Walt, the Beaver’s doing math again…


We started with learning the numbers, then counting until we reached 100, and now, despite his mathematically challenged father, our little Matador can now do basic addition. It’s wild for everyone involved. Matador is happy to be solving problems, and we’re happy revisiting some of the basic building blocks of how numbers work. It had not occurred to me that I would one day be teaching my son how to count on his hands and toes, but here we are, and it’s awesome.

Other disjointed thoughts:

  • Matador can add any two numbers under ten
  • He still can’t actually write the numbers
  • He struggles a little with the mechanics of holding up certain numbers of fingers
  • He thinks 10 + 0 is 100 and I don’t know how to explain why he’s wrong

We’re quite pleased with his progress, but even now I can feel the day coming when he brings home problems from Statistics or god forbid, Calculus. My only hope is that I can sell enough books between now and then to afford a competent tutor.


Leave a Reply

  • You’re doing exactly the right thing! He needs to fully understand his number bonds up to 10 before he goes any further. Don’t worry about getting him to write down anything yet – we do it the wrong way around in the West. Ideally children should fully internalise numbers and understand how the process works using blocks… buttons… fingers – BEFORE we then turn it abstract and get them writing sums down. That gives him a really strong foundation for being confident with their mental maths. Use games – there are some lovely games using card or different sided dice – it should be fun. And if you are also counting and down with your fingers, that’s fine, too:)).

    And yes – you may have guessed… I’m a teacher and have VIEWS on the way we are forced to teach Maths in school.

      • You can also talk about numbers – my daughter used to say that the number 2 reminded her of a swan. Is there a number that feels red, or green? Make it as non-threatening and fun as possible.

        You can also make a numberline together – up to 10 to start with. And then you can use it to show how to count on. But don’t worry if he finds this stuff difficult. We tend to rush our children into the abstract stage – which is why swathes of the population are innumerate. They never were given the opporunity to fully understand the concrete process. Numbers are HARD. We talk about shoes, or buttons. But what is a 2? Or a 3? Just because small children can count doesn’t mean they understand what a number represents – which is why your boy thinks that adding a zero to 10 makes 100. So roll it right back to basics – without boring him – and ensure he fully understand what 10 represents.

Read My Books

%d bloggers like this: