I don’t know the answer to this question, but I believe many think their grandkiddies are very smart. I seriously doubted this of my first grandchild, Felix.
When Felix was three years old, he couldn’t count to 10. I have video evidence of this! And he couldn’t recognise what the numbers looked like besides 1, 2 and 3. I’m not gifted in the maths department but I thought something needs to be done to help. No, I was NOT a tiger mum, nor am I a tiger popo (granny in Cantonese). I believe it’s more important to teach a child to be kind, that sort of thing. But count to 10 – surely every child needs to do this by three years. That was back in January 2019.
Fast forward to May 2021. Felix is 5. I pick him up from school and give him afternoon tea –
Felix: Popo, what is 13 x 13?
Popo: Err….(long pause) .. 139?
Felix: No! 12 x 12 is already 144, so how can 13 x 13 be 139?
Popo: Well, I guess that’s the wrong answer. So what is 13 x 13?
Felix: It’s 169. OK what’s 14 x 14?
Popo: Ummm (another long pause) I don’t know
Felix: It’s 196.
Popo: Well Felix, you are MUCH better at maths than me. (End of test)
Teacher, Mrs S asks the whole Prep class to write out these words “I read a book”. Felix writes “I read a book with 10,630 pages.”
When Mrs S tells me this, I laugh for 2 mins flat. She laughs too. We both agree it’s impossible to have a book with that many pages. She says it’s clear that Felix loves numbers. At my home I show Felix the two volume New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary that has 3,801 pages. He now agrees too.
That dear boy is obsessed with numbers! When he comes to my place, he gets out the white board and writes letters and numbers all over. Last week he drew diagrams with numbers, I don’t know what was going on in his head but it all made sense to him! I can see his 5 year old brain thinking about patterns in numbers.
So what happened between January 2019 and now? When Felix was with me, once a week we would play number games. With cars mostly because that was his obsession. I bought hundreds of cars. Lest you think I flung my money about, the cars were second hand from FB marketplace from a grannie who was selling the cars her 11 year old had outgrown. And together constructed roads and parking lots on my floor, on bits of cardboard folders etc. Up to 100 parking lots, in groups of 10, counting each one. We got his soft toys counting on an abacus. Just lots of crazy little games.
In March 2019 my cousin bought little Harriet ABC learning eggs as a gift. She was a newborn and the game was suitable for 4 year olds!!! Tiger dad cousin! Naturally older brother Felix appropriated the game. And his parents found lots of counting cartoon shows (for example Number blocks on Netflix). No stopping Felix now!
Hmm maybe as our next project we should both learn how to use the abacus properly …