The new math: Calculus for kids

You probably don’t need a story to make you question your parenting, but the Duluth News Tribune provides one today anyway.

In Superior, Wisconsin, Daniel Phu has taught his kids algebra and calculus. They’re 8 and 5.

“Mathematics is four things,” Daniel said. “Addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.”

His children solve by “seeing, not thinking,” he said.

They love to play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck, he said, and he reminds them that going around in a circle patting heads is a way of counting.

He began using his weekends to teach both Kevin and Jenny some algebra at age 4. He starts small, using games to get them to grasp how the numbers interplay, and just keeps pushing them along incrementally. They don’t know the exact terms connected to what they’re doing, something Daniel says hampers the natural flow of math.

“A lot of teachers don’t believe in it,” Daniel said.

He says he tries not to teach too much because he doesn’t want his kids to be “scared away” by math.

His secret is his kids. “You have to want to know,” he said.

Related: 5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus (The Atlantic).

  • davehoug

    Feeding curiousity is always good.

    • Jack

      As long as the teachers at school support it. I saw this backfire (with reading) when the 1st grade teacher didn’t support it. Took our child years to regain the love after it was quashed.

      • joetron2030

        What kind of teacher wouldn’t encourage something like this? Actually, I don’t want to know. I hope I never encounter a teacher like that.