particular son so we went with a very fine homeschool Mom to lead him forward in this subject.
Bear in mind, however, that underneath it all I really felt that if push came to shove - I could teach this to my children. My thoughts on education, on my own capabilities, on what we can do with the Lord's help has changed so much since I was a struggling, disappointed eight year old dealing with failure.
Time goes by and in 2004 we bring our daughters into our family. They'd had no formal education prior to our adoption, so hands-on-total-involvement is the name of the game. Five years later, and my oldest daughter is now entering the first math with a title. Here we go again.... And unlike my sons, I sense my girls will need me to continue to walk beside them in these upper years. So I am called out to own up - do I really think I can teach this stuff or were those just inner illusions of grandeur I was schlepping around?
Well, you never know until you try! It has been slow going, but it has been going. I am learning each day alongside my girl, but I amazed by this!
I picture this same daughter on the plane as we came home from Bogota. She was a rather bossy, emotional, exuberant child full of bravado. She and I had "bonded" while in Colombia as she threw up all over my shoes while I held her after a twisty ride to the top of Monserrat. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from her as we lifted off the ground and our plane took flight. She looked across the aisle, nodding knowingly at me and smiled as though to say, "This is just what I knew it would be like."
It feels something like that.