Starting high school, my daughter continued to excel in Mathematics until the wheels came to a grind in Grade 9. I enrolled her with Master Maths when she started high school. Her performance began to drop. I asked for a reason, and she said she does not like Master Maths and she prefers to have a one-on-one class. I then got a tutor to do that and the performance did not improve still. Upon asking the tutor, she indicated that for any child to get the maths skills right, they need to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to practising maths. Otherwise, mastering maths will be a challenge.
Then my daughter complained about the teacher. We then got another young man to help her. Her marks improved by 40%! She passed her grade 10 maths well. She then asked that she not get a tutor. She will be fine. Her marks dropped again. At this stage I was frustrated as a parent and spoke to different people about a possible solution. Then someone suggested Kumon Maths programme. The condition was that she must be willing to work hard. I told her that this is my last attempt to help her. She bombed out of the Kumon programme. I decided to take over and personally continue with learning Maths.
I then realised that there is a lot of work involved. I decided to bite the bullet and continue. It was hard and I questioned my sanity. The reason I enrolled was to find out what the problem is and how I can be of help to the many African children who, it is reported, struggle with Maths. There were sums that I had to complete in 20 minutes and it took me an hour to do, sometime more. There were times when I would have a headache just thinking of the mathematical problems I must solve. There were times I struggled so much and had to ask help from my children and my teachers. My children had this arrogant satisfactory look as if to say “Yes mama, so you thought it was easy. You always had a lot to say about our Maths competence”. For me, giving up was not an option. I have a reputation to protect.
As I write, I am doing level G (equivalent of Grade 8-9) and going strong. There are a few basic lessons/discoveries I learnt since I started.
I therefore urge you, as a parent, to check with your child if they are willing to work hard before they take up Maths. Enrol them for extra Mathematics classes while in Grade 1 already. Nip it in the bud! It will be money well spent.