The Way My Son Learned English
In his first year in Singapore, he was very lonely. I was at home in his sight all the time but busy and absorbed in my programming tasks. No friends, no siblings, not even another Myanmar near us.
We relieved his loneliness with books.
One book is about 10 pages, 1 page is about 1 picture and 1 or 2 words. The story makes sense even without words. Like Bee Smart, "Bee Happy" etc. After a few weeks, he got to Nate the Great, Cam Jensen etc.
There were no grammar, no vocab, no phonetics teaching. No idiom, no teaching, no discussion, no Q and A, either.
Maybe he showed us what he liked, he retold some stories to us.
After 1 or 2 years, he got to "The Red Badge of Courage," "The Burmese Harp," Roald Dahl etc.
After 1 or 2 years, he got to Sun Tzu at Gettysburg, Judo Strategy, "Psycho-Cybernetics," Paul Krugman, David Brooks, The Ethics of Belief, "Calculus Demystified," "Python for Beginners," "jQuery Animation Techniques," and a few other technical books.
He can read whatever he needs to read.
Now we don't bother what he's reading, except that I quote the first English quote I learned by heart, "At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet -- Plato," and tell him he'll like Shakespeare's sonnets and Keats's odes. He's going to be a poet very soon like every teen boy! (I wish him luck.)
The Way I Did Maths
I read Maths like we usually read newspapers.
- If I understand something, fine. If I don't, forget it.
- If a chapter looks very complicated, forget it.
- If an explanation, or an example looks very complicated, forget it.
- If an exercise looks tough, read the key.
- If the key looks tough, forget it.
- Tell that to Aristotle, who extols the virtues of daily actions and good habits.
- Tell that to Warren Buffet.
- Tell that to InGenius 's author. What I was doing was what she calls "Expedition." I was touring and shopping the Maths land.
In most life-changing exams in my days, my Math score averaged around 99 . No homework, no tuition, no extra class, a lot of football, a lot of hormone-driven touring, a lot of fooling around, and so on.
This shopping expedition method may not work for every situation ... Horses for courses ...
But if you are over-working, working less may be the cure. If you lack routine and daily exposure, structure may be the answer.
And good habits are foundations of every good maths, good English, good software, good business.