Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tales From The Front

I began my day with an awesome 6 year old and her 4 year old brother, and ended with a Freshman in high school.

I can't decide which age group I like better.  First graders haven't had their cognitive skills beaten out of them yet by grade school math, and kids in Pre-K are just a bundle of silliness.  On the other hand, older kids who join my ongoing research project must pass the requirement of watching all 8 Star Wars movies, even the 3 really bad ones, so I can say things like 'Dude, we are going to learn to master the force here, and I'm the Jedi Master Yoda of math.'

Needless to say, I get a lot of eye rolling after 5th grade.

After the morning session, I created this video to help parents past Question #21.  This morning was a flash back to my own child at an early 4, and we spent about 2 or 3 weeks on this simple concept. I've also included my solutions to the first 40 or so problems in Shape Size Color Count.  It's not just my advantage of not being the parent (in other words, I can skip the 1st six weeks of whining and crying), but I've watched kids do thousands of questions and know how to eek out every last drop of cognitive challenge out of a question.   I think I'll take random test questions from random test prep books and demonstrate in future videos.

I'm pretty excited about my research project for first grade.   My Question Research Department demanded that I include 'chicken beans' in a question.   Having known the members of my Question Research Department from birth, I added the following bonus questions:

Bonus Question:  Use 'chicken beans' in a sentence.
(Answer:  According to older kids who are much more savvy than I, the only 2 answers that are correct are a) "Chicken beans are cool", and b) you can answer 'chicken beans' to any adult questions.

Super Bonus Question:  What is the difference between evening and sunset?
(Answer:  Chicken Beans, but no one gets it so I have to actually provide a real answer.)

I've decided that at a high level, reading comprehension skills and math skills overlap so much that they are almost the same in a properly prepared context.  This is not at all intuitive if you think learning '5 + 4 = 9" is math, but I've never met a child who didn't learn that on their own and it doesn't help the kid crush algebra, which is what math is all about.  If you think about 'evening' and 'sunset', there is a surprising amount of math in there.

I'll have more to say on this topic in about 3 months.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. You will find the list in the upper right corner of this page under the heading 'Gifted and Talented Test Prep Curriculum'. You will find on the other pages some notes (a book in progress) describing the possibilities for at home school and how to do it. You will be surprised what can happen in 20 or 30 minutes a day. After a slow start, of course.