Monday, November 25, 2013


A few weeks back E came home with a story: this other girl who sits at her table asked for extra math homework and got it and that's no fair! Would I email her teacher and ask for E to receive extra math homework, too?

E is really good at math. She always has been. She regularly completes the sudoku puzzles in the newspaper (an exercise for which I have no patience at all). She has math in class, and her teacher routinely gives her bonus pages of more complicated problems to keep her busy challenge her. Once a week she leaves her classroom for an enrichment class taught by the science teacher where just a few kids from each of the four second-grade classes meet for fancy math, as she likes to call it.

It's a set of skills that come so easily to her and I was worried that she was seeing in the homework assignments a cheerful competition. But what if the other girl was receiving extra homework for a different reason? I worry that E doesn't notice that her ease isn't shared by all her peers. I didn't want homework to become a contest. I emailed with her teacher about it, and she wasn't opposed to E completing more work but she also felt it was unnecessary, and didn't want to give her redundant work before the class learned the next concepts.

This irritated my little girl. She really wanted more math homework.

It took several days of talking to get to the heart of what was bothering her, and it turned out, it wasn't competition, it wasn't homework, it wasn't the fun of turning in perfect pages. It was just...math. She likes the math. She wants to figure out math for fun. Um, okay, kid.

I ordered a few workbooks and I thought they'd keep her busy for a while but she reacted to them the way her brother reacts to M&Ms and she's on, there's no other way to say it, a math bender. She's about to teach herself division even though division hasn't been broached in school yet because there's no way to go forward without division. Whatever floats your boat, sweet child.

I have a recognition of her little brain because I was really good at math as a kid (did I ever tell you how I took college math classes on the university campus when I was in middle school? There's a nerdlet story and oh, man, does that add an unpleasant extra layer of complication to any request for complete sets of my college transcripts.).

But, in owning the genetic roots of her nerdletness, still, I never SOUGHT OUT more math homework just for kicks. I need resources. I don't want to go through a $6 workbook every week. What are your favorite math websites for kids? Help us, because if she doesn't have math she'll start moaning that she has nothing to read, and we're not going to get back to the library before Friday at the earliest. Help us get to Friday - send us your favorite math!

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