Am I Raising a Meg?

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Perhaps an alternate title could be “When Books and Parenting Collide.”

I’ll freely admit that I’ve probably spent most of my life in the pages of a book instead of reality. I’ve actually been weathering the whole pandemic really well since I get my fix of adventure and travel all from the safety of my own home. As long as I keep my Kindle charged, anyways. And find frequent minutes away from my kids to read a sentence or even a whole paragraph. It’s a good day when I actually get to read a few pages in one sitting!

It hasn’t always been easy with a six-year-old child doing public school via Zoom, and it’s hard to believe First Grade is almost over, but it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. As it could be. Actually, I’ve really loved getting to know every thing he does in class. I’m kind of a control freak that way. I may actually homeschool both my kids because I want that control. I’ll struggle a bit with the math and science because neither are a strong suit of mine. Fortunately, I married a scientist. If anyone wants to know what that’s like, it really just means I get to listen to lots of science-y stuff I usually pretend to understand because questions lead to more complex and longer explanations, which are often difficult to listen to when a 6 year old or 4 year old is trying to climb onto me like a little monkey.

Anyways, math is, of course, neither my strong suit nor my son’s weak suit. If you’re wondering where the book part of this is coming in, it’s here. With math, of all things. See, my son is insanely interested in math and science. It’s kind of scary to me. He’s only six and in First Grade and already trying to do multiplication and division (just after he turned 4, he wanted to learn how to add).

His scientist dad is LOVING this (and getting to teach him introductions to chemistry and biology, information from which this kid actually retains and understands). Me? I want him to progress in a logical manner. You know, the way they teach it in order in school? Because I can’t keep up. My mind is boggled by how he actually finds the calculator app on his tablet to be more fun than any other game. There are times when I think he’s playing games on it, only to find he’s been playing with the calculator. His favorite thing is to stump it to get error messages. He even gives his dad and me algebraic sounding equations (you know, the solve for kind of deal), except they sound like it, but in reality are just strings of letters and numbers with a plus here, a minus there, and a division sign thrown in for good measure. Hey, he’s trying, but, seriously, why couldn’t he be the kid who eats dirt? Once in a while at least. (My son is also extremely finicky and even freaked out when he touched paint when he was 2.)

Well. That’s quite enough about math! For now, at least. Let’s get to the book part of this already.

When I was a kid, I had to read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I was always drawn more to Charles Wallace, but, lately, it’s Meg, the oldest of the Murray kids, I’ve been thinking about. Now, Meg is a number of years older than my son, but she sticks out because she’s really good with math. There’s a scene where her mother is talking to Calvin about it. Mrs. Murray said Meg and her father used to play games with numbers, so Meg learned how to do everything differently from how the teachers wanted her to do it. It made school very frustrating for all of them. But Meg would be brilliant at math if her teachers would let her do it they way her father taught her how to do it.

It strikes me, more and more often lately, that I find myself thinking about Meg in relation to my son. Just like Meg and her father, my son and his father play around with numbers. My husband will take any opportunity to teach him something new and far advanced. But, when he actually tries, our son gets it. He’s engaged with the math, and asks for more of it (within reason, of course. He is, after all, only 6, not quite 7). He recently stumped us when he decided to work math into a game of Hangman by presenting an equation instead of a word. Trillion, quadrillion, and million are just some of his new favorite words and numbers to write.

So, am I raising a Meg? I don’t know. He won’t be seven until this summer. He’s still very young. His interests could turn at any time (please let them be more book inclined! At least a little). But he’s always loved numbers and math. I keep trying to tell his father to not teach him too far ahead. Keep it at addition and subtraction because that’s where he is. And I don’t want him to be confused as he climbs the academic ladder and might have to show his work in certain ways.

Maybe I am raising a Meg. Maybe I’m not. But this kid surprises me all the time with all his math stuff. He boggles my mind a lot.

I just hope high school goes a lot better for him than it seemed to go for Meg.

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8 thoughts on “Am I Raising a Meg?

  1. My husband is a technology guy, so I know what it’s like to spend a lot of time politely listening to deep explanations that I only half understand while the kids run amuck, lol. I love nerdy/geeky though, so it works.

    I think that you should encourage your son go as far as he wants with math, without worrying what everyone else is doing at that age. You could totally have a wunderkind on your hands!

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    1. Haha, must be great when it comes to writing sci-fi! I’m actually a little embarrassed my son understands more of what his dad does than I do. It’s been interesting balancing his need for more and more and reminding him his teachers are going to be looking for him to solve things in certain ways so he has to learn those, too. I always wonder what he’ll end up doing when he’s older.

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      1. I know all about dyson spheres, space elevators, and the electric universe theory, so scifi does feel like untapped potential with my writing, lol.

        One of the reasons why I homeschool is because I don’t believe in the “one size fits all” approach that public schooling takes. Some kids understand one procedure, while others understand a different one better, and as long as they get to the right place in the end it shouldn’t matter how they got there. Not to mention, everyone should be encouraged to follow their talents!

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      2. Sounds like a fascinating story I’ll never fully understand, haha!

        We’re keeping homeschooling as a possibility, though he did love being in the classroom until the pandemic shut things down, so we’re keeping our options open until we figure out how he learns best.

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    1. Haha, my husband needs no encouragement to do that! We just need him to be solid on the fundamentals before we start teaching him more complex things.

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