Friday, February 13, 2009

Math homework

Molly was given a packet of math homework to do while she was gone. It was the price she had to pay for taking a whole week off from school. The beloved math teacher or the self-professed "Evil Mutant Math Teacher" didn't want her to miss out on any of the fun.

Amazingly, Molly has diligently worked through the packet all week without being nagged. I can barely believe it. Who snatched my kid?

She takes her math pretty darn seriously and is quite proud of her math brain. When she was tested as "good in math" I shrugged and said, "Duh?" I remember her doing simple multiplication and division in her head at a pretty young age; like 5 and before Shea was born.

The conversations would go something like this:

"Molly, there are 12 cookies. If you, me and daddy get an even number, how many cookies to we each get?" She didn't have to think about it very long, it just makes sense to her.

Last May, she was one of the 2 highest scoring girls in her school and was asked to go to the Math is Cool State Championship in Spokane. Hundreds of kids from all over the state came to flex their math muscles with many private school represented. As a team they didn't do so well but individually Molly did great. She was crushed when her team lost and did not even place but was soothed with the knowledge that she did well individually. I personally think she is calm under pressure due to all the music performance stuff she had done from a very early age.

So where does this competitive streak come from? This is one of my concerns about splitting the kids up into different math classes at 4th grade. Many parents seem to really love this tracking and catagorizing their kids. Honestly, I was skeptical and I worried what the kids thought about it.

Last year Molly started out the school year feeling very insecure about her Math skills saying, "I am not smart enough to be the highest math class. Those kids are all smarter than me." I was pissed and dismayed. I hated the idea of the kids being stressed and over critiqing themselves at this age. But, as the year went on she hit her stride and seemed to settle in. But, I still wonder; how do the other kids feel about it? Do they feel superior to the other kids that are not in the high math class? What about the kids who are in the other levels? Do they feel passed over? Will they give up working hard because they don't think "they have it in them"?

You always hear about something happening to girls at around 6th or 7th grade in regard to math and sciences. Many stop caring, raising their hands in class, feeling they should'nt or can't compete. I hope that doesn't happen to our girl. We try to make it as fun as we can to counter balance all this striving stress that comes with it.

Hang in there, little math brain. Math is indeed cool!

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