“Four.” he said.
“Right.” I replied. And thought that was the end of the conversation. Then he said, “Mom, if there are four school buses, and two drive away, how many would be left?”
“Hmmm,” I said, “How many?” Of course, I know the answer, but I wanted to see if he knew the answer. To my surprise, he answered correctly with “Two.”
Intrigued, I asked him, “Well, if there are two school buses, and three drive up, how many would there be?”
“Five.” he answered quickly.
He’s clever and bright. I know this. It is one (of the many) reasons we are choosing to homeschool. But, I didn’t expect him to start doing math word problems so early. “If there are ten school buses and two drive away, how many are left?”
“Two.” he answered.
“If there are five school buses, and three drive up, how many are there now?”
“Eight.” he replied. My husband sat smiling in the passenger seat, listening as Mister and I continued our little game of school bus math.
Mister is three year old (he will be four in December) and he is doing math and doesn’t realize it. And the best part is that he is having fun doing it. School bus math has become our fun game in the van while driving. He loves to ask me questions and see if I get the answer right, as well. I hate word problems, and am not much fonder of math as a whole. I did go all the way through calculus in high school, it wasn’t because I liked it. It was because I could do it. He, on the other hand, seems to LOVE doing the school bus math. I am certain he gets his love of math from his brilliant father. His favorite questions end with the sum of zero. LOL. Of course, he gets some of the answers wrong, and when he does, I tell him to think of his fingers as school buses and count them.
A few days ago, he asked me, “Mom, how do they know where all the school buses go?” I thought about it for a minute, and told him that I was sure they had some sort of bus tracking method. “But,” he asked, “How do they know when the buses get there?” I explained to him that the buses have radios that the drivers can use to talk with each other, and let the bus house know where they are at, and what not. He thought that was pretty cool. We talked about all the different reasons people ride buses, like going to school, getting to work, and going on vacation.
Then he asked me, “But what about the kids?”
“What about the kids?” I asked.
“How do they know when the kids get off the bus? What if one of them falls asleep? And the bus driver doesn’t know it? And the bus driver gets off the bus and leaves him there. I bet that kid would be very scared when he woke up, and was by himself.” I told him that some schools have student tracking software that records when students get on and off the bus, and other schools just have the bus driver walk up and down the aisle of the bus before he gets out for the day.
“I think I would want to ride the magic school bus,” he said. Then he said, “If three kids are on the bus, and two gets off, how many people are left?”
“One.” I said.
“Nope, you’re wrong!” he said. “The kid and the driver, so there are two.”
I have often wondered what it would feel like to have a ten year old that is smarter than I am.
I guess I will know in about six years.
In the meantime, I think I am going to find some bus clip art and create a few school bus math worksheets for him.