Grace is not so good at math, *I think.* Actually, I used to think she was good at math. She scores fine on her proficiency tests, and she manages to understand things after going through them. Some concepts are really easy for her. Yet, there is a breakdown somewhere. I just found out she has a D in math. She's turned in all her work, she passed some of the tests, but still, a D.
Ironically, the subject I did worst at in school was literature. I don't get literature at all. And don't even get me started on poetry (what is the point?). I like to write, I like to parse, I like to analyze the structure of language. I like foreign languages. But I do not like the metaphor and analogy of language. Actually, it's not that I don't like it -- it's that I don't understand it. I got cold chills the last time I sat in a classroom and a teacher threw poetry up on the board. Within 5 minutes, the other students had all concluded in laughter that it was terrible poetry and had given their reasoning. Meanwhile I was still scribbling down what everyone was saying, trying to figure out what made it poetry, much less bad poetry.
I never mastered literature. I just took my required classes, fudged through them, asked for a lot of help from my two sisters who were literature majors and my two roommates who were writing majors. When my colleagues bring up literature in a knowledgeable way, I just smile and try to look as if I know what I'm talking about. But in the end, I have no ability to "get" literature. I read it, and then I go to someone who understands it and ask them to explain it to me. (An extremely poignant example of this was when my friend Jason explained The Hours to me. No, really, I was the female in that exchange and he explained it to me.)
So I am unsure what to do about Grace and math. Unlike literature, I don't think Grace can do well enough in high school to get into college if she's lagging behind in 8th grade math. I want to encourage her that this is something fun and useful, even though it's difficult. I supposed this is just another great question that I ask myself in the annuls of parenting...