Dr. Sophia Grant: I recently received my children's math placement for the fall. Unlike most parents, who would be ecstatic to see both their children recommended for an accelerated program, I am terrified. My name is Sophia and I have mathphobia.
I have kept it secret for years and thought that it would never come back. But like an alcoholic, I will always have the disease. It started early on in my academic career, when I was prematurely advanced. I floundered. Even when placed in the regular classes, I struggled. I needed a math tutor for most of high school. Mr. Green, my tutor, was "my sponsor."
How can this be, then, that my kids are doing so well? My daughter is in the math club and my son asks me to give him "hard problems that he can do in his head." He tells me they're too easy, but I have to choose something I can do in my head. I just started writing them down and he does them mentally.
The anxiety is back, and I fear I will not be able to help them. Even worse, what if they struggle just as I did? I wonder if I can put them in a regular class ... What type of parent contemplates this? I have fallen off the wagon.
I only use math for two things: figuring out my percent savings, and doubling and dividing recipes. I have managed to keep my fear from my kids, lest I transfer my baggage. Would they even be susceptible? Maybe not.
When the Reptile Guy came to school, I contemplated keeping them home. Instead, I sent them off and told them how awful snakes and iguanas were and how they could get salmonella from those cold-blooded creatures. Upon their return, they both told me how they had held a frog and touched a snake. My son was even pictured in the yearbook with a python around his neck.
I am glad that they refused to be held back by my fear, but how often do I really have to deal with snakes? Math is a different story. The future holds algebra, geometry, trig, and dare I say it -- cal-cu-lus. OH, HELP ME. I will now say, without hesitation, "Go ask your father."
|Dr Sophia Grant has over 15 years of experience as a pediatrician working in a variety of settings. After completion of a fellowship in Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma, she stayed on as a faculty member and is now a Clinical Assistant Professor. She is also co-author of "Visual Diagnosis of Child Abuse on CD-ROM", third edition. When not doctoring, Dr Grant spends her time being a wife and mother of three wonderful children.|