Wilson and Math

I will admit to the possibility that I am too easily impressed by the accomplishments of my children. But what can I say? They are extremely gifted, each in their own ways, and how can I not be impressed?

I will make another admission, and that is that I’ve only been working with Wilson on his math for about 3 weeks now. I know it’s practically a cardinal sin that we didn’t spend an hour a day on math in kindergarten, but there you go. We do talk about math concepts from time to time at the dinner table or during the occasional times I feel strong enough to have a helper at mealtime. (Cooking is great for measuring and counting, right?!) Being a white-board junkie, Nick has gone down a few math rabbit holes with the kids since we hung a board next to the kitchen table. (That’s how they learned what a googol is; how else?) But formal math lessons didn’t happen until I got myself organized this fall, and we are both really enjoying them.
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I chose the Math-U-See curriculum for its combination of manipulatives (fancy word for BLOCKS), aural and visual lessons, and emphasis on concepts in addition to memorization. Plus, there is limited preparation required, which is very important!

This system begins laying the foundation for higher math in a natural way. In the eighth lesson, solving for an unknown is slyly introduced. Word problems are mixed in from the beginning. Today, Wilson surprised me by solving these problems on his own:

Chad is eight years old. How old will he be in nine more years? __ + __ = __
Answer: 8 + 9 = 17. 17 years old.

OK, that’s pretty straightforward, right? This one is a little tougher:

Seven guests have been served either milk or juice. Six are drinking juice. How many are drinking milk? __ + __ = __
Answer: 6 + 1 = 7. 1 is drinking milk.
(Ah, now we’re mixing up the factors and you see it doesn’t have to be a subtraction problem since we haven’t “done” subtraction yet.)

Here’s one more that blew my mind when Wilson solved it:

Abigail wanted 9 rubber ducks in her wading pool. She put in 5 and her friend put in 2. How many ducks are in the pool so far? How many more ducks must she put in to make 9?
Answer: 5 + 2 = 7. 7 + 2 = 9. 2 more ducks.

OK, so maybe it’s more than a possibility that I’m easily impressed. But since it’s mainly the children’s blood relatives who read this blog, I doubt I’m in any danger of praising them too much.

3 thoughts on “Wilson and Math

  • September 2, 2009 at 7:21 pm
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    No wonder he didn’t want “addition” sheets at school!

  • September 2, 2009 at 7:28 pm
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    Wow, that’s 1st grade work? That’s amazing!

  • September 2, 2009 at 7:55 pm
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    Look, even the non-relative reader is impressed.

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