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(28 Posts)
learnandsay Mon 28-Jan-13 11:20:10

One of my friends is good at maths and wants to teach his seven year old daughter algebra for his own personal amusement, I believe. And he has already started. From what I understand she can work out the answers so far.

Who here thinks that he should carry on behaving like this and who thinks he should stop? He knows that she can't use it in school and that she'll no doubt forget it. Presumably it's neither harming nor helping her. He just finds it fun.

alanyoung Tue 05-Feb-13 21:48:29

Mummytime, I don't know if you ever watch the Christmas Lectures on BBC television from the Royal Institution, but they are great. Worth recording and watching with your children when you can explain what's happening. Don't worry if you don't understand everything yourself.

This year they were on chemistry. I am sure your child would have loved them.

alanyoung Tue 05-Feb-13 21:44:20

I think if we start early enough we can teach children all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I was at the BETT exhibition last week and bought some software that demonstrates principles in optics and electricity. I bought it for my five year old grandson, but it was originally designed for A level. By carefully choosing the bits I show him and adding a little explanation of my own, he is beginning to understand how it all fits.

When he was just four my son (his uncle) and I were talking to him and he suddenly opened his eyes wide, closed them, turned his head to the side and opened them again. When we asked him what he was doing, he said he was letting the light into his eyes, he closed them to catch the light and he then let it out in a different direction. It's surprising how close this is to reality!

Am I bragging? Well, he is a chip off the old block.

richmal Tue 29-Jan-13 21:20:50

It depends a lot on how it is taught as to whether or not a child finds maths fun.

Another vote here for nrich aswell.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Jan-13 15:54:16

I def believe in following the desires of the child. However, I think that its also worth him looking at going sideways in maths, it helps deepen their understanding. Problem solving is a really good way to go.
Send him over to nrich

GooseyLoosey Tue 29-Jan-13 15:50:08

Agree that it depends on the child. If she enjoys it - fab. Lots of children do - it's like code breaking. Many children find it fairly easy to grasp.

eminemmerdale Tue 29-Jan-13 13:51:54

My dd who is also just 7 has recently asked me what 'albrega' is. I showed her something really basic a=1 b=2 and c=3 so a+b =c and she was entranced! Wish I hadn't now as she's desperate to do harder albrega grin

onesandwichshort Tue 29-Jan-13 13:47:56

I taught myself to write my name in heiroglyphics at some point as a child. Pleased me no end, although I have never ever been asked to do it since.

warmmagnolia Tue 29-Jan-13 10:43:05

Mmmm........strongly believe in being child led here. As an example of stuff that ds wants to learn that is not particularly relevant to life is his pleading that we buy him a book on Egyptian heiroglyphics for Christmas! But then is n't that what education is for - to set us up for happy and fulfilled lives, in whatever direction we may choose to take.

seeker Tue 29-Jan-13 10:18:23

It's not whether you like teaching your child- it's whether your child wants to be taught. If yes, then go for it. If not, not. This is one area where "child-led" is incredibly important.

The "for his own personal amusement" is a red flag for me in the OP.

richmal Tue 29-Jan-13 08:33:33

IME there are those who like teaching their children accademic thing and those who don't. Being someone who does like teaching their child, I sometimes find it hard to see the opposite view, but I do see it is every parent's choice.

mummytime Mon 28-Jan-13 22:41:35

Lots of Chemistry.

Our routine often goes:
Child asks question with Why in it.
I say "Do you really want to know?"
They say "Yes"
I struggle to find an explanation simple enough, and explain.

This is how I ended up explaining fluorescence to a 9 year old, whilst walking to drama.

SarkyPants Mon 28-Jan-13 19:17:58

No Latin here.
Their neuroanatomy is surprisingly good though smile

onesandwichshort Mon 28-Jan-13 19:15:58

Squeebles are brilliant full stop. DD sees a dose of them as a treat, not learning number bonds. Off to look at Dragonbox now.

To answer the OP, learning something that is no use in school strikes me as a positive benefit. I'm all for That Kind of Thing; the NC is starting to feel as though it were handed down by Moses rather than drawn up by a set of rather imperfect civil servants.

On which note, DD is currently learning to greet various family members and toys in Latin, a skill which is no use at all in daily life but a) interesting to her because she likes books about Romans and b) hilarious. Now that I've started, can you share all your wierd stuff too? grin

SarkyPants Mon 28-Jan-13 15:34:17

The boys have all the 'squeebles' ones which are great for mental maths.

Haberdashery Mon 28-Jan-13 15:33:25

The app's called Dragonbox. My 6 year old loves it. And, er, I quite like it too!

SarkyPants Mon 28-Jan-13 15:29:55

what is the app mummytime?

DS1 would love that!

DeWe Mon 28-Jan-13 15:25:13

What's wrong with it?

At a young age you do sums like "3 + _ = 7 fill in the blank?"

Algebra is just replacing the blank with a number.

mummytime Mon 28-Jan-13 14:24:26

There is a really good iPhone app which teaches Algebra to young kids, it teaches the principles with animations and no words needed.

My DS often moaned that he already knew the interesting stuff when they came to teach it to him at school.

SarkyPants Mon 28-Jan-13 14:15:18

I like the idea of comparing 'weird geeky shit we teach our children'.
But I fear it would be seen as boastful smile

LittleRedBonferroni Mon 28-Jan-13 14:08:02

Yes, this is assuming she enjoys it - otherwise it would be a bizarre thing to do.

seeker Mon 28-Jan-13 14:07:07

I would be happier if he was teaching her for her personal amusement....

LittleRedBonferroni Mon 28-Jan-13 14:05:19

I've toyed with doing algebra with dd (7) because she is pretty good at maths and slightly obsessed with language - i.e. what is it, how is it constructed, and I think algebra would appeal to that curiosity.

''I teach my geeky children all kinds of weird shit. And they usually remember it.''

Oh yes grin maybe we should have a comparing weird shit thread.....

TomArchersSausage Mon 28-Jan-13 11:31:06

I think it's a great idea. Why shouldn't he? If his dd learns it as a bit of fun now it won't be a horrible chore to have to learn it under pressure later. She's sure not to forget it esp learning under relaxed conditions.

I have secret envy at people who are good at maths. Algebra esp made no sense to me at all blush Luckily my dc seem to understand it, they must get that from dh not megrin

irregularegular Mon 28-Jan-13 11:27:51

The question is not whether he finds it fun, but whether she does! If so, then no harm at all.

My two know a bit about algebra. They are 9 and 10 now but have done for a while. But we've never taught them it a 'let's sit down and learn algebra' kind of way. It just kind of comes up in conversation somehow...

We're both quite mathematical and our children are quite able but nothing way out of the ordinary.

TripTheLightFanjotastic Mon 28-Jan-13 11:25:23

Would you be bothered if he was teaching her Mandarin, knowing that she may not speak it to anyone else and may never go to China?

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