advanced math tutor/activities for kindergartner?
Our 5yo fell in love with math a couple of years ago and has gotten quite far along on it -- his familiarity waxes and wanes with his enthusiasm, but he knows multiplication and division, understands concepts like prime numbers and pi, and has been working on simple algebra and multiplying fractions when he feels like it. (This is mostly thanks to the show Numberblocks.) He's starting kindergarten in the fall at Sankofa, and it doesn't sound like the school (or any 'under-resourced' school in OUSD) has a lot of options for very young kids to pursue math much beyond what's being taught to the whole class. I've heard that kids are encouraged to use the Chromebooks to do lessons at their own pace, but it's unclear to me how this works in practice. He's also reading well already, for what it's worth.
Does anyone have advice about how to keep him feeling engaged and interested in school? It sounds like the kindergarten curriculum will concentrate on social emotional learning and generally how to live in a classroom with other kids for several hours a day, rather than on heavy academics, which sounds great and like exactly what he needs. My concern is really about the grades to come; I'd prefer for him not to internalize the idea that school is boring or too easy and then get surprised down the road.
We'd really like to stick with our neighborhood public school, and to be with kids his own age and maturity level than potentially skip a grade, which is why I thought of some sort of outside age-appropriate tutor or activities. He's gotten this far without any real academic focus in his preschool, just talking to us at home and doing tablet games, and obviously it's not the end of the world if a five-year-old forgets some higher math and has to relearn it later. But I'd like to know what's out there or how other folks have dealt with similar situations -- of course we'd love to give him more resources if it's possible. Thanks so much!
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Beast Academy is a wonderful resource for a young mathy kid that can read and stay focused. It allows kids to move forward at their own pace, and to be taught through cartoons. The online version is even better in my opinion than the paper version, as the kids can read the cartoons, and watch instructional videos, and get instant feedback on their answers (rather than completing paper worksheets). It costs less than $100. Berkeley Math Circle is also great for abstract concepts, but parent commitment is required (and it typically starts in 1st grade, not K). I have heard great things about the Sankofa principal from multiple sources. And there are parent communities for highly gifted kids that have lots of tips, as it might not be an easy journey even with a particularly flexible public school.
Our kid has always been advanced in math. In younger grades, we supplemented with prodigy math games, Khan Academy, and weekly math tutors. Now that our child is an older elementary student, we participate in the Berkeley Math Circle https://mathcircle.berkeley.edu/ I think this program starts with 1st graders but we didn't join until this year. Ultimately, after 3 years of public school, we did end up moving to a private school, because school became boring and kid was checked out and then there is the pandemic. Kid started to refuse to go to school. It became too difficult for the child to grin and bear the hours at school so that the child could have fun learning with the tutors and online platforms after school which left no time for non-academic fun and extracurricular activities. I know there are many bright and advanced kids who thrive in public schools. I hope your child enjoys a bit of supplementation and enrichment and continue to enjoy your local school.
Our child attended classes through Lawrence Hall of Science, ATDP, and math circles. (Also art at MOCHA, and drama through Berkeley Rep and Stagedoor, and some writing enrichment.) It was a good balance with what was offered in the public school classroom. We also played math games (books and toys from the Exploratorium, and LHS.) I don't know about Sankofa, but I know in our child's BUSD school, there were other gifted children in the classroom.
Once you're at Sankofa, you should connect with Mr. Wilson, who teaches 4th and 5th grade and leads the math curriculum for the school. Of course the school is limited in how far it can stretch outside the curriculum, as there's just one teacher per classroom, but I'll bet he'll have great feedback on how to nurture your son's love of math and stay appropriately engaged in his classroom. See you there next year!