Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jack takes photographs

Lately Jack has been entertaining himself by playing with my camera. When I downloaded the photos the other day I was surprised at how interesting they were.

You can click to enlarge.

He has managed to get a serious close up of the pillow here, and I love the texture.
A funny self portrait.
This is our window screen.
The cat cracks me up here with his fangs hanging out. (Clearly Jack was holding him by the neck to get him to sit still so he could do a self portrait of the two of them.)
Our gigantically fat cat does his best "WHAT are you doing?" impersonation. LOL

We were eating some vanilla wafers the other day and Jack was reading the nutritional info. He said something about there only being 9 cookies in the box and I told him there were 9 servings of 9 cookies. "How many cookies total are in the box?"

He started out calculating as expected : 9, 18, 27...up to 54. (At that point I was impressed he could do 9 times 6, I used to spend MANY MANY hours teaching teenagers their 9 times tables.) From 54 he went to 61, and I thought "oh well, he got pretty far."

But then he surprised me.

"So, we need to add 20 to 61...the answer is 81."


I still cannot really figure out just *how* he is doing all this math in his head. And the unconventional leap from 54 to 61 to 81 threw me off even more.

However he does it, this kid of mine is a serious math and reading whiz kid. (And it makes me really frustrated to hear that THIRD graders are only learning their times tables through the 3's. What the hell is he going to do in school all day*?)

*I haven't talked about it much here, but kindergarten is quickly approaching and it has been the source of much searching/debate/stress over here. Our public school has gone to full day kindy and I feel very strongly that going 9 hours a day is TOTALLY unnecessary for Jack. By working with him at home I estimate that most of his academic skills are around the 2-3 grade level already and what he needs from school are little friends. It feels silly to send a bright kid to school all day so he can "learn" the alphabet. Sigh.


  1. wow- kindergarten there is NINE hours? Henry's only in from 8:30-2:50, so just over 6 hours. At the beginning of the year he would come home at 3 and crash for an hour, but he's adjusted now.

  2. Well, my Jackson is in 3rd grade doing 5th grade math. I am supposed your Jack will be riding in the same boat.

    It's crazy because my 7th grader is taking Algebra this year ... for high school credit. I remember taking it in 8th grade (that was the earliest it was offered back then) and we did not receive credit for it.

    I think your Jack will graduate early and move on to college.

  3. our oldest had half day kindergarten and Cory had all day and Cory has had a much easier time in school! it may just be the child too!

    I love his pictures the talent runs in the family!

  4. Wow, that's amazing! My 3rd grader is learning multiplication up to 12s, but they don't do multiplication in school - we have to do it all at home and then he has timed tests at school.

  5. Kindergarten has always been all day here. And, it is far, far more than learning ABC's - reading Chapter Books, Add/Sub/Mult/Div in Math, Science, Etc. I was amazed at how much actual Education was going on in Kindergarten. My K report card had things like, can use scissors, shares, plays nicely, etc.

  6. I just want to reply here about the curriculum in case anyone else is curious - in Missouri, at least where we live, it is NOT what Shara has described. I have thoroughly looked over the curriculum for both public and private kindergartens. In reality I have little issue with the kindy curriculum, I know plenty of kindy kids who NEED that information. It just does not happen to work very well for the Jack attack, who did most of that "work" on his own *several* years ago.

  7. Here is a link to a curriculum in another district close to ours


  8. Anonymous9:13 AM

    I didn't know how he did that! I have techniques in addition and subtraction but these are just too easy. You are very lucky.

  9. He really is one clever boy! (I struggled with the times tables in 3rd grade...sigh.) Any chance of alternative public schools there? What about G/T? (Here the kids aren't tested until 2nd grade, but I know in NYC the kids are in separate schools - which raises all sorts of other issues, but anyways.)
    Find out about recess and extras such as music and art - these help break up the day for active kids - and really, if you are lucky and he has a good teacher, then he won't have to be (as) bored.

  10. You and Jack are both rather entertaining. I love seeing what you are up to together.

  11. I'm sure I am going against the general opinion here but what is so wrong in kids learning things at age appropriate levels? I am kind of tired of hearing about "genius" kids who are so advanced. Whatever happened to just enjoying learning. Why are we all so competitive about how much further ahead our kids are. From kids doing AP classes in high school, to lower school kids skipping grades and all the 'gifted and talented' kids springing up everywhere. I just wonder why as parents, or in society at large, we rush our kids through their education. I'm a big fan of life long learning, finding the joy of education rather than racing to complete it.
    From the proud parent of a very average and very happy kindergartner.

