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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Raising My Game

One of the things I regret most about High School was how lightly I took it.

I was just smart enough to breeze through most of my classes but dumb enough to not actually bother challenging myself.

And, unfortunately, I never really had that movie moment where the 'sly, noble-hearted -- possibly Robin Williams -- teacher' notices me at the back of the class and urges me forward/ helps me uncover my true potential.

I did have a couple of fantastic teachers that made school fun, that much is true... but no one really said 'hey, you can be better'.

And, really, I didn't care. I was bored and I could skate through... so I did.

Except for Math.

It's always been my one sticking point. Math was one of those subjects where I could be sitting in a room with 30 other kids, follow the same steps as everyone else and still, somehow, manage to come out with a different answer. I struggled like I had never struggled before and soon grew to hate Math with every fiber of my pudgy, impudent being.

How dare it not work?! How dare it mess up my day? (yeah, I was a bit of a brat).

Of course, it didn't help that my teacher's idea of teaching was the ol' "the answers are in the back of the book" approach.

But I digress.

Now that I am firmly in the 'parent'-al camp, soon to be influencing my child's outlook on the world (and hopefully helping out with homework, etc)... I've decided to try and address this age-old problem of mine: My utter aversion to/hatred of Math.

Enter Khan Academy.

If you're not sure what Khan Academy is... it's a school, of sorts. An online, go-at-your-own-pace, school where you can learn pretty much anything... for free.

I happened upon it one night while randomly surfing the web, trying to figure out how in the hell I'd tackle re-learning Math. I'd been considering the possibility of going back to school, trying to figure out how the heck I'd make that work, when I saw the website.

I've been picking away at it every once and a while over the last few weeks, little bits here and there when I can... but already I'm finding myself better at some simple things -- doing basic math in my head used to take a long time, I used to stumble over the numbers, trying to envision them. Now, I'm faster, more accurate... and that's only after a few weeks of puttering around with it.

Honestly, out of it all, I'm surprised at just how much I WANT to learn. And because I can go at my own pace -- without someone breathing down my neck, able to use it when I'm feeling most receptive -- I'm picking it up and it's staying with me.

Hot damn... I'm learning.

Anyways, I really wanted to share this website here -- not only to help those of us Artistic-types who've shunned Math for our own reasons, but also because they teach SO MUCH MORE as well. And it's all free.

So, please, take a minute or two, check out the site and see if maybe it's time for you to learn something new... or brush up on things that you might've forgotten.


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