M

I am not a numbers person. I do not have dyscalculia, which is a kind of numbers dyslexia, that Mich posted about today over at Sick B*tch, and her post is certainly worth reading. I do sympathize with her, though. My mother and brother are both CPAs, my husband deals with numbers and calculations all day. They seem to think better in numbers and equations than I do. They’re even more likely to win those stupid how many M&Ms are in the jar contests than I am.

I’m not going to say I can’t do math, because I can. I just have to work at it. Amber’s taking algebra this year, getting As by the way, and will be in geometry next year and I’ll be able to keep up, but it’ll be the third time I’ve learned the subjects. The first was when I went through school. The second time was when my husband went back to community college. I have to relearn the concepts each time.

Math is important and we all use it everyday. It’s how I know if I have enough cash in my pocket for lunch, how many shopping days are left until Easter. Granted it’s simple math, but I don’t do much complicated stuff unless it’s helping Amber with homework. But I can do it. I may have to sketch a number line occasionally, or draw a picture to work out a word problem, but I am capable.

I am not so much capable of winning Power Grid. I come close occasionally, but never quite manage it. Maybe I should pull out paper and pencil next time we play.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about Amber’s math classes before this school year started. I picked up a few used books and I ‘ve only had to refer to them a couple of times, but they are quite useful. The images link to Amazon.com.

I’m going to quote a bit from Cathy at mathbabe from the letter to a high school student she posted on 11/11/13 because I like what she has to say. I think it fits for a lot of people who don’t feel they’re as good at math as others.

But it’s not a race. Mathematics is patient and doesn’t mind. Think of it, your slowness, or lack of quickness, as a style thing but not as a shortcoming.

In reality, mostly of being good at math is really about how much you want to spend your time doing math. And I guess it’s true that if you’re slower you have to want to spend more time doing math, but if you love doing math then that’s totally fine. Plus, thinking about things overnight always helps me. So sleeping about math counts as time spent doing math.

Math is not a competitive sport. It’s one of the only existing truly crowd-sourced projects of society, and that makes it highly collaborative and community-oriented, even if the awards and prizes and media narratives  about “precocious geniuses” would have you believing the opposite. And once again, it’s been around a long time and is patient to be added to by you when you have the love and time and will to do so.