Give the gift that keeps on giving

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By John Pawlak

Christmas is long past with most presents either broken, shoved to the back of closets or donated to the thrift shop (like that purple and orange striped lycra body suit your Aunt gave you). Well, the holidays may be over, but you can still give your kids a wonderful gift.

To set the mood, give this simple little problem to test your kids for basic math skills. It’s just addition and you should tell them to do it in their heads, OK? Read the problem to them verbatim. “Take 1000 and add 40 to it ... Now add another 1,000 ... Now add 30 ... Add another 1,000 ... Now add 20 ... Now add another 1,000 ... Now add 10.”

Now try this one ... “A ball and bat together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” (The answer to that one is 5 cents)

Math is pretty easy, but it’s not always pretty. I discover new facial muscles every time I wince when a child says that word so often uttered in the classroom ... Idongedit. You have to say it as one word and kind of just let it fall out out your mouth ... Idongedit.

(Oh no! Is Pawlak going to crab about calculators again? ) Yeah, I am!

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