Although Gavin’s speech and reading progress has been good, I have always worried about his disinterest in math. Fearing that math may be his weak link, I have been constantly in search of math programs in the hope that he would magically discover a passion for math.
Why do I obsess about math? Well, I have always enjoyed math in school – it was one of those black and white subjects where you’re either right or you’re wrong. There were no shades of gray in math so it was never open to interpretation and I like that. I took advanced math in high school and I had a whole string of awards from school for excellence in math. Yet, despite being supposedly “good” at math, I carried a shameful secret. My mental math is abysmal. Yes, it is such a paradox that a person can be good at math but dreadful at mental math, but here I stand.
Okay so maybe this isn’t a good reason for wanting the boys to be good at math, but I’m sure being good at mental math will have its benefits at school and in real life. Nevertheless, it is a skill I want the boys to develop.
After reading the Heguru handbook about raising children by developing their strengths, I have decided to stop obsessing so much about math and concentrate on helping the boys develop their areas of interest first. Heguru’s philosophy is that if you help your children develop their strengths, they will gain the confidence to face their weaknesses.
If you want to discover and develop your child’s abilities, you need to expose your child to a variety of activities and observe which activities he fully immerses himself into. So this is what I have been working on with Gavin and I have noticed his growing interest in the human body. His favourite Dr Seuss books are “Oh the Things You Can Do That are Good for You” and “Inside Your Outside“. His favourite song from They Might Be Giants “Here Comes Science” is “The Blood Mobile”. Then there was his toy skeleton that we bought from BeyondKid. Coinciding with this interest is his current curiosity about where babies come from and how babies are made. The only other subject he has been totally immersed in is Thomas and Friends.
Maria Montessori also talked about absorbent phases in a child’s life when learning is extremely easy because the child seeks the knowledge. Well, I reckon Gavin is having an absorbent phase on the human body right about now so I went out on a limb and bought him the book “Your Amazing Body” by Richard Walker.
Although the book was supposed to be a surprise for Gavin, I knew he snuck a look at it while I was busy getting Gareth down for nap. When I asked him if he wanted to look at the book, he wasn’t interested at all. I expected as much because he has seen so many pictorial images of the body that he didn’t really recognise the real images of the human body in this book. When I explained to him what he was looking at – “See, this is how a baby grows. When you were in Mummy’s tummy, this is what you looked like. Then you grew and grew and grew, until you you got so big, the doctor had to take you out. And this is what you looked like when you were born.”
When we talked about the blood, I made references back to the lyrics from the blood mobile: “these are the white blood cells – the soldiers fighting infectious germs”. Then he started making connections back to what he read in his Dr Seuss book. When everything started to fit into place, he got really excited about the book. Heguru also said that learning should be experiential – looks like it might be time for another visit to the National Science Center so we can look over the exhibits on the human body…