Forums >Look What I Can Do!>Son scored Extremely High in Math (Any tips to cultivate this)

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modified: 6/10/2008 at 12:34 PM

We got his Stanford achievement tests back from his school last night. He scored Avg, Avg High, or High in everything except Enviroment and History (which neither is taught until 2nd grade at our school)...but in the Math Part he knocked the ceiling off...In Math Procedures he scored in the 90th percentile and in Math Computations he scored in the 98th percentile and Science the 90th percentile. He got 100% of the questions right in Geometry, Reasoning, Analysis, Stats, and a few other things I can't remember. I know he only missed 2 questions in the Math Computations part of the exam.
The headmaster talked to us about it and said he had seen many kids score very high at different things and the get bored over the next few years and lose some of their abilities. He said alot falls into the parents hands at keeping their kids motivated and challenged when it comes to those subjects that some kids naturally excel at.
My question is...what can we do as parents to challenge him and keep him interested in Math/Science? We already saw a touch of the boredom this year...His teacher said she would get frustrated with him b/c he wouldn't work his math tests or worksheets, and would talk the whole time while other kids were working (rude-I know) ...when she would ask for the papers he would then jot all the answers down and turn it in...He had a 99.98 avg in math so it didn't hurt him to do it. How can we keep him interested?

2008 GOALS
GET BELOW 175 (at 175 now)
RUN 6:00 MILE (at 6:29)
RUN BELOW 25:30 5K
RUN BELOW 55:00 10K
RUN A MARATHON (DEC. 6TH - MEMPHIS - ST JUDE)

Does he LIKE doing extra work? My older son did, so I would buy him workbooks and later text books that he did each summer. ( Just go online and start looking around, unless someone on here has some suggestions of current materials.) He ate it up, and is now making high As in high school honors math. I also got a Latin program (tapes and workbooks) that he did for awhile.
Now my middle son was a different story, although he is also naturally good at math (poor kids, with two enginerds for parents, what do you expect?). He HATED doing extra work. I was a mean mom and MADE him do it for about three summers, to make sure he could do basic math computations (those aren't cool to drill much in school anymore - don't get me started). He is now in the above grade level math class in 7th grade, but not the most accelerated one.
So it really depends on your child. As he gets older, there will be math contests and teams that he can participate in. We made a big deal out of telling our first son that he was getting to do stuff above grade level, and he liked that. It does help that I really love math, so I enjoyed teaching him algebra and other cool stuff. I have tutored a couple of kids in math without charging them. The one on one attention seems to help a lot. If math isn't your strong suit, or your son doesn't respond well to your helping him (like my middle one!), maybe you could find a friend or hire someone for supplemental work.
Can the school put him in a higher grade's math class? I remember they did that with me starting in the 4th grade. I thought it was REALLY neat!
Good luck - ask more questions if you want. Tell your son he would make a good engineer!

Start a square foot garden, and have him help out. Plenty of math involved in gardening.
Measuring wood, building the frame, measuring compost/vermiculite/peat moss and mixing, divvying your plot into square foot sections, determining how much of each plant to put in, etc etc.
Actually, find any sort of real world application for the math skills that you can. It's the best way to practice and see the real value of what you are learning (or ignoring) in school.

Run to Win

25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

the answer is quite simple...HOMESHOOL the kid.
Proud Dad of a kid who scored 1600 on the SAT, 36 on the SAT, graduated with honors from college in Computer Engineering with minors in Political Science and English at the ripe old age of 20. (he finished HS at 14 and hung around the house doing advanced courses). He was homeschooled the entire time...NEVER spent a day in public schools...

modified: 6/10/2008 at 1:01 PM

I am an accountant and my wife's dad and two older brothers are engineers...so I love math, as well as most of his relatives. I love the garden idea...which reminded me of the something my wife's dad does with him. They count calories and fat grams in all the food they eat...they sit around the kitchen table about once a week and pull out all the food in the cupboards and make imaginary menus and total the calories. I'll have to encourage that more as well.
Also...would be lying if I said Homeschooling hadn't crossed our minds more than once.
We started giving him extra worksheets at school to do so he would stay out of trouble. For every worksheet he worked he got a quarter...but he had to maintane his current grades as well and assigned work. So he is very familiar with worksheets...and he likes some but tolerates others.

