Saturday, September 5, 2009

Negative 13 bits

Oliver has taken a great deal of interest in learning about numbers over the last couple of months.  At first neither Dan or I were particularly encouraging.   Mostly because Oliver wanted to read these books I have from my teaching days.  The basic concept of the books is to use candy (i.e. m&ms, hershey kisses, etc) to introduce math concepts.  Great for the classroom, maybe not as great for my own kids.  Anyway, Oliver has learned addition and subtraction for numbers 0-20.  It is so cool to me how it happened so naturally.  Another bonus is that 6 months ago, he had no interest in writing anything, letters or numbers, but now he is writing equations and letters everyday. 

Also, a few months ago, I came home and found Oliver working in a book from a phonics/letter/reading series I bought for him.  It is a series of books I used when teaching Kindergarten.  I had no intention of working with him in those books until after the New Year, but Dan didn’t know that.  So, there he was, working without me.  I suggested we wait until he is 5 to work in them, but he protested.  Turns out he was right.  He was more than ready to start.  If he were in my Kindergarten class, he would be the kid who knew all the answers and would be helping the kids who didn’t.  He skips the handwriting pages most of the time, but I don’t care.  Who wants to do handwriting for the sake of handwriting?  He writes the letters when there is a purpose other than just practice.

The most interesting part about our learning time, is that it is never during what might be school hours.  He usually does pages from his letterbook while I am making dinner and the math happens after pjs are on and he is reading books with his dad.  Of course, all this knowledge finds its way into other parts of the day.  In the car the other day he asked me to give him addition and subtraction problems as a way to entertain himself.

Interestingly, he has a really firm grip on negative numbers. He loves to do subtraction problems that result in a negative number.  With all this talk about numbers, lately he has been trying to quantify his love for us, as in “I love you 3 trillion bits!”  So, he was mad at me the other day and he said “I love you negative 13 bits.”  Bummer.  But not too worry, after we made up, I was back up to 100 thousand bits.

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