Friday, May 11, 2012

The case against Nature... and Nurture

"So, high level competence for the test is 150.  Willa got a 192 in the math section.  She said she's never seen a score that high."

Jim took Willa to school this morning, and came back with that report on her MAP testing.

We were both very proud to hear that.  192!  I did a little bit of internet digging, and it seems like that is the low end of competent for 3rd graders.  I shared that with Jim via Facebook chat, and we patted ourselves on the back.

"... and let's stay humble here. I mean, this is also the kid who picked her nose while on stage at her music program last night," I typed. 

Neither of her parents are particularly gifted in math.  My own brain didn't have the right nutrients to let math really take root, let alone flourish.  I partially blame one particularly horrible junior high teacher.  And that fact that I just felt more at home with words than numbers.  As a result, when I started college, I was placed in Math 097.  Which means I had such a bad grasp of the subject that I didn't even get credit for the class I had to take and pass.

I am very careful to not let Willa in on that secret.  I don't want to dirty the fresh clean waters of math for her by saying I was never any good at math, or that I find it very challenging.  We'll let her figure that out later when I'm struggling to isolate x on one side of an equation.  In the meantime, it's very important to me that we reinforce all of her learning potential, and not the old stereotype that math is hard for girls.

We are a house a house of humanities.  We like reading and music.  At night the kids both get a story - every night.  We don't do math flashcards.  Jim and I are both going to have to work hard to engage her in more math practice.

I'm proud of my little girl.  But curious about where 192 came from.  Not genetics.  Not environment.  I'm glad her brain seems to be a better spot for math smarts to grow.  I'm also worried about being able to keep up: academically, as well as an math encourager.  Surely, I'll be able to get a book somewhere, right?


NotAppealing said...

Let me talk to Jared and see if he has any ideas. I know one will be computer programing. There are lots of games out there that are appropriate for kids. That's one that the MIT Media Lab did.

Keri said...

Wow, that's awesome! Very impressive score.