Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Math Salon

I skipped my usual Monday evening commitment to take Samuel to a Math Salon up in north Seattle.  It was a little over an hour away; I hoped it would be worth it.

What is a math salon?  It's an opportunity for people to come together and play math.  Games that use mathematical reasoning, logic, and/or strategy are often present.  There may also be puzzles, various manipulatives, and books.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  A few people.  Some math games.  Sure.  I hoped Samuel would get a chance to meet other kids who are accelerated at and enjoy math.  I hoped to talk with the leaders to get some ideas of how I can find resources for helping him...with math, with social needs, with emotional needs, etc.  Well, I got some of all of that.

Sam L. O. V. E. D. it!   The leader welcomed us through the door, briefly explained what was available, and off we went.  There were many games and puzzles spread throughout the room. Sam started out playing a strategy game called Hex with another 9 year old, a girl. I believe you can buy board game versions of this, but they played a paper version.  They then moved on to another critical thinking activity called Colorful Houses and Sidewalks in Tourist Town.  Meanwhile, I spoke to a couple of parents nearby.  After those games, Sam watched a mom and daughter play Blokus Triagon.  After watching, the kids played.  He lost horribly (the girl had a lot of practice, and Sam's never seen the game before), but he didn't mind because he was having fun.  Mom and I chatted.

This girl's mom was a wealth of information.  Unfortunately, I got her first name but not any other information.  She suggested a homeschooling author living in my area who might have on suggestions for opportunities in my area.  It just happens to be the same author who I  just read about earlier that day that will be speaking this summer at the convention.  She told me my description of Sam was just like her older son, and she told me about the testing they did and how she worked with the results.  It turned out he was depressed because he was bored, and she suggested the same could be true for Sam.  She explained how she worked with that knowledge, which lead to a lot of thought for me. 

Near the end of the salon, Sam had finished Blokus and moved over to a table with two moms, two kids, and the leader.  They were playing Set, a game we happen to have.  He just joined right in.  I've never seen Sam just join a group like that.  It was so wonderful.  It was like all of his social issues disappeared instantly, and he was very happy.

After it was all over, we jumped in the car and drive a whopping one block to Dicks.  Normally, I would have walked but we were parked on a narrow, crowded street, and I wanted to open up the parking space for others.  We walked over to a gas station to get cash since Dicks accepts cash only.  While ordering, I noticed a homeless man sitting on a nearby sidewalk with a sign.  We bought an extra meal and took it over to him.  After talking with him for a couple of minutes, we wished him a safe and warm night and headed home.*

Sam truly loved the math salon.  I found it definitely worth the trip up; there's a good chance we'll go up for it again (it's only once a month) if we can make it work with Scott's schedule.

More importantly, I'm working on getting one started up down here in Lacey/Olympia.  We're starting with a Pi Day Celebration in the afternoon on Monday, March 14th in Lacey.  If you are interested, let me know, and I'll email you the details (make sure you have your email set up in your google profile or provide an email in your comments).

If you are interested in our salon when we get it started up, let me know that, too.  I'll be putting together an email list to let anyone interested know when we have our first one.  It would be great if we could get a good turn out at our first meeting. 

*I'll be posting a book review soon that will explain why we bought this man a meal.  Look for it.  

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Mary said...

This sounds like a lot of fun, and right up my kids' alley! I'm from the Seattle area, and moving back this spring (we've been in Canada this past year with my husband's job)

I'd love to get in touch with you and get more info about these kinds of events, either in Seattle or down in Lacey, when we get settled back in town!

I wish you the best of luck setting up your group, and I hope that by May, when I'm settled and looking for events like this to attend, you have things up and running!

JoAnn said...

Hi, Mary. You didn't leave any contact information and your Google account doesn't have an email set up for it so I can't reply privately. Hopefully, you'll check back here.

The Seattle math salon information can be found at

I've got some deadline priorities for the next couple of days but then I'll be back to trying to get the Lacey salon started. It will happen.