Today was a very interesting day. The topic of the day was “How to Teach Your Baby Math.” I had previously attempted to start this program with Moose, but he wasn’t that interested. The whole concept behind this book is that babies can do instant math. By teaching them the simple facts (in this case using big, red dots), babies learn what “one” really is – a quantity, not a symbol that stands for a quantity. In the program, you teach a baby quantity first, THEN you teach the numeral (“1”, “2”, etc.) Our problem is, Moose has been identifying numbers since he was 15 months old, and has been counting (or pretending to, before his speech caught up) for several months. So sadly, when I show him a card with 15 dots and tell him it is 15, he does what any person would do – he tries to count the dots. I figure I will try the dots just a few more times, but after that, we will move on to equations.
So what is the point of teaching a baby math? It seems ridiculous, right? It isn’t like they are going to use it while they are playing blocks, right? Well. . . they might not NEED algebra when they are 4 years old, but again, if you can learn it so quickly and easily at that age, doesn’t it just make more sense to go ahead and do it?
For each topic we cover, we get to observe parents teaching their babies and children. One mom had created a giant 10 x 10 grid, with the numbers 1 – 100 (the kind we used to see in school). She created a game where she started a number pattern, and her daughter finished it. Then she created a game where she came up with a final number, and her daughter got to pick any two numbers that added up to that number. The kid was jumping around, laughing, hugging her mom each time she came up with an answer, obviously having fun playing this “game.” Did I mention this kid is only 4 years old? When you see what kind of “games” kids are capable of playing, it makes Candyland seem so, well, childish.