Griffin (7) and I had been talking math for a few minutes. Tabitha (5) wanted in on the action.

Tabitha: Askmea math question.

Me: OK. You, me, Mommy and Griffy are riding in a car…

T: No! Like a mathclassquestion. Like 3+3=4.

Me: OK. What’s 2+3

T: (quickly) 4?

Me: No.

T: 6?

Me: No.

T: 5?

Me: You’re guessing…If you had 2 prize tickets at the arcade and Griffy had 3, how many would you have together?

T: (turns around, thinks quietly for a few seconds, fingers twitching) 5.

Me: Yes, that’s right. Nice. I could really see you were thinking there. So because of that, 2+3 is 5.

T: Isaidfive!

Tabitha is five years old. She was in half-day pre-K, starting full day Kindergarten in the fall. This child has no personal experience with “math class”. And already, she has the sense that a question about a situation in her real life isn’t a math class question. There are two likely culprits here.

### (1) Arthur.

Tabitha loves her morning Arthur fix. Lots of school scenes there, and I haven’t watched too closely, but I’m guessing that modeling reform mathematics pedagogy is hardly top of the agenda for the writing team.

### (2) Her brother

This boy looks all sweetness and innocence. But he’s learned what “math class” is from personal experience. And he holds tremendous influence in Tabitha’s world.

### But…

I get the last laugh. Notice that Tabitha objected that I was setting up a question that wasn’t a *math class *question. She didn’t claim I wasn’t setting up a *math *question.

I may not have gotten to teach these little guys’ math *classes*. But you better believe I’m their primary math *teacher*.

And parents? Each of you can be your kid’s primary math teacher. Talk math with them.