Monday, 9 September 2013

A Mathematical Mind

The first words that Samuel spoke this morning, still hazy with dream-sleep, were "four ... teen ... times by one hundred ... equals one thousand four hundred." What six year old child dreams of multiplication equations with answers into the thousands? And gets them correct?

This is not the first time Samuel has woken with mathematics on his mind. A week ago he woke and rolled over (he often comes into our bed in the wee hours of the morning) to ask me a series of doubling questions, such as "what is twice one hundred and twenty eight?" and "what is twice two hundred and fifty six?"

Samuel loves numbers. Last week we walked to school calculating halves of various numbers. He wasn't just interested in half of one whole, although that is where he started. Then he wanted to know, among others, what was half of five and a half, and what was half of one hundred and one and a half.

We use number sequences as a distractor to calm him down, especially when we are walking somewhere, such as to school or church, and can't stop for a cuddle and a back rub. Once when we were shopping for shoes for his sisters, Samuel got fed up and we helped him to calm down by instructing him to count the silver studs on a leather belt for sale in the store.

This isn't a recent interest. Samuel could rote count to ten (echolalia-like) well before he could string two words together to make a sentence. He loved to count to three and then, once he'd learnt, to ten, before jumping from the coffee table into my waiting arms as I sat on the couch. He loved to count as Jeff and I walked along, swinging him between us holding his hands.

Well before the age of two, I knew my son had a mathematical mind.

No comments: