For the most part, I love my school. Yes it can be stressful. Or, rather, it is stressful. All. The Time. But there are also moments like right now when I am rather relaxed and feel particularly accomplished. That’s because I just finished an assignment that took a ridiculous amount of time and probably used up just as ridiculous of an amount of my braincells, but I came away feeling like I actually learned a lot, which is an amazing feeling to have when it’s genuine.
In those moments, I can actually take a step back and look at school as something that has allowed me to develop my mind and learn and grow so much. My school has offered me a high level of education and has taught me how to manage my time and think critically through tough problems, among many other things. I don’t think I fully appreciate how much I learn through my classes until the next year when I’m in a class a step up and realize how much I know from the previous year that is helping me currently.
So let’s take this whole school discussion step-by-step through each subject. And because I have a lot to say about school, this will probably be a mini series.
Wait. I hear something. Oh, right, that’s just about everyone groaning. I’ll admit that I’m groaning a bit inside, too. And yet I still call myself a math person.
I’ve never really liked differentiating between the humanities and the sciences because I like both and I can’t possibly just give one up. So even though I call myself a math and science person, I also love reading and writing (obviously). And yet, it is easier for me to get higher grades in the humanities than in the sciences. In fact, I find math to be extremely difficult. I’ve always liked challenging myself and I want to take the highest levels I can in math. It gets more difficult with each passing year to get higher grades. Which means that every year I’m taking a class that’s way harder than the last and struggling.
Struggling, I’ve come to realize, is good. Struggling at something doesn’t mean you are necessarily bad at it. In many cases, it means that you are challenging yourself to your utmost ability and setting high standards for yourself. And what doing that does is lead to exponential growth in your abilities.
When I am wrestling with a difficult problem in math (and this happens a lot), it can be frustrating. I can work on a particularly difficult problem for a half hour or an hour. Or even longer. Sometimes it results in tears.
But you see, as long as I have the time I need to fully think out that problem by myself (with a few pointers from other resources as needed), the process of figuring out a tough problem is so valuable. You can learn so much from one problem and failing and failing and failing with your approach to that problem makes the solution so much more memorable. Besides, it feels amazing when I finally solve a problem. I end up feeling so accomplished and until I reach the next tough problem, I feel like I can achieve anything.
If it wasn’t for the way my parents raised me, I’m not sure that I would be very motivated when it comes to math. Whenever I feel like I’m a failure at math (pretty much all the time this year because math just got ten times harder), it is so tempting to throw up my hands and say that I’m just not good at math. And that I must not be a math person like I thought it was. Thankfully, my parents have raised me with the mindset that I should never limit myself by saying that I’m not a math person.
I can be a math person-even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
In the next edition of this mini-series, I’ll discuss some other subjects, and possibly even more general things like tests (oh, the horror) and public school as a whole.
What do you think of math? Do you like how it’s taught at your school/home school? Any requests for other posts in this series?