Mathematics for a People Person

D1 is most definitely a people person. This child had mastered small talk by the age of two: "So how was your day, Papa?" As we drive around random neighborhoods she will point to the houses of total strangers and ask when we can go visit those people.

She is also a quick study at mathematical concepts. We’ve done no study of mathematics at all yet, except for what arises in casual conversation or from books of her own choosing, yet she understands numbers up to a hundred, addition, basic multiplication, and has some glimmerings of place value.

What amuses me is watching how these two interact. By the time she was three, she would calculate future ages for herself and D2 and their friends: "When I am 6, J will be 7 and A and D2 will be 5." Now she loves to look over a hundreds chart and locate everyone’s age: here she is, here are her cousins, here are Mama and Papa, aunts and uncles, Grandma and Grandpa, and even great-grandparents. Thus she learns about larger numbers and how they fit together.

She also thinks a lot about number groupings; I think she learned some of this playing with the glass gems. Right after the twins were born, we were commenting on having a family of six and she said, "Now we can be in threes or in twos!" The twins themselves gave her an interest in groups of twos, and she is starting to notice which numbers can describe groups of twins and which can’t. She likes to tell all about her imaginary families and how many girls and boys, how many twins and "separate" and how many all together. (And on a more morbid note, how many have died!)


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