Thursday, September 10, 2009

Multiply and...

Multiply and replenish the earth do basic math. At least that is what Matthew and I ended up doing today.

A couple of days ago I mentioned an incident when my 6-year-old proved to be better at math than whoever is in charge of coming up with prices for McDonald's. What surprised me most at that time was that my son was doing multiplications with three-digit numbers in his head. I didn't even know he could multiply.

Now I don't remember when I was learning multiplication, but I know that in Hungary they learn it in the second semester of second grade, and then they do two and three digits in third grade. At that point they are pretty much able to multiply any whole number with any other whole number (decimals come in 5th grade, I think--Craig was doing them while we still lived there).

Thinking that the McDonald's incident was pure luck or my kid counting it out in some weird way, i started to quiz him on multiplication, and it went fine, he seemed to know the whole multiplication table (Hungarian style, up to 10x10) and he could figure out multiple digit numbers if they were multiplied by single digit ones. He explained how he did it--multiplied the ones, then the tens and then the hundreds and added them all up--and I have to admit I was blown away by it. Soon enough I figured out how he learnt the multiplication table in the first place, after figuring the concept out for himself.

It was the old pencil case he inherited from Craig. On the back of it the multiplication table was written out in bright pink. And my supposedly-on-the-spectrum 5-year-old memorized it. And is able to apply it.

Seriously, I am so proud of him.

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