If your Mom understands mathematics…

Lyudmila has two children —  a 7 y.o. daughter in second grade, and an 11 y.o. son in the sixth grade. They are now both in two different Kazan math summer camps — and their Mom goes from one to the other many times in the week, teaching math and organizing the process. Today, Lyudmila and her team have put in place math camps for children from 7 to 17 years old. It seems realistic that her own children would go completely through all the years of such education.

We meet Lyudmila’s son between two classes, and he tells us what is his relationship with mathematics, his sister and his Mom.

How comfortable it is to have a Mom who understands mathematics?

It’s cool, in principle. For example, I can come to her and say Mom, I do not understand combinatorics, can you explain it to me please? I can come at any moment to my Mom when she doesn’t work, and she will answer and help me. 

Concerning math problems, there are always questions that stay open with my Mom — she would never give an answer if I do not solve a problem myself. You know, there is this play, you can ask any question and a person says yes or no, and you have to find an explanation to a story. That time the story was: a man is lying dead in the middle of the desert, with a piece of wood in his hands. What happened?… To this problem, my Mom wouldn’t tell me an answer for two years in a row!

So she can help explaining things but hints or answers to problems — you shouldn’t wait for this from her. (He smiles at his Mom)

Tell us about the first math camp in which you went when you were 6 years old and in which your sister is now?

The pedagogues are really fun there and they really love children. They explain very tenderly what you can or can’t do, and what is not good. Or on the contrary, they will tell you — what you did is very good, about mathematics or not. I think it’s cool to have very nice, good people, adults around you who will always support you when you are 6 or 7 years old.

You have a younger sister, do you discuss math with her?

Sometimes when my sister asks for help, I help her — when Mom is not around, or she is occupied, but that’s not so often. Usually my sister solves everything herself.

What do you like most in Olympiads?

I love to solve a very difficult problem that few people have solved. That’s cool!

Lyudmila’s son has already won a Republic’s Olympiad and her daughter is still young — it is too early to tell, Lyudmila says.