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Kid is good at math; too young for area to consider useful; Any suggestions

southpawdoesart

New member
Mar 27, 2018
0
So, I already wrote this as a short story on another website... so I'll link this.

https://www.wattpad.com/553041235-short-stories-and-poems-just-after-that-last-proud

It's pretty simple. She's little. She's got talent. Knowledge takes time to acquire. Schools in the area don't care till she's in 5th grade or something, it seems. As she's in Kindergarten, that doesn't help much. Her first timed test was rather traumatizing, so standardized testing ain't likely to show much. Additionally, she 'plays the part' very well, so her teachers as a rule haven't seen what I see every week in the car.

My solution, the only solution I have, has been to find books to work with her a little each day. The school is doing their best, so it's not that I have any complaints, it's simply that I've got a lot of workbooks that say one thing, but living to the expectations of her age group says something different. My solution has been the only solution I have had the ability to do.

Does anyone here have any suggestions that might help? I would like to hear other's thoughts on this matter.
 

Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,197
I have several suggestions:

1. Don't underestimate the value of drill. Naturally, it can be overdone, but most of the time, it's under-done.

2. If you read the book Why Don't Students Like School?, by Daniel T. Willingham, you'll find that experts in any subject matter have one universal characteristic: they can trot out the basic facts of their field instantly, with 100% correct recall, from long-term memory. They don't have to think about them - they're just nuts and bolts they can play with easily.

3. Your daughter is probably a sponge right now. That will likely change around middle school. But for now, memorizing the basic facts that all mathematicians need (see point 2 above) is actually enjoyable for her right now, and she's likely extremely good at it. So have her do that! You might ask, what should she memorize? Well, I've attached a sheet that'll take her all the way from arithmetic (including the Trachtenberg Speed System of Arithmetic taught in Switzerland with great success) to trig and statistics. No calculus yet, sorry. Probably take her a few years to memorize all that, but she's got plenty of time. You'd get it all done by middle school if you only memorized two items per week. Then, when she gets to those classes, she'll be uber-prepared. In fact, I defy anyone who memorizes this list to the point of 100% accurate, instant recall, to do poorly in high school math. She's got to get it to the point of not having to think about it. That's the whole point. If she has to think about it, it's already too slow.

View attachment MathematicsMemorizationLists.pdf

4. In the middle school years, teach her logic: definition, informal fallacies, Aristotelian syllogisms, and at least one proof system - I'd recommend natural deduction such as is in Language, Proof, and Logic.

5. In high school, make sure she can write a good paper, present it, and debate. A high school thesis (research paper, 15-20 pages long, double-spaced) with defense is a great idea.

6. You might consider yanking her out of public school, if that's where she is, and getting her into a classical school, or homeschooling. Public schools have too many students to individualize the way your daughter needs, although truly great teachers (like Feynman's high school teacher) will recognize her and push her on, anyway. The problem is, there's no guarantee (really, in any school) she'll ever encounter a truly great teacher.

7. Is she into music? If not, you might consider seeing if she has some talent in that direction, and helping her along.

8. Don't push her too hard. What I've outlined above may seem like a lot, but spread it out over the 12 or so years you have, and it's very doable, without preventing her from just being a kid.

I think if you did all this, she'd take on the world.
 

southpawdoesart

New member
Mar 27, 2018
0
Thank you for all the input. I bookmarked both of those books, and I may get that The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics book next month. I don't know about the paper... writing is already her bane. If there was anything of reading, writing, and arithmetic she could take away without someone watching her, it would probably be writing. She is not fussing as much she once was though, so that's good.

Thank you again. I appreciate your thoughts and tips.
 

Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,197
Thank you for all the input. I bookmarked both of those books, and I may get that The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics book next month. I don't know about the paper... writing is already her bane.
I wouldn't worry about writing ability all that much, yet. She needs to be able to do it well when she graduates from high school, but she doesn't have to be good at it now. Writing well requires certain faculties that aren't usually present in kids her age.

If there was anything of reading, writing, and arithmetic she could take away without someone watching her, it would probably be writing. She is not fussing as she once was though, so that's good.

Thank you again. I appreciate your thoughts and tips.
No problem! I wish you both well!