Friday, January 11, 2008

Teaching Babies Math: Our progress so far

"This is thirty"
of course, which any one-year-old can plainly see: no counting required

Last August, when my son was almost 30 months old, I did an online search on our library's website for books with the keyword "preschool". While I thought I would be getting ideas for some cute crafts, snacks, and educational games to play, I had no idea what I would truly be getting was a whole new world view on parenting, teaching, and how tiny children learn.

The book that started it all
This new world view came from a series of books from Glenn Doman, titled "How to Teach Your Baby to be Physically Superb", "How to Teach Your Baby to Read", and "How to Teach Your Baby Math". While I actually thought they were just catchy titles, these books were actually the real deal: I was about to learn how to teach my BABY math!

And while I laughed at the idea once I actually saw the books, I read them out of curiosity: "That's crazy: BABIES can't learn math, that is so DUMB. But I really must know, HOW, just how exactly do they suggest this can be done?" So I read the books, wondering of the crazy suggestions they were going to make that will supposedly teach BABIES and toddlers how to do math. And thankfully, they proved my assumptions wrong: these authors weren't crazy; they were geniuses.

Nonetheless I learned that babies really can learn math, and learn it far better (and far easier, and far faster) than we ever could. And even though it sounded crazy, it made sense: didn't you ever wonder why a $2 piece of plastic and wires we call a calculator can outdo the amazing human brain? The human brain really is built in with this type of (calculator-like) programming: we just have to make use of it before the child reaches 2 or 3 years old.

Shaky Beginnings

In early September, after several hours of making dot cards for the quantities 1-100, I began our program hesitantly. I had never actually seen or heard of anyone who had done the program successfully, but all I could think about was, "But what if it IS true?" I just HAD to at least try it.

The program starts by teaching not numerals (1, 2, 3, or I, II, III) but rather quantity: showing a card with five red dots on it and saying, "This is FIVE!" You teach quantities up to 100, which takes about 10 weeks. Babies who have learned quantity can tell the difference between a card with 99 and 98 dots on it (or 99 and 98 people, pennies, cars, anything). It is absolutely amazing.

After a couple weeks of teaching quantity the baby can learn the meanings of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by being shown (with the quantity cards) these processes in action: ten plus three equals thirteen. And in turn, since they can actually SEE the number of dots, later on they can do any and all math instantly: ask any three-year-old who was trained on this program what fifteen times six plus twenty divided by ten equals, and without much thought or effort he can tell you in an instant: 11 of course! He can actually see the numbers (dots) being "manipulated" (added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided) and does not have to go through the pain-staking "put down the two and carry the seven" that we did when we first learned math.

How Simple and Easy it is:

What a nice thought! For your child to be able to do instant math, to be able to truly understand math, and to be able to enjoy math while still a baby! But does it work?

I wondered the same thing myself, and even after just a few weeks of executing the program, I can already see the amazing results: IT IS WORKING!

The claims are true, and after seeing each card a mere fifteen times (for a duration of less than a second each time) both Anthony (age one) and Hunter (age two 1/2) can tell the difference between cards with 12 and 11, 16 and 17, or 29 and 30 dots on them! Though we have barely begun, this fact alone has allowed me to put my entire trust in this program and I am so excited for what is left to come: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, sequences, fractions, simple algebra, and more. Here are some videos of Hunter and Anthony being "tested" on their abilities:

The math program has been so simple and SO much fun. It takes only a few minutes each day (less than five) and they are learning so much: learning things that will be impossible if we wait until a later time in their life. I am so excited at the success of this program, and can't wait to share the full "how to" with the rest of the world in a documentary I am putting together.

Here are some pictures of our progress so far in the math program. The whole thing has been a wonderful joy, and I am so thrilled at the progress. More updates will be coming soon!

Anthony learning quantity recognition
Age 11 months, October 2007

Hunter helping me make quantity cards

Learning one - six with a math game
(age 30 months): September 2007

Love of math ignited: Hunter and "Mr. Math Lion", his math-loving friend
(December 2007)

Introduction to addition
(January 2007; age 34 months)

Learning quantities thirty - forty
(January 2007)

He loves his math!

"And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."
Genesis 13:16
Hunter is 2 years, 9 months old

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