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It can be beneficial to introduce higher math concepts to young students in many types of situations. Kids who excel in math can get a head start and have fun learning things they enjoy at the same time. In school, gifted and talented students may encounter higher math in challenge classes. Sometimes they're also able to attend a math class above their grade level. In reality, though, there are usually few opportunities for them to really delve into the subject. Parents can help keep these students interested by introducing fun activities at home.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of individual attention. There are many stories of homeschoolers who develop a strong interest in math and work their way through algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and other higher math books at a very early age. The key is having access to the materials, as well as simply enjoying the subject.

One thing to keep in mind is that some advanced reasoning skills are needed in order to fully grasp a lot of the concepts of higher math. The brain simply doesn't mature to this level until the teenage years. On the other hand, the idea that basic algebra should be taught in eighth grade or trigonometry in eleventh is rather arbitrary. After all, students around the world learn these things at various ages, often younger than in the United States. Kids often enjoy solving the puzzles of higher math, even if they don't completely understand the underlying concepts. They can still use formulas and apply them to problems.

There are a lot of wonderful resources online for learning higher math, but not much is geared toward younger students. There are, however, a number of great books published on the topic. Some of them are listed below. Math competitions are another popular way to get kids interested.

Activities and Lessons

The Fibonacci Sequence in Gifted Classes explanations and project ideas
Lewis Carroll’s Game of Logic introduces math., making math and logic fun.
Gifted and Talented Math and Science
Calculus Graphics --Images and explanations try to simplify calculus
Gifted Math Resources --Many education links to help advanced students

Tips for Parents and Teachers

The Math Forum @ Drexel University Resources for students, teachers, and parents
Guiding Mathematically Talented Elementary Students

Mentoring Mathematical Minds Meeting the Needs of Talented Elementary Math Students

Teaching Math in a Mixed-Ability Classroom

Math Competitions

Math Kangaroo Grades 2-12

American Mathematics Competitions --various competitions

MATHCOUNTS Foundation Middle school

Helpful Books

Developing Math Talent

Primary Grade Challenge Math

Becoming a Problem Solving Genius

Real Life Math Mysteries by Mary F. Washington

Ten Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know

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