My 4.69 year old son asks me math questions all the time. For example, "Dad, what's 90 plus 73?" or "What's 700 minus 2000?".
I answer as fast as I can; and he can't stump me, yet, unless he ventures into the *jillions*.
Yesterday I was half asleep on the floor, my prime resting place, when he badgered me, "Dad, 19 plus what number equals 70?".
Now he's fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, negative numbers, and we just started fractions....so I guess it was time to start manipulating equations. I introduced him to X - the unknown variable; how to solve for it; and how to check his answer.
Click the pics to enlarge.
I believe the ancient Greeks were fanatical about keeping mathematics a purely theoretical arena. They thought little of applying it, practically, to the outside world. Their stance was that math was simply a way to hone one's thinking.
On that last point I couldn't agree more. BUT, I believe a teacher just has to keep subjects relevant or the kids can lose interest - as I tragically did with english, science, history, and the arts growing up. So now I'm going to have to drum up some real world word problems for Prince C-Nut....
Note that while my son may be doing algebra today, it was only one year ago that we started our *work*. Last August was when he began writing the alphabet with Kumon books. How many years does it take for factory schools to get to solving equations? Six? Seven? Or Eight?
It really pisses me off when people say he's a prodigy. Yeah, that's a slight against his parents - but more so because it's a lousy justification for one's own parental negligence.
Kids are awake for 14 hours per day. The idea that they can't spend a mere hour or two sitting down with pencil and paper doesn't fly.
My son pushes back all the time. I simply withhold dessert, the park, swimming, his Knex legos, etc.
I drill into his head that *everyone has WORK to do....everyday*. I can't tell you how many times I've reiterated to him, "Nana's at WORK....Mom's WORKING....I have WORK to do". I even refer to his younger sister doing her *puzzle WORK*. This way it can't possibly ever seem weird for him to be doing some work, every single day.
And on those rare days where my son doesn't do anything cerebral.....his behavior is uncharacteristically off-the-wall. But that's a subject for another post.