2008 GOALS
GET BELOW 175 (at 175 now)
RUN 6:00 MILE (at 6:29)
RUN BELOW 25:30 5K
RUN BELOW 55:00 10K
RUN A MARATHON (DEC. 6TH - MEMPHIS - ST JUDE)

modified: 6/10/2008 at 1:04 PM

the answer is quite simple...HOMESHOOL the kid. Proud Dad of a kid who scored 1600 on the SAT, 36 on the SAT, graduated with honors from college in Computer Engineering with minors in Political Science and English at the ripe old age of 20. (he finished HS at 14 and hung around the house doing advanced courses). He was homeschooled the entire time...NEVER spent a day in public schools...That is so cool that your family could do that for your son! What an accomplished young man. I don't think that would work in our family - I do great in math, but would have a hard time teaching some of the other subjects. I'm actually quite happy with the public school education my kids are getting, except for the lack of drilling in math in the lower grades. My older son has already learned stuff in physics, chemistry, and math that DH and I didn't get to until engineering school. He can also write very well and is about to get his Eagle rank in Boy Scouts. I also like the fact that he's doing so well on his HS track and XC teams, and takes classes with his teammates - most of the running kids do great in academics, also. Just another view! MTA - Ben, I think your son will do well. My best friend in school had a hard time with boredom for a couple of years in math, but then did great in high school and majored in math and German in college. I wouldn't stress out too much about it, and whatever you do, DON'T make your son feel pressured to "perform" in math. That can be the kiss of death.

Sounds like my nephew. He was annoyed when he had to show his work. We told him it was so if he made a mistake, the teacher could help him find it and correct it. His response was "I don't make mistakes in math."
He wanted extra workbooks and did them for fun. His favorite thing in first grade was square roots and cube roots (he found my brother's calculator and started playing with it). My brother (an engineer) was more than willing to spend time with him and explain things to him.
Look for practical applications for the math - ~~even ~~especially if it is ahead of where he is at. It just makes them hunger for more.
If the teacher can't give him additional challenges, encourage him to have a book to read when he finishes his math. Let him read a wide variety of things to broaden his interests.
Get him involved in social situations, since these kids sometimes tend to be loners. Boy Scouts, sports - basically anything to keep him interacting with others.
BTW, my nephew graduated from MIT last Friday with a degree in Computer Science/Engineering! He's hiking the Appalachian trail before starting his new job in November in California.

Well, I think it depends. Does he LIKE math? I mean, he could be pretty dang good at math and absolutely hate it. If he hates it, you might have to kind of force it or go with real world applications to show him how it actually helps him in life (assuming that is why he hates it, he doesn't understand how it helps him).
If he likes math a lot, its easier. Point him in the direction of math clubs, teams, etc. There are plenty of ways to keep him entertained while doing math, as long as he enjoys it. But lets face it, no-one likes doing worksheets and stuff (with the exception of those who REALLY like math, which I am guessing isn't your case).
Okay, so I guess I wasn't too helpful, but hopefully you took something from that.

PRs:
1000: 3:01
1 Mile: 4:55
2 Mile: 10:55
2009 Goals:
Sub 4:50 mile, 2:50 1000 meter, Good first real XC season

modified: 6/10/2008 at 2:32 PM

The worksheets he likes are those that have a purpose behind it...like find the answer, match the number to a letter, to spell a word, to find the answer to another question. Those and geometric and basic algebra type reasoning stuff...he hates the worksheets that have 22+25=_____.
I love the real world application stuff. Those are GREAT ideas.

2008 GOALS
GET BELOW 175 (at 175 now)
RUN 6:00 MILE (at 6:29)
RUN BELOW 25:30 5K
RUN BELOW 55:00 10K
RUN A MARATHON (DEC. 6TH - MEMPHIS - ST JUDE)

