This evening my son Theo and I attended an end-of-summer party at the Mathnasium in nearby Eagle Rock, where he spent a good chunk of time in June and July working on gaps in his math foundational math skills. Theo doesn’t like math and so he didn’t appreciate having to spend so much of his summer vacation studying when he “should be” playing. However, I had made the mistake of not forcing him to practice math the summer before, and the result was a disastrous year of math at his school; for much of the year he felt dumb and I felt guilt-ridden and desperate. So, I dragged him to Mathnasium, which is a kid-friendly math learning center that assesses children’s ability and then tailors a math “workout” for them to build up their math muscles. Theo had a lot of weak spots, so he spent the summer reviewing some of the math that hadn’t stuck a couple of years’ ago. Then one afternoon at the end of July, after almost two full months of extra math workouts and just when I was starting to notice a real improvement in his basic math skills, Theo rebelled and refused to attend Mathnasium any more. He literally refused to get out of the car in front of the center, saying he was done with math for the summer. Though extremely frustrated, I decided that I needed to cut my losses and be satisfied with what he had achieved. I reluctantly cancelled our membership for August, and the owners of the Mathnasium, Brent and Jillian, sympathetically refunded the payment we’d already made.