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Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series) Hardcover – June 25, 2013
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“Overdeck debuts with a just-irreverent-enough book . . . . She shows that she knows her audience and loves her subject. Paillot (the My Weird School series) is a great choice for collaborator . . . he does it all with a good-hearted, goofy energy that should propel readers through the pages.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[This program] may have the potential to make bedtime math problems as loved as the bedtime story. . . . Hats off to Laura Overdeck. This project is a winner. A simple idea that may have as much of an impact on improving the science, technology, engineering and math interest in our children as many other well-funded programs.” ―Wired/GeekDad
“We all know we should read to our kids. But even if bedtime stories are routine in your house, when's the last time you gave your kids a bedtime math problem? Probably never. And that's one reason American students might struggle in a future that requires mathematical literacy... Maybe if more children grew up doing bedtime math problems, those numbers would be different.” ―USA Today
“Besides stopping the bad-mouthing of our own math skills and making sure that we're distributing our numbers-related conversations equally among our sons and daughters, what can a parent do to increase "math awareness" in our everyday lives? How about a bedtime math problem? . . . [in Bedtime Math]They're meant to be solved in their heads, and to promote both giggles and mathematical thought.” ―New York Times Motherlode Blog
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The original concept is great: make math fun and interesting for kids. The author certainly has her mathematical chops, having a BA in astrophysics from Princeton and an MBA from Wharton, but these books (mainly the first one) would benefit with the editing pen of an early childhood education specialist.
Let me give an example. In first BEDTIME MATH, a problem for approximately kindergarten-aged kids is: "If you like eating popcorn by throwing it in the air and catching it in your mouth like a seal, and you toss 15 pieces but catch only 9 of them in your mouth, how many pieces end up in your hair and on the floor?" A problem for pre-kindergarten is: "If an elephant weighs 8,000 pounds, and your car weighs 3,000 pounds, how much more does the elephant weigh?" I don't know many average preschoolers that can subtract these numbers.
The second book is much better by asking preschoolers to count items on a picture or asking slightly older kids to add single and double-digit numbers. Even bigger kids have problems like, "If you sneeze at 200 miles an hour while driving at 70 miles an hour, how many miles an hour faster than the car was your sneeze?" Unlike the original book, the second book includes bonus problems, such as: "If you'll need to pee in 45 minutes and it's now 3:28 p.m., at what time will you need a potty shop?"
As you can probably already tell, the books do a great job of catering to things kids have fun with. Each flip of the page presents a story on one side, and three age-ranged problems on the other side (again, the newer book adds a fourth bonus problem).
Both books are charming and have fun problems to work through, but the second book is much better and age appropriate in its efforts. And here's something I discovered by accident: both books have glow in the dark front covers.
By using the funny stories and questions in the book I managed to teach her the concepts of solving basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and she found it great fun to be able to solve problems with 'big numbers' all by herself to the point that she's been asking me to do maths with her all the time.
I'm super proud of my girl and extremely pleased with this book. If you feel your child is ready for basic arithmetics give this a try. I will certainly be purchasing the other books in the series.