  12. This reminds me that I should post Katrina's pictures - they are also an interesting snapshot of what she finds intriguing. And even here in daycare land, daycare is 9-2 with extended hours and the kindergartens have similar hours as well.

  13. Hey Sarah, we struggled with some of the same issues that you are dealing with right now. As you know, we chose to homeschool. You mentioned that Jack needs "little friends" and we have found that school is not the only place for kids to make friends. Ben & Carter have lots and lots of friends and developing very well socially. Spending 9 hours a day at Kindy is absurd. Most of that time is spent waiting for others to complete their work, waiting on the class to all line up, waiting for this, waiting for that....our homeschool is a much more efficient use of our time and and it leaves lots of daytime hours leftover for fun stuff!
    Just a thought.

  14. So I'll throw in my two cents... We have full day Kindy here. My daughter is bright, and old for her grade. Kindergarten was okay. Socially she learned some skills, and she certainly developed leadership skills. Academically she was not challenged. The second half of Kindergarten she was clearly bored and not as engaged.

    We had her skip 1st grade, and go into 2nd. This was the best decision we could have made for her. She is excelling, and quite proud of herself.

    According to my hubby (a School Psychologist) gifted children who are not challenged can have a rough road ahead of them. They may underachieve and can develop problems with self perception and self-esteem. Studies show there may be a higher incidence of depression and substance abuse.

    And think about society- We need the Jack's of the world to have doors wide open, and vast opportunities presented to them. Who knows what contributions he may make if he learns how to respond to challenge with excitement and pride.

    And for the record, I have never read your comments about Jack as competitive. Not once.

  15. How does he deal with it in pre-school, where I am sure he is faced with a similar situation?

    We have different challenges in our family with Peter, but one thing I do know is that you've got to do what's right for your kid and your situation. Sometimes that's difficult because there isn't an ideal option. I do try to remind myself when I'm getting all worked up about it that I always have options (hopefully) and if there's really a problem with something we've chosen to do with Peter, changes can be made.

    What about a charter school that might be more open to letting him work at his own pace? I'm not sure that's an option for you anymore though - all of our charter schools in our are have already done their lotteries.

    Tough decision - I wish you some insight and inspiration!

  16. It took me a while to figure out that he added 9x3 to 9x6. Isn’t that at least middle school math? Here is a trick for 9s. If it’s 9x9, subtract 1 from 9 to get 8. Then 8 plus what equals 9 . . .1 so it’s 81. For 9x7, 7 – 1 = 6 and 6+3=9 so the answer is 63. Does that make since? That always worked for me.

  17. Anonymous6:50 PM

    The problem with many school is first they UNLEARN them anything they were taught at home. I was a very bright child but that got squashed out of me and I spent my entire school life hating learning because I was not being taught right or challenged.
    I love those cat photos - talk about a deer in headlights look!

  18. you could always homeschool. we do. i have a 15 year old in 9th grade. i have a 10 year old in 4th grade (she has a learning disability). i have a 5 year old who is doing 2nd grade work (she was one of those who immediately wanted to read & could figure the math out. she plays the piano, does karate...etc...way tooo smart..i'm amazed she's my kid!)
    and then a 3 year old & a 13 mth old.
    if you know the public school will be frustrating to you & him...why not homeschool especially if you have the credentials....just a suggestion...:) it's a sacrifice but so worth it.

  19. Yesterday I heard a senior in high school asking a friend what 3 x 8 is. and on saturday at a yardsale my total was $23, and I gave a teenager $25 and asked for change. She was very unsure and even when I told her that it was $2, she kept saying 'is that right?'.

    and good luck with the kindy decision. you know i've been there (multiple times) and it's not an easy one. i hope you find something that works for jack.

  20. You'll need to get him into the gifted program in your school district. I suggest doing it from the getgo so he won't have to change over midyear....

  21. 9 hours? does he go from 8-5? wowsers! we have the same problem here. and going from missouri to arizona only made things worse. the curriculum is a year behind here! ugh.

    i won't speak for you sarah, but in reply to josie, my 8 year old twins are completely bored with school b/c they know almost everything the teacher covers. they have always loved learning & i never ever did any worksheets/flash cards/etc with them. they were in a play-based preschool & we read to them at night and answered their questions. that is the extent of their pre-school learning. that said, i think it behooves me as their mom to insist they are continuing to learn & not simply rehashing material they already know every day. one of my girls even came home and asked if i would do some homeschooling AFTER SCHOOL because they were so bored. that's why we have gifted programs & AP classes. otherwise, they may tune out & simply not like school any more and that will break my heart if it ever happens to my kids.


Hi there. What say you?