Did you know that April is a Math Education month? Conveniently, we have a real self-led explosion of interest in math in the house. It was initiated by Papa who started putting these kinds of problems on the board in the kitchen (starting with smaller numbers). For some reason, they really appeal to Smarty, and she gets a kick out of solving them and self-checking herself.
While it might look to me that school math curriculum is “marching in place” in comparison to Smarty's actual abilities, I give credit to her teacher who is focusing so much on “math strategies” and breakdown of “complex” (which means two-digit in the first grade) numbers into tens and ones. Anna is quite able to apply this knowledge to what interests her – multiplication and operations with large numbers.
We don’t really spend a lot of time explaining and practicing – both borrowing and carryover was grasped after 5 minute demonstration, but we do encourage Smarty to do as much in her head as she can and only use pencil when it gets too hard. No calculators are allowed in the house – she is using an erasable electronic writing pad that we got as a gift and that comes quite handy for these mini-math lessons.
Even with this increased interest in math we were both surprised when Smarty found Math for Smarty Pants book (targeted to 10+) and went on reading it pretty much from start to finish. She was especially interested in the section explaining how to calculate the day of the week for any date (I had to print out 21st century modification from here) and in math games like Bagels (except she cannot figure out why I keep beating her). It’s amazing to see my 6 year old taking off with math this way, and I can only hope to keep her interested for the next 12 years or so