Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Is it bad that I care more about what Big Sis is going to be for Halloween then the level and regimen of math she is getting at her school?

Should I be attending the two meetings fellow parents have set up, to explore extra-curricular math "games"?

Is it strange that I think doing any sort of math as an extra-curricular does not sound fun at all ("game" indicates fun no? or actually...competition?)?

Should I be thinking about my child getting into an ivy-league institute of learning when she is only 6?

I don't give into peer pressure very well, is that abnormal?

How many extra-curricular activities should my children be involved in? Is 2 each enough? or too much?

Is it strange that ever since I started planning and making dinner for my family almost every day, that my you're-a-good-mother/wife level has gone up a lot? And that attacking my daughter's math education does not add to this level at all?


Anonymous said...

Yes, number one - Reading and Math.

Kage said...

but...she's doing math, she's reading....how could I possibly guage the rest of the country vs. her?

Jen said...

I am of the opinion that if math is something she enjoys, then pursue it, but if not, there is no reason to make her do math extracurriculars.

I went to a pretty subpar high school and felt that I could have been better prepared in math and the sciences for college, so I will probably be pretty vigilant (but hopefully not obnoxious) about what my kids are learning and if it is appropriate. It sounds like D is going to a pretty great school, so you probably won't need to worry too much.

I am tinkering with doing what my cousin does....having my kids play an instrument (of their choosing) and a sport (also their choice, could even just involve some daily exercise) at all times. Any other extracurricular activities would be initiated by them.

That's the plan. We'll see how that goes....

Rachel H said...

Hey, you're not a "math" person. I am not either. The day I think Math is fun....well, let's just say it probably will never happen.

I would only do it if your daughter WANTS to do it. (Or if you felt she NEEDS it.) Otherwise, save yourself the extra activity and go buy some fabric(or whatever) for that haloween costume!! =) That, btw, is awesome that you could even go there at this time of year. But I know that's one of your big things...

One holiday at a time for me. (Ok, except for Christmas...that one always kind of starts before thanksgiving and drips into Valentine's day for us...)

And the dinner thing! Boy that IS an accomplishment for someone not used to doing it!! I too am one of those! I totally give myself a "pat" on the back ANY time I cook anything homemade!! Go you!

Kage said...

Jen, at age 6?

This costs time away from homework, practicing (I believe practicing an instrument is like extra-curricular math anyway), and costs money.

If you need to specialize for a test or even to get into high school or college, then I think adding in some extra curricular makes sense, but age 6?

jlk said...

This is my view on Math -- just make sure she knows the basics before she moves on. For example, if first grade is addition, make sure she knows those facts cold. Same with subtraction, multiplication, and division. Flower is struggling at almost 10, because she didn't have those down before moving on. Now, it's a big mess and fight to do math, because it's slow for her and she still doesn't have the basics down.

Jen said...

I don't see anything wrong with doing math as an extracurricular activity at age 6, IF it is something she really enjoys...above and beyond the regular enjoyment of school. The moment it is no longer fun for her, I would stop. You definitely don't want to burn her out on math at age 6. If this would be an extra stress for you, I would also not do it. Not worth it.

This is something I have been balancing since Asher started reading....the desire to keep pushing him to see how fast he can progress versus the need to make sure it is fun. I am getting better at making sure we put it down if it is becoming tedious (for either of us). Too many burned out kids...I don't want to contribute to the problem.

Lynne said...

You view the world through artistic eyes & that is your influence on your children. Others wouldn't have their child playing an instrument at 6, but would allow them to focus on science & math activities. The key is to find what is best for your child & their personality & learning style, not what we want them to be. I wanted my boys to be athletic, but they're not. But they could explain more about some science topics than most of us would probably understand. Don't minimize the importance of math because it's not something you enjoy, but allow your daughter to explore different topics that she is interested in. If it's not math - great! Don't worry about it.

Kage said...


I have nothing against math. Math was one of my strengths growing up in school, also was for my DH. In my music theory classes, I excelled compared to some of my equally as musically gifted students, b/c I am strong at math....though I started hating math in high school and took the bare minimum of courses.

Oh-- ah ha! moment. I guess b/c I consider myself successful beyond high school and beyond college while squeaking by in the math dept. (Seriously, I have a college degree and besides my awesome (not sarcasm) accounting courses, I only took pre-college algebra...basically a repeat of HS, easy A course), I don't see how math is going to necessarily contribute to my daughter's success.

My DH realized he needed more "math" to forward his career, so he got an MBA. A decision he made at age 28, not 6.

jlk, I get what you are saying...I don't want to play catch up with the homework. She is keeping up fine with the homework now, so I guess I hope that the next grade's teacher is on the same page as the 1st grade so that there isn't a big gap when she jumps grades.

jen, Big Sis is constantly asking DH and me for math problems on the subway, so it's impromptu extra-curr. math?

One of the issues the parents have is the teacher is not teaching TERC until later....I don't even want to google TERC. I don't even want to know what the difference is. It's got to mean progress right? I mean, that's where I get stuck...I don't want to research this....

Linz said...

I personally feel you are on the right track. I want my kids to have a great education but I also want them to have memories of childhood in which they had plenty of time to be a kid, have fun, and dress up for Halloween.

HHRose said...

It's ironic that there will be a post on my blog later this week titled "Where's my manual?" and it relates to your struggles, in generalities. I guess motherhood is cyclical in that way.

Evie Parks said...

I feel pretty confident putting in my two cents in this area, being a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan.
I know you know this, but there are WAY too many NYC parents who pride themselves on making sure their kids are the best & most educated individuals in all areas. This includes the occasional overreaction about things, when their kids are as young as 6 (or, 5 in my case, because I see A LOT of this). I've had parents tell me that they want their kid to be better at a subject because they're afraid that, because other kids are exceeding in a particular area, they're being a bad parents by not having kids who are over-the-top gifted (run on sentence, maybe??!!!). Here's my perspective...I have a child in kindergarten and teach 18 of them every day. I know what it takes for a child to succeed. I am confident that your daughter is attending a school that goes above and beyond the level of regular public school. I believe that, as long as the motivation is there (which, it obviously is), she will do great. Do tedious math facts matter for college admission? No. Do they make your life more stressful? Yes. If she ever starts to lag or be lazy with her studies, then that's where I'd intervene. It's all about work ethic...that's the important lesson that she'll have to learn to succeed in future HS and college endeavors. If you feel that she is on track for her age and is being challenged enough, then saying no to the EXTRA extracurriculars is the right answer.

Janet said...

Depends on what the extra activity is and if she really wants to participate. I've always thought that playing an instrument opens those parts of the brain to help with both reading and math. Sounds like she's excelling in those areas.

It can be overkill sometimes with parents who push their children when they aren't that interested. J3's 1st grader loves chess and is loving that extra activity while participating in the sports he loves.

It's only helpful if it's not taking away from their regular school assignments and if you can keep up with it. Family life and keeping sane at home is another factor - don't try to do too much, because you'll find yourself running ragged and everyone pays. You have to judge what you've already got on your plate.