People have to start from the ground, then first step, second, third and so on to reach their destination floor. Exactly the same way students have to start from Kindergarten, then grade one, grade two and three and so on to reach their math destination. Also, if some of the steps are broken in the staircase, it is still hard to reach the desired floor using those steps. Same way, if you are missing some of the basic concepts from elementary grades, math for you is still hard. Now, the kindergarten, first grade and second grade are like first couple of the steps of the stairs. You can learn this level of math easily, as you can jump enough to take yourself to second or third step of the stairs easily. As it is very hard to reach sixth or seventh step of a stairs by jumping from the ground, exactly the same way to learn grade five or higher grade math is very hard (or impossible) without having the good knowledge of the kindergarten to grade three or grade four math. Now, consider one person is jumping on the ground to reach the third floor of a building. Can this person make it? Never, if he is not Spiderman. For this person, to reach the third floor by jumping is impossible or very hard and finally he gave up saying that it was very hard to reach third floor.
Who's Fault? _ Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.