I'm not sure how to verbalise this, but I've been thinking about this subject. I will try.
I assume there are two types of students in the remedial math classes. Those who received inadequate instruction, but have good math ability and like math, and those who are behind because they don't understand and likely don't like math.
The first group are very likely to catch up. The second group might catch up, or they might not. If they don't catch up, does this mean they are a failure? Or they simply figured out something about themselves and are now know to choose a different path?
My experiece: Math was shoved down my throat in a Soviet school, and I did well (really well--like placing third in a republican math competition, though I have no idea how I managed this LOL) , until I arrived to Canada when I was sixteen. Suddenly I had a choice in my last year of highschool not to take any math. I haven't touched math since, and in fact I struggled with the 4 courses in statistical analysis that I had to take for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. And don't even ask me about "Biological Foundations of Behaviour", which was a mandatory course. More than half of my classmates struggled with those courses, probably closer to 75%. When I did my own research for my thesis, I had access to statistical tutors in a special lab--most of my classmates used the lab to help with their statistics. It wasn't a big deal, really. I had enough knowledge to understand most of it, and what I didn't fully understand, I got help with. Many of my professors, including my supervisor and the chair of the department, knew less of statistical analysis than I did, and certainly cared less. This was University of Toronto, btw. Help was always available.
I've always known that math was not for me. Never liked it, beyond simple arithmetics. I am profficient in quickly calculating percentages i my head, adding, subtracting, multiplying, figuring out how much fabric I'd need--the basic stuff. I'm good at basic statistics. These are the skills that most children ARE likely to learn from real life, so to speak. These are the skills one is likely to learn in a couple of months as a teenager, or at least figure out how to use a calculator for.
It is hard for me imagine a youth who disliked math and felt incompetent in it, and yet who wanted a career in a math related field.
And if one really wants a career in a math related field, I assume he or she likes math enough to catch up.
So what IS the problem with math? (and I'm not free of those worries myself, especially in the darkness of winter months )
Is it more of a marker of success (as a homeschooler, and in terms of future success) than, let's say, creative writing, computer science, geography or dance? Why whenever there is a discussion about worries and concerns there are stories about kids being able or not able to catch up in math?