Nothing special.

(62 Posts)
learnandsay Sat 09-Feb-13 22:12:19

My 4yo daughter seems to have grasped the fact that half of ten is five. And she seems to have grasped the fact that twice ten is twenty. And now appears to be chucking facts around like this means I have five, mum has five, dad has five and the baby has five. I'm fairly sure this is coincidence and is just because we've talked about fives and tens before. But I'm also pretty sure that I didn't chuck around mental arithmetic like it was confetti when I was four. I'd like to encourage her to do this but it's spontaneous. And I can't quite see how one extends spontaneity. Can one? Or does one just let it be?

numbum Sat 09-Feb-13 22:43:00

Let it be. She'll have picked it up from school who obviously know what they're doing

Haberdashery Sat 09-Feb-13 22:53:40

This sounds absolutely normal. Leave her alone and give her space to think.

Haberdashery Sat 09-Feb-13 22:55:15

Also, give her a big pile of dried beans or something. And don't interfere.

simpson Sat 09-Feb-13 23:00:26

I agree with the others.

Let her count Lego, raisins if she wants to or if you have an abacus let her use that.

learnandsay Sat 09-Feb-13 23:10:26

She has been able to do all the calculations up to ten on her fingers for a while, although she scrunches up in a ball so we can't see what she's doing while she does it. We've been visiting maths websites for a while. She has and can do number lines, number squares, counting in tens and knows that half of ten is five, and has done with me for some time. None of that is what concerns me. What concerns me is that some of it may have stuck.

Tiggles Sat 09-Feb-13 23:13:11

What concerns me is that some of it may have stuck confused but isn't that a good thing? I know DS2 came out of reception knowing all his 'halved/doubled numbers' I assumed it was something they were taught, and therefore expected to know?

I don't understand your concerns, she is playing with numbers, all normal and good stuff for her age group. smile

simpson Sat 09-Feb-13 23:16:35

What happens if you ask her to do 15+3?

Does she count up from 15 or count from 1 (like my DD does).

Why is your thread titled nothing special?

learnandsay Sat 09-Feb-13 23:25:42

My concern isn't for her; it's for me. With reading I had a clear idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve. With maths/arithmetic I had no idea. I taught her to recognise double digit numbers, the ten times table and some rudimentary addition and subtraction. The thing that worries me is that she wasn't supposed to use the info I was giving her. I was just teaching her to recognise basic numbers. But she does seem to be using it.

learnandsay Sat 09-Feb-13 23:30:58

I haven't asked her to do things like that in a while. But she used to. I used to get a bit upset when adding one to ten she would start off: one, two, three

and I'd say but you already know you have ten....

We haven't talked about any of it for ages. But if she's stopped that behaviour and can add from a known number then it's definitely the school's influence and not mine. Because she sure as hell couldn't before.

simpson Sat 09-Feb-13 23:57:00

That's my point if I ask DD to count from 15 to add 3 she will count from 1.

DD does play addition games on the iPad but that's about it. She has zero interest in numeracy tbh although I had a meeting with her class teacher on Friday and they have said they are going to push her a bit more in it.

Purpleprickles Sun 10-Feb-13 00:04:17

Doubling and halving is now one of the ELG expectations for end of Reception so possibly she has been practising at school. I'm a bit confused by your concern? It seems like she is practically applying the maths skills she has which is the aim isn't it?

SavoyCabbage Sun 10-Feb-13 00:07:08

What are you worrying about? She sounds totally normal for her age to me.

I really don't understand the problem, talk to her about numbers, any numbers. Why would she not be supposed to use the numbers ? By the sounds of her progression she's doing fine. It's common for children to still be counting up from 1 until they get into year 1. Don't pressure her, don't get frustrated, just keep in fun! smile

mintyneb Sun 10-Feb-13 09:13:25

Lands, you have made it clear in all your posts that you believe it is your job to teach your daughter to read, write and learn maths. Your view seems to be that school has a mere incidental role in this part of her education and that it is there really just to help with her social skills?

That being so, are you feeling a bit derailed from your objective as it is becoming clear that school IS teaching her maths? Are they starting to tread on your toes?

Whatever the reason, I would echo what the others are saying. Your daughter is only 4 but clearly is getting some enjoyment with what she is learning with her friends at school.

Keep things fun, if she wants to learn more help her, but certainly don't berate her for counting on her fingers or starting from zero every time.

numbum Sun 10-Feb-13 09:13:54

*I used to get a bit upset when adding one to ten she would start off: one, two, three

and I'd say but you already know you have ten....*

You got upset because she was counting the way any child learns to and then you'd stop her because she wasnt doing it the way YOU wanted her to?

