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It’s official: younger son is smarter than I am. October 3, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in gifted, homeschooling, math, younger son.
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Younger son isn’t one you’d pinpoint as being very gifted…at least I wouldn’t.  I have had random people tell me that he’s quite bright, but that’s never what has come across to me.  He’s very outgoing and socially conscious…VERY big on morals and ethics.  Fun.  Goofy.  Just wants to get his homework done so he can play.

In other words, to me he seems like a perfectly normal little boy.

In math, he’s one of these kids who struggles with computation.  Not as badly as some kids (*ahem* older brother *ahem*), but it is his computation that slows him down.  He’s enrolled in Stanford’s EPGY program for math, which we do at home (even though the school still grumbles occasionally).  I thought he’d get into the program, but I was honestly stunned at his ability to answer logic questions.  I remember when he took the test, I was watching, trying to puzzle through some of the questions and he was already onto the next question.  It made me realize that there’s obviously some ability there…but because of the computation issues, he struggles to express it.

When helping the younger son do some homework on percentages earlier this week, he made a very interesting comment:

When you divide an even number by an odd number, except five, you get a repeating decimal.  When you divide an odd number by an even number, though, you just get a remainder.

Is that right?  It sounded like it was plausible, but I’d never come across such a rule.  I had to look it up.

According to Wolfram’s MathWorld, if the divisor is a multiple of two or five you get finite decimal expansion.  If, however, the denominator contains a prime other than 2 or 5, you’ll get a periodic decimal expansion (i.e. repeating decimal).  

So he was very close and might have been able to prove it by induction for very small n…if he knew how to do proof by induction.

It kind of stunned me, though, that he was trying to figure this out and neither Mike nor I had ever given it any thought.

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