This Horse Won’t Drink


I often say I have a reluctant learner.  It’s shorter and easier than saying my child is a defiant-bullheaded-snarky-obstinate-smart-alek-who-refuses-to-sit-down-and-work.  I can reasonably expect him to grumble about doing 4-5 math problems.  Anything over that and the grumble expands to a roar.


So imagine my surprise when he asked – ASKED! – to do the “math game” for school.  There’s a tiny hint of manipulation going on there, because he knows if he labels something as school I’m more likely to let him get away with it.

Not only did he ask – he played it for an hour and a half.  I had to force him to go take a brain break at one point when his legs were unconsciously bopping around trying to release energy.  He bounced, then came right back to it.  I think this is a win?


I can lead the horse to water …

At any rate, it’s proof once again that I cannot simply force this kid to learn.  He learns at his own pace, on his own timetable.  For yesterday, his timetable included 1.5 hours of geometry.  Now, if I had told him “kiddo, you’re going to sit on the sofa for an hour and practice math,” I would have had a revolt on my hands.  I would never ask him to do that – it’s not a developmentally appropriate expectation.  Frankly, he surprised me that he was able to sit still that long.

On top of that – and I’m not bragging here – this particular game (Dragonbox Elements) is rated for 9 +.  Not 6.  Definitely not 6.  And certainly not an ADHD 6 with sensory issues who cannot sit still to save his life.  If I ever needed proof of giftedness for this kid, I think I just found it.

I’m happy he’s enjoying it, and I realized why he’s enjoying it as he’s getting deeper into the levels.  It’s a puzzle, with consistent, logical rules that follow a pattern.  For my maze-loving kid, this is the math version of puzzle heaven.  In fact, most of his (our) frustration with the game has come from knowing he’s right but being unable to get the screen to respond in the right way.  Some little software bug there.


One little thing …

Oh, I forgot to mention – this is geometry.  Not just a math game, a geometry game.  Something he hasn’t been exposed to past 3-D shapes and vertices.  I’m super happy he’s having fun because I hate geometry.  Did I mention I’m not a math person?  Geometry in particular annoyed me.  I understood the stark beauty of algebra, but geometry was wonky and annoying.  So keep playing, kiddo!  Make it easier (maybe?) for me.



The method matters

A huge part of this win is the format: his tablet.  Not the computer, not paper and pencil – a touch screen that he knows inside and out.  He loves his tablet.  To be honest, the tablet is one of our most important learning tools for this kiddo.  My computer is difficult for him to operate at times and there are no child safety locks on it like his tablet.   Yet.  It’s on my to-do list.

His tablet lets him watch Kid Should See This videos on his own, watch Brainpop videos, and read books from “the Netflix of books.” (the Epic app)  Which is why he comes up with random bits of knowledge that leave me scratching my head in confusion and reverse engineering where he got it from.



Self-directed learning for the win!  I’m loving it, he’s having fun, and no epic battles over geometry.  I’ll take it.

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