Tzaneen - A Limpopo father who insisted on teaching mathematics to his own children in a rural high school before quitting his teaching career, is continuing to help impoverished learners wrap their minds around the subject in his top-notch home school.Thomas Makhubele, 52, from Tzaneen, helped 40 matriculants pass the subject with distinctions last year after he started a project which runs maths festivals and offers extra-lessons."If a teacher doesn't have the confidence to teach his own biological child in class, how can he expect other parents to put their children in his care?" he asked.While still a teacher at Zivuko Secondary School in Mariveni village, near Tzaneen, Makhubele taught mathematics to three of his children. One of them, Khanyisa Makhubele, got 100% in the subject, becoming one of the top matriculants in Mpumalanga in 2015.The three children are currently pursuing careers in actuarial science, civil engineering, and medicine at the University of Cape Town.Last year, the father of five quit his job and turned his home garage into a modern classroom, fitted with a white board, overhead projector and computer technology for online and video instruction."My mission is to debunk the myth that mathematics is a difficult subject. I am now free to explore the richness and beauty of the subject without being hindered by the administrative workload and the politics prevalent in a school environment," he said.Filling the gapsHis project organises maths festivals by inviting some of the best teachers to take part in a celebration of problem-solving with his pupils. It also offers year-long extra classes after school hours and on weekends."I love mathematics and teaching. I don't even have time to watch soccer games or attend funerals of close relatives," he said.Trivans Mpenyana, 17, who wants to study medicine and has been part of the project since Grade 8, got five distinctions, including 87% in mathematics."He was like a father to me. He provided me with study guides and inspired me to love the subject," he said.Hlayisi Mukansi, 18, who has been admitted to Wits University to study civil engineering, got four distinctions, including 81% for mathematics.He said Makhubele helped fill the gaps resulting from poor early teaching."The extra classes helped me a lot. He was very patient and took time to teach us some of the basic skills we should have learned in the lower grades," Mukansi said.