Posted by: ppernick | June 9, 2010

Patterns

Simeon has been showing just how skilled he is with math[1] and reading for awhile now.  He read his first book the day before his 4th birthday and now he can read most of the words to a Berenstein Bears book he recently got from his Uncle Neil.  As for math, he was counting to 10 (except for skipping the number 7) before his second birthday and today he can do simple addition and subtraction with numbers under 10.

What it all comes down to is patterns.  He loves patterns.  It’s actually how he reads.  He doesn’t really sound out the word; he remembers the pattern of letters and just knows the word the next time he sees it[2].

The other day I tried using patterns to help him understand the logic of taking an equal number of turns with a toy.  He wanted to not only be the first to play with this toy, but the last one as well.  So I sat down with him, a pen and a piece of paper.

Me: [Write “X Y X” on the  paper] Let’s say the X is you and the Y is Caitlyn. How many Xs are there?
Simeon: Two
Me: How many Ys are there?
Simeon: One
Me: Is that a full pattern of equal Xs and Ys?
Simeon: No
Me: What do we need to complete the pattern?
Simeon: X Y X Y [which I then write down]
Me: So if the Xs are you and the Ys are Caitlyn and you got to play with the toy first, who should get to play last so everybody gets to play the same amount?
Simeon: Caitlyn
Me: Good job.
Simeon: [A couple minutes later] But I want an X Y X X Y X X pattern.

The next day, Simeon grabbed the same toy and said he wanted a Y X Y X pattern and he wanted to be Y this time. 

After our ‘lesson’ I didn’t really know if he understood it.  My mother-in-law has said numerous times that you can’t use logic with a child until at least age 7, but darn it if Simeon doesn’t seem to get it here.  Add that to how he played his teacher’s at school today[3] and I get the feeling he has a good enough grasp of logic I should be worried.

[1] I wonder how much Caitlyn will follow his love for math.  She shows more of an interest in art and writing than math, but she keeps asking for Team Umizoomi – a preschool math show.
[2] It works most of the time, but quite often he does wind up with the wrong guess.  Such as at Passover when he asked ‘Why on this night do we recycle?’ instead of asking why we recline.
[3] Simeon took his baseball bat to school today hoping to play some teeball.  When it was time for afternoon recess, he told Ms. H that Ms. J said it was ok to take his bat outside.  He then told Ms. J that Ms. H said it was ok.  They eventually figured out neither one had actually said it was ok.  Ms. J then asked Simeon ‘Did you ask if you could take out your bat?’ He got a sheepish look on his face and simply put his bat back without another word.

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