I know I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I still am, so I thought I'd share this little gem in case there are others thinking of it...
DS is 6, very gifted and very visual-spatial. He LOVES math, thrives on complexity, etc. He's got the usual math lovers obsessions- space, rockets, puzzles, models, etc. We kind of got used to that!
He goes to a very small, one-room-schoolhouse Montessori elementary school where he is doing great and has been just chugging along at his powerhouse rate...
One of the teachers is a music teacher (and also teaches science). Her BS is in music education and part of the school program is once a week individual music lessons and music theory two times a week. We knew this, nodded with acceptance and thought this might be "nice" and kind of ho-hummed it. She told us she does not usually start 6 year olds on the piano, but we have a piano and I was casually thinking of lessons for him anyway, so I asked her if she could just try with him- no pressure, just give it a try. She said she would give it a go. We bought the lesson book for the piano and went on our merry way.
Well, as you can imagine (but I had not thought about) "mister visual-spacial mathematics and complexity kid" took this and clamped down on it with his iron-vice of a mind and the kid has just finished the first book in 3 months. According to his teacher, that is 3x faster than her average student a year or two older and she has never seen a 6 year old blast through it like this. At this pace he will complete her 3 year program of study in one year. The child seems glued to the piano at home (we have to "yell" at him to get OFF to get dressed, eat dinner, etc.) and he told me that he "LOVES the piano and music!". I catch him "playing" the dinner table, his thighs, etc.
I should have guessed. The complexity, the math and counting, the dramatic progress he can make because he can put the information together in a picture instead of a linear way when reading notes, the fact that his perfectionism is limited because a "wrong note" does not sit around to make you nuts (it dissapears and you just try again), the music theory in the combination of creative expression with the high level of order in music, the delightful challenge of two hands doing different things, reading different clefs at the same time... It's like brain candy. And he's addicted.
So, just as a thought or a suggestion to those looking for "more" for little visual-spacial mathematics types, try music! Gah! Why hadn't I thought of this sooner?