For my outside-the-box, more verbally gifted than math gifted kid, math will never be his favorite subject. He usually tries to talk his way out of doing it. Yesterday, he told me that when he does math, he gets this strange sensation in the back of his head and it is very unpleasant and the only way he can find relief is to stop doing math and he thinks it could even be some rare sensory disorder and that it might be interesting to see a brain scan of his brain while he is solving a math problem mentally. I keep telling him he is only prolonging the agony, that it is better to just do it and get it over with, but he loves to argue.

But around the time he turned 5, he came up with his own way of doing subtraction using negative numbers because he found it easier to do it this way. Would this be considered intuition? A kid at acting class had told him about negative numbers and he just thought about it and came up with his own way of doing things. I found that I could do subtraction mentally a lot easier his way, so he actually taught me something. When we told the Kindergarten teacher about this, I think she just thought it was kind of weird. Teachers at this school think kids should only be allowed to solve problems one way- the way the book shows.

At almost 10, he is having no trouble doing the math in an 8th grade workbook and a pre-algebra workbook and a book with word problems. But he often dislikes the way the book explains things. For instance, the 8th grade workbook starts out with examples of subtraction and these instructions: "To subtract, start with ones. Rename 1 ten as 10 ones. Continue subtracting from right to left. Rename as necessary."

My son said they should have explained what to do if you have a problem like 1,111 - 7,777. He knows how to do this, but we couldn't find where it showed how to do this on paper anywhere in the book.

I usually have him do one problem the way the school would make him do it, just in case he ever had to go back to school, and the rest of the time he solves problems his own way. It works for him, for now.

But I never took calculus. I will probably need to find a math tutor, hopefully someone who really likes math and can convince my son that it is as fun as science and history and literature and arguing.