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Dealing with a mathematically precocious child

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It has been estimated that about 3/4 of gifted people tend to be stronger in mathematical than verbal skills. Thus, they may be studying mathematics that is several years ahead relative to their chronological age, grade level, and verbal skills.

This page includes some general suggestion for dealing with mathematically precocious children. Depending on the precise profile of your child, your mileage may vary.

Consider our mathematics recommendations

Recommendations for learning

Consider the recommendations we have compiled for mathematics learning. In particular, consider:

Recommendations for reading

In addition to the above recommendations, we have compiled a list of mathematics reading recommendations that include books related to mathematics written in a largely non-technical fashion. People should be able to read these casually.

Consider related non-mathematical activities

Programming

The skills and intellectual experience of learning mathematics overlaps with that needed for learning programming. Consider using our online programming learning resources to get started with learning programming.

Science subjects

Consider exploring science subjects such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Physics in particular bears a close relationship with mathematics, while also connecting with the physical world (see physics learning benefits for more on how learning physics is useful).

Economics

There are many benefits of learning economics. Consider our economics learning recommendations for formal learning and our economics reading recommendations for informal reading of economics.

Develop verbal skills

Some highly precocious students end up having a very lopsided intellectual development where their mathematical learning rapidly outpaces their learning in other areas. They might be doing calculus while still reading at a sixth grade level. Their mathematical ability may be far beyond their ability to read and learn from textbooks, making it much harder for them to learn the material beyond calculus.

To help them get to the next stage, improving verbal skills may be important. Some of our mathematics reading recommendations might get people interested in reading. Consider also our suggestion to use fiction to develop reading skills and passion in children.