La Tour CN

Captain Jelly Belly likes math. Sir Monkeypants and I both like math. This has led to some math-related joy around the house.

This weekend we were visiting Sir Monkeypants’ family, and since the Captain missed a couple of days of school for the trip, I gave him some homework to do. He was working on some math problems involving two digit addition, with carrying, and two digit subtraction, with borrowing. I think that’s probably around a Grade Two level, so about a year and a half ahead of where he is now.

Up until now I’ve been happy that he likes math and enjoys doing math, but my mother-in-law had something interesting to say. She pointed out that if we keep teaching him advanced math, he’ll always be bored at school, at least during math class. Then he’ll possibly have behavioural problems, or lose interest in school in general.

I was often bored at school as a kid but I was a voracious reader, and I always had a book on hand to fill the void. I’d finish my class work and then whip out a novel; sometimes I’d even sneak a peek during the lecture itself. Other times, I’d fake taking notes when really I’d be writing in my journal or making up stories.

Sir Monkeypants was often bored at school as a kid, but I guess he didn’t like reading as much because he was quite the legendary talker in class. Almost every report card of his says, “Excellent schoolwork, minimal effort, talks too much.”

Are we raising a second generation of troublemaker here?

I don’t think the answer is to stop encouraging the Captain’s love of math or to stop giving him challenging math problems to work on (he loves it, and actually asks for math to do when he’s bored).

But it was an interesting viewpoint. I wonder how we will maintain his interest in school in the years to come if he really does get bored there. Maybe we won’t be able to, and he’ll get crappy marks despite being smart. Maybe he’ll figure out something to occupy his time instead. Maybe we’ll turn to homeschooling (HA HA HA HA).

Anyway, it’s not a major crisis or anything, just food for thought.

In other news, Sir Monkeypants ran his half-marathon in 1:59:some seconds, which is awesome, because finishing in under two hours was his super-stretch goal. We’re so proud of him! I took all three kids downtown to see him at around the 19 km mark and although I was very nervous about driving in Toronto, it worked out great. The drive was easy (thank you, Google Street View), it was a lovely clear day, and the kids were very excited and happy that they got to see their dad running. All good.

After Sir Monkeypants passed us, I took the kids to the CN Tower, since we happened to be within a few blocks of it. I must say, the CN Tower is not a pillar of accessiblity. There are stairs all over the freakin’ place, and once they let you out at the top, you have to go down a flight of stairs to get to the down elevator. F for failure for those with strollers, CN! A+ to the lovely Australian tourists who carried my stroller down the stairs!

Otherwise, though, it was a fantastic trip. The Captain especially adored the tower and asked if he could live there. He has declared it to be the “most fun place on earth” (just WAIT until we get to Disney, dude). All three kids went on the glass floor with no problem, too. It blew my mind how easily Little Miss Sunshine just danced out on that thing, when I was too nervous to even dip a toe. Kids! They’re crazy fearless.

And now we’re home again. It’s nice to be home.

9 thoughts on “La Tour CN

  1. Arrrgh…I’m so not looking forward to going up the CN Tower with the kids. I hate heights. I suspect I’ll send Ed up with the kids and try my best to ignore the fact they’re up there.

    You know, regarding school, I think the best thing to do is to encourage him to find acceptable ways to amuse himself when he gets bored. I was like you–I always had books on the go that I would read when I was done my work 15 minutes before everyone else. I remember in grade 2 or three I used to practice doing division in the back of one of my books just for fun. I’d write some 5 or 6 digit number and try dividing some smaller number into it just for fun. I also used to memorize stuff when I got bored…there are Shakespearean soliloquies and Wordsworth poems I can still recite. I even have the Greek alphabet memorized. Needless to say, I’m way fun to hang out with at parties! 😉

    Anyway, all those embarrassing revelations of my geekiness are only to say that he won’t necessarily get into trouble when he’s bored.

  2. I think it’s great that you are encouraging a passion in him regarding the math. My brother-in-law’s father used to give the kids physics problems to amuse them while they were sitting in restaurants. Each of those kids were far ahead in school and yet they were also taught, I’m sure, that each child has their own talents and will excel at different things so that if you are ahead in one subject and finish quickly or find it boring in the class, challenge yourself, ask for more advanced problems, bring some from home. Of those kids, one is now a plastic surgeon, one is a true artist/craftsman (hand building boats and his own home) and my brother-in-law is a physics professor.

  3. Hey, there’s always extra credit, or the equivalent of Mathletes, right? Let him learn at the level he wants to learn (coming from the woman with no children, nieces, nephews, or small siblings). Congrats to the Sir! That is amazing time.

  4. Not that I know a thing about child raising, but what if you talked to CJB’s teacher? If s/he knew about his advanced math, s/he could maybe help by watching for when CJB finishes his work early and give him something else to do, or even give him some problems you’ve supplied to keep him busy.

  5. MrsCarlSagan

    I think you are doing all the right things by stimulating the Captain with math problems. Kids are way more capable than what is being taught at school. You’re on the right track to raising a smart kid, not a troublemaker. He’ll be able to keep himself occupied through doing extra work, reading etc. if he needs to.

    That’s some good running Sir Monkeypants! Congratulations!

  6. I haven’t been to the CN Tower since I was a kid. Next trip to TO I will have to include a stop there.

    I have the opposite problem with my boy. He struggles at math and has a hard time finishing his work. Unfortunatly the teacher only told us about this a few days ago and send home a full work book (from start in Sept till now) with unfinished work she wants done. ARG Why did she let it go so long. Now I find myself in the fun position of teaching my son math every night. It is the only way. The only thing that keeps me somewhat positive is that I had to do the same thing with him and french reading when he was in Grade One and now (in grade 3) he is doing very well. Sorry for venting in your comments. Yes Tea, we need a tea to talk. This week isn’t good for me. What is next week like for you?

  7. I think school has changed since we were kids with many many options and choices.

    You could always ask to have him tested for the gifted program. There are also any number of alternative schools in the public system. Is he having behavioral issues now? Maybe it’s a, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it situations…

  8. Rather than not offer him math as fun/challenge/extra work, what about finding some math manipulatives* for him to play with. Teach him to add and subtract with an abacus, for example. Or give him math problems and have him solve them using Lego.

    *manipulatives = homeschool-speak for math curriculum, games, etc.

  9. BonBon

    During long drives when the kids were young we would play math games . The Terminator in particular loved them, and was 100% accurate doing math (even high school math) in his head. These days he is more than a little bored. His cousin was allowed to enroll in math classes a year or two ahead of his grade level, you may want to check if that would be an option for CJB.

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