My little professor February 28, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, homeschooling, meta, teaching, younger son.
Tags: gifted, gifted education, math, younger son
The younger son is really blowing me away in math. He started 5th grade math yesterday, and we expect him to be through it by the end of the year. If you’re wondering why this is surprising, keep in mind that he’s only 7. (My husband and I both shake our heads and keep wondering what we would’ve accomplished had we been able to accelerate in school.)
I will admit that the program recommends students do at least 20 minutes of math per day, and he does 40. I found that he needed some time to ‘warm up’. It seems like when he starts, he’s not crazy about the idea of doing homework. He would much rather go play with his Legos (and I can’t say I blame him). So he spends the first few minutes sighing and agonizing about having to do homework. Then, after 5-10 minutes, something clicks, and he decides he likes what he’s doing and starts focusing. So maybe half of the time is productive. I then have him do another 20 minute session (and by this point, he’s enjoying himself, so I almost never have to remind him), where he seems focused for about 10 minutes or so, and the last 10 minutes, he starts getting distractable.
When we did 20 minutes, he would have to quit just as he was getting into his stride. I also found that it took him longer to get through things because it had been a longer amount of time since he’d last seen it. He would forget things that he’d already learned.
It also took me a while to realize that while he may be wiggling and looking around at everything else, he apparently has to move to think. (If I wiggled around half as much as he did, I’d fall out of my chair. And my productivity would take a serious dive.) I keep wondering if he wiggles this much at school, although his teacher has never mentioned it. Also, I supposed part of it comes from sitting in a desk most of the day.
I really like to sit with him while he’s doing his math. I don’t usually say much, or I’ll be reading something on my iPhone. If he gets stuck, though, he likes to talk through the problem, and I am amused at how he sounds like a little math professor. (Heck, I think he explains things better than some of my elementary school teachers did.) Last night, however, I noticed that he was supposed to be comparing two sets of equations with numbers regrouped in different ways. The lesson was on the associative property of multiplication. The problems involved solving one multiplication expression and then the same expression again with the numbers grouped differently. It looked something like this:
The idea is to prove that you can regroup the numbers and end up with the same answer, verifying that multiplication is associative. The younger son would solve the first equation and then just type the same answer into the second one.
I said, “Don’t you think you ought to solve that second one just to make sure it’s the same?”
He responded, in my best little exasperated professor voice, “No. Multiplication is associative, so I don’t need to.”
I couldn’t help but giggle.
If he already thinks he knows more than me now, I dread what he will be like as a teenager.