modified: 6/10/2008 at 2:38 PM

We got his Stanford achievement tests back from his school last night. He scored Avg, Avg High, or High in everything except Enviroment and History (which neither is taught until 2nd grade at our school)...but in the Math Part he knocked the ceiling off...In Math Procedures he scored in the 90th percentile and in Math Computations he scored in the 98th percentile and Science the 90th percentile. He got 100% of the questions right in Geometry, Reasoning, Analysis, Stats, and a few other things I can't remember. I know he only missed 2 questions in the Math Computations part of the exam. The headmaster talked to us about it and said he had seen many kids score very high at different things and the get bored over the next few years and lose some of their abilities. He said alot falls into the parents hands at keeping their kids motivated and challenged when it comes to those subjects that some kids naturally excel at. My question is...what can we do as parents to challenge him and keep him interested in Math/Science? We already saw a touch of the boredom this year...His teacher said she would get frustrated with him b/c he wouldn't work his math tests or worksheets, and would talk the whole time while other kids were working (rude-I know) ...when she would ask for the papers he would then jot all the answers down and turn it in...He had a 99.98 avg in math so it didn't hurt him to do it. How can we keep him interested?CONGRATS!!! I think the key to keeping him interested in is challenge! My 6 year old ds is awesome at math as well and thankfully his teacher was willing to give him much harder work (4th grade level). At first he was overwelmed, but once he realized that he he could still do the work just not as fast (at first) as the other stuff the smile on his face was priceless! Oh and if your school has a gifted program look into that. It won't completely take care of the boredom but it will help focus on his strengths. Not sure how your school systems work but next year my son will be in second grade and come next spring they will look at putting him in a math class that suits him (up to 5th grade).

Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson

The worksheets he likes are those that have a purpose behind it...like find the answer, match the number to a letter, to spell a word, to find the answer to another question. Those and geometric and basic algebra type reasoning stuff...he hates the worksheets that have 22+25=_____. I love the real world application stuff. Those are GREAT ideas.that is how my 6 yro DS is as well. I LOVES using his problem solving skills. The basic addition and subratction (anything double digit) bores him.

When I grew up I got to go into a non-graded learning system, where they basically moved you along at whatever pace you could handle for 1st through 5th grades. Between 4th and 5th grade, though, I moved into a different school system, and didn't learn anything new for 3 years. I was a little bit of a troublemaker at that point.

Run to Win

25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

My question is...what can we do as parents to challenge him and keep him interested in Math/Science? We already saw a touch of the boredom this year...His teacher said she would get frustrated with him b/c he wouldn't work his math tests or worksheets, and would talk the whole time while other kids were working (rude-I know) ...when she would ask for the papers he would then jot all the answers down and turn it in...He had a 99.98 avg in math so it didn't hurt him to do it. How can we keep him interested?

the answer is quite simple...HOMESHOOL the kid.As a homeschooling mom I totally agree. There is a cool and challenging online program for gifted kids through Stanford University, EPGY. It is not free but I think it's worth every penny. I think they can offer some financial assistance if needed. The program is self paced with good teacher support. Some school kids who like to challenge themselves take it. I am not sure, but I think John Hopkins offers it also. We went with Stanford.

I would rather wear out than rust out.
- Helen Klein
You create your own universe as you go along.
- Winston Churchill

My dh used sports to encourage our son to explore math more. This might be too elementary for your son at this point (as our son is entering kindergarten next year), but football season was a great opportunity for our son to work on his math skills. He learned the different ways teams can score in football and would add scores on his own. During a game, he would know the score, then when a team scored dh would ask him to tell the new score. Sometimes he would also give hypothetical situations, too: "If X team scored four touchdowns, two field goals and a safety, how many points would they have?"
It helped that my son has a keen natural interest in numbers. He also learned geography during football (and hockey) season. Give him a team name and he will give you the city and find it on the globe.
Maybe you will come across a similar application at home. I wouldn't worry about the worksheets - it's obvious that he can do them, and maybe his teacher should be assigning him work that is more appropriate for his abilities.

As long as you're aware of the fact that school is not going to be sufficient, I think you'll do fine. Schools are necessarily designed around the average. For students on either extreme of the curve, they can be horrible. Many of the kids who get into trouble aren't the slow kids, they're the kids who are smart enough to see what a bad deal they're getting in school.
Offering extra work to advanced students is a poor substitute for offering them *better* things to work on.
The homeschooling suggestion is a good one, although I realize it's a big challenge for many families. If you're interested in different approaches to education in general, read things by John Taylor Gatto and Daniel Greenberg. Very eye-opening.
If he has any interest in music, encourage him to pursue it. There's a huge overlap between math and music. I speak from practical experience -- I did a concentration in music composition while getting degrees in computer science and electrical engineering at MIT. Most people wouldn't think of MIT as a place for music, but the program was excellent, because there's an awful lot of musical talent in some of those math geeks.

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Forums >Look What I Can Do!>Son scored Extremely High in Math (Any tips to cultivate this)