1/04/2008

How do I support that??

File this under the "kids can amaze you" section. Here is a conversation between the King and me a few minutes ago:

M - What is 1 plus 1?
L - Um...two.
M - (with an eyebrow raised) What is 2 plus 1?
L - Um...free
M - (with astonishment) What is 3 plus 1?
L - (holding up three fingers) Ummmm (another finger pops up) Four.
M - (looking at Mr. Oz questioningly) And what is Four plus one?
L - (adding another finger) FIVE!

Perhaps they have worked on this in his preschool? Nope. They are amazed that he knows his colors, his shapes, and can articulate "things that are..." (meaning "things that are round" or "things that are red" and the like). That he learned in KY at his preschool (and of course with us, because we play that game too). But as far as we can tell, no one has shared with him the value of "something plus something" to any extent.

So to test a theory to see if the King understands the word "plus" or if this was just a silly parlor trick that perhaps his big brother had taught him to memorize, I "changed it up a bit".

M - L, what is 1+2?
L - Uh...(looking at his one finger..then cautiously putting up two fingers)..uh...Free?!
M - What is 2+2?
L - (again with the hand digits, holding up two fingers then slowly raising two more)...Four!

Yikes! He gets the "plus" factor! He understands what it means?! Wait a minute. This is a three year old. Heck..he isn't even fully potty trained!! (Which is another story for another day!).

So my question for the day/week/month/year??! How the heck do I support and encourage that kind of intelligence??! (Okay, so he isn't ready for college or anything..but still!)

1 comment:

Carol P. said...

Sounds like you're supporting him just fine! He'll learn at his own pace at this point. Just be verbal about math (and everything else, for that matter) and he'll pick up what he's ready for.

Like, "Hmmmmm, I have 75 cents; what can I get out of this vending machine! Look, here's sunchips for 65 cents! Is that less than 75 cents? How much less? Hmmmm, 75 take away 65 is 10 cents! I should get 10 cents in change. What did I get? A dime! A dime is 10 cents!" with appropriate pauses for him to fill in the blanks. All the way through shopping and playing at the park (how many steps are there on the slide? Is that more than on the other slide?) and picking up toys at bedtime.

It's the usual mom-patter that makes you look really stupid when you realize that you're out all by yourself or with D and still doing it. "Yes, eggs! We need eggs! Eggie-deggies! Shall we get 12 or 18?..." "Look! There's a dog!" And then you see adults eyeing you sideways and sidling away as you realise that the King is home....

And don't discount the big brother effect, even if the Cadet didn't teach him this. Just seeing the Cadet do math (or grumble about having to do it) is a powerful influence. If the Cadet's doing it, the king thinks it must be important. And the King is probably fairly certain that he can do whatever the Cadet does, if only he tries it enough.

I still remember after Mom and Dad fought to get me able to skip a grade, they asked me if I wanted to. There I was in the living room, just me and them, and they asked "Do you want to?" All I could think of was our big brothers D and R complaining about how much they hated school and hated homework. So the biggest factor in my saying "Yes!" was that it occurred to me that I'd have one year less of school, that awful thing that they kept whining about. Even though I personally knew just about nothing about school, having been through kindergarten and a month of first grade.