|Photo of Einstein's desk from Life Magazine, - note the written-out equations. Even HE couldn't do it all in his head.|
Here's the struggle: he won't learn math facts, and he won't write out the problems on paper and work it out by hand. I guess his little algebraic formula is supposed to take care of that for him. The problem is: you can do that with simple equations, but as the problems get more complex, it gets too difficult to keep everything straight as you are walking through the steps. So, his brilliant little math mind is making a complex equation that much harder by sending it through all these extra filters, and since he isn't walking through it on paper, he can't go back and see where his mistakes are - and he is getting the problems wrong. When we sit down and work out the problems with him, he gets every problem correct. I know he knows the process and can work out the answers.
But he is failing.
And this is the (rhetorical*) question with which I struggle as his parent - do I let him fail?
On the one hand, it would be really good for him to learn what it feels like to fail, to pick himself up and try again. It's not something he is good at (are any of us?), and he doesn't frequently have opportunities to try it out and see where it can take him. Failure leads to discovery, and discovery is all good. And failure builds resilience, which is definitely a character trait the kidlet needs to learn.
On the other hand - this is an expensive (online) class, and I'm not sure we are going to be very willing to pay another hefty sum to have the kidlet retake a class he should have passed the first time. And since the kidlet is already bored and impatient, I can't really imagine trying to do this again. He has been surprisingly cooperative this time around, but I don't see that happening again if he has to retake the class (performance anxiety rears its hideously ugly head).
And so... the math drama goes on. As I'm sure it will in the next class, and the class after that.
*I say this is a rhetorical question, because I know that Daddy and I will come up with the best answer for our family. I am not asking for you to answer this for us. Not that I don't appreciate your comments, dear readers, but we will make our decision based upon far more complexity than a blog post can communicate.