Why Danica McKellar Loves Homeschooling Her ‘Super Smart’ Son

08/07/2015 at 06:00 PM ET


JB Lacroix/WireImage

Looks like a love of math is hereditary in Danica McKellar‘s house!

The Wonder Years alum revealed that her 4½-year-old son, Draco, has reached a new milestone: Addition. “He’s pretty good at adding now. He knows how to add on his fingers,” McKellar tells PEOPLE. “So he’ll add 12 plus 3, so he’ll think 12 in his head and hold up three fingers and go, ’13, 14, 15,’ and put each finger down as he’s counting, so I’ve got him adding stuff like that — he’s so much fun. He’s just super smart and I love it.”

While it’s no surprise that Draco already has a head for numbers — his mother is, after all a mathematician and education advocate — McKellar, 40, revealed that when it comes to learning, Draco wants to learn as much as possible about everything.

“We’re homeschooling and he just reads everything. He knows how to spell — he can spell in his head,” she said. “I’ll be like, ‘Hey, how do you think you spell your friend Harper’s name?’ And he’ll go, ‘Hmm,” so I’ll say, ‘Sound it out,’ and he goes, ‘Okay, H-a-r-p-e-r?’ I’m like, ‘Yep!’ He’s 4 and he’s spelling in his head!”

The actress and author also admits that she enjoys teaching Draco “about everything.”

“Anything he’s interested in we’ll watch YouTube videos about it or I’ll get him a book on it. We do little math exercises everyday. I love it,” she says.

McKellar is also hoping that her new show, the Netflix spy series Project Mc² will help other children become interested in learning as Draco is.

“I fell in love instantly when I saw the project,” she says about the show, which premieres Friday. “It’s like Charlie’s Angels for teen girls. I play the Charlie — the mom of the main character and also the head of a super secret spy intelligence agency called NOV8, and I give them their missions. It’s just adorable. It’s a really cute, fun show full of adventure and excitement, and they’re using their brains.”

But while getting to play a spy made McKellar feel “like a badass,” the real reward of working on Project Mc² is getting to help empower teen girls to know that “smart is the new cool.”

“This project is exactly in line with one of the things I’m most passionate about in my life, which is aspiring girls to want to be smart,” McKellar revealed. “I have four books about math that teach girls math concepts, but in the context of things that girls are normally thinking about, with my main goal being to teach girls that they absolutely can do the math. Being good at math doesn’t mean that they’re going to somehow be nerdy or outcasts — like no way.

“You do not have to choose being a smart girl and being fun and fashionable, and being in control of your life, which is really what being smart does for you — it makes you more in control of your life and gives you that confidence that comes with feeling smart.”

Something tells us that’s one more lesson that Draco has already mastered.

— Julia Emmanuelle with reporting by Nicole Sands

FILED UNDER: Danica McKellar , News , Parenting

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Marky on

Homeschooling done by parents who are capable and intelligent themselves, as well as tuned into their child’s interests and abilities, is wonderful for children. Most good homeschooling parents are smart enough to be certain their children socialize with other children, and are able to encourage their children’s interests, such as music, sports, writing, chess…. Homeschooling need not be isolating, weird, or mean that the child will have a limited education, if the parent is prepared with good lesson plans and knows how to teach. It can be especially good for the very intelligent child who is ready to advance quickly, and for the child who may need a bit of extra attention they may not get in public school.

Shawna on

Parents are always proud of their child’s accomplishments but her child doesn’t sound advanced in any way. My middle daughter was reading short chapter books by age 4 and doing addition and subtraction. It usually balances out later on and even children with high intelligence early on end up being on par with many of their classmates later on. My daughter is now going into grade 8 and while she is very intelligent (straight As, in student government, as well as a competitive athlete) she isn’t finishing college at 13 or anything.

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