Friday night, 10 pm.
A very tired mommy is tucking the kids into bed.
8 yo: "How do you divide a not even number in half? What happens when you divide seven in half?"
Me: "Do you know how you call not even numbers?"
"They are called odd numbers. Can you think how to divide three in half?"
"Yes, each one gets one and a half."
"So what do you think happens to seven?"
"I don't know. I can't do it."
"How do you divide six in half?"
"You get three."
"So what happens with seven?"
"Oh, you get three and a half. Oh, I get it."
Even and odd numbers were covered in 1st grade, I think. We did not do multiplication and division. We did not do math the whole summer. Here, shoot me, we will have summer slippage. But last night, for some reason, the divisibility of odd numbers was on his mind, and he was interested and willing to work for an answer.
I could have belittled him for not remembering about odd numbers. I could have scolded him for stalling on going to sleep. I could have deflected the question till the morning. But I realized that he was ready for this little piece of learning at this point in his life, which happened to be at 10 pm when he was eight years old.
I spoke to a friend today about holding boys back a year, especially young boys. My husband chuckled that it is very un-Russian of me to advocate that. My Russian friends tend to brag about how their kids skip a year, are ahead of the class, etc. However, I see time and again that learning happens more effectively when it's later and the students are ready rather than earlier.
I will have to keep reminding myself to sit tight on that writing and spelling.