Your concern is you and not her? With reading YOU had a clear idea where YOU wanted to go and what YOU wanted to achieve. hmm

You sound very controlling amd unable to accept that school now influence a lot of what she learns instead of you.

You really need to take a step back and give her some space!

lljkk Sun 10-Feb-13 09:40:29

What concerns me is that some of it may have stuck.

OP is upset that her child has learnt math facts? confused

Cat98 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:17:24

I'm confused at what the problem is, l and s?
It sounds good. If she thinks its fun I'd just go with it. Is it that you're not sure of the best way to teach/help her, maybe ask the school for advice?

numbum Sun 10-Feb-13 10:22:06

Just buy her some workbooks from WHSmiths.....

Tiggles Sun 10-Feb-13 19:03:11

"The thing that worries me is that she wasn't supposed to use the info I was giving her"
Presuming things are similar in England to Wales, the maths curriculum will focus very much on actually using maths rather than being taught random facts. e.g. DS3 is only in nursery, but is quite happy to answer questions like "We normally have 20 children in our classroom, but today 3 aren't here, how many children do we have here today?" I doubt very much he would be as confident to answer "what is 20 take away 3". Because the maths is integrated into the general day, it becomes natural for them to use mathematical language themselves within their own day. Just in the same way that (in English school in Wales) Welsh is used every day, so the children naturally use Welsh in their everyday language.

cumbrialass Sun 10-Feb-13 19:06:51

I just think the OP is as mad as a box of frogs!

learnandsay Sun 10-Feb-13 19:32:36

cumbria, that's not very kind to the frogs.

I don't think mathematical language troubles her all that much. We've been playing "take away" since she was two. We also do "number stories" using wooden numbers and maths symbols and have done for about the same length of time. But the only reason why I did these things was because I wanted her to be comfortable with the idea of maths notation. Not because I wanted my two year old doing sums. We noticed that she could do really simple arithmetic in her head a while ago. She's comment on numbers in the car. Or we'd ask her things and she'd tell us the answers. But those things were really basic like five take away two. So we didn't think anything of it. But I think 10 + 10 / 4 in one step is a bit more than I'd bargained for.

mrz Sun 10-Feb-13 19:33:59


learnandsay Sun 10-Feb-13 19:41:20

I'm pretty sure that I think of it as two separate steps. We've always talked of five and five making ten and half of ten being five. It may be that she was just talking about numbers that she was familiar with (I didn't know she knew that 10+10=20) in close proximity to one another. And it just looked like she was doing a two step sum in one go. I doubt she could do it with fours and eights.

Haberdashery Sun 10-Feb-13 19:44:08

This thread is unusually bonkers, even for you, lands.

Floggingmolly Sun 10-Feb-13 19:49:04

She knows half of 10 is 5???? I don't think Mensa will be beating your door down anytime soon.

learnandsay Sun 10-Feb-13 19:53:42

OK, OK. I think she was just talking about familiar numbers. But she had me wondering for a moment.

numbum Sun 10-Feb-13 19:55:43

She had you wondering what exactly? confused

simpson Sun 10-Feb-13 19:58:38

There is a boy in DD's reception class who can add any 2 digit number to another 2 digit number in his head and the class teacher thinks that is very good (but not exceptional).

DD on the other hand struggles with 15 + 3 grin

cory Sun 10-Feb-13 19:59:42

Do I get the impression that you are worried because there is something going on in your dd's head that you haven't planned out and are not in control of?

And do you want the bad news?

This is what it's going to be like from now on! grin

She will use that brain of hers for thinking out things of her own, she will use other adults to get information from, she will work things through in whatever way suits her particular style, not yours.

Purpleprickles Sun 10-Feb-13 20:00:20

If you have been using maths vocab like 'take away' in a practical sense and doing calculations with wooden numbers and symbols since she was 2 then it's not so far fetched that your dd has gained a good understanding of maths and is able to do calculations that are considered more complex for her age. Is it?

numbum Sun 10-Feb-13 20:02:02

cory that's how I'm reading it too. But to be fair, I remember feeling the same when DS (who's now 8) came home from nursery and recited the days of the week to me. Was quite a shock that he'd learnt something from somebody other than me or his dad grin

I soon recovered though!

learnandsay Sun 10-Feb-13 20:02:42

I wasn't too worried about how exceptional it might have been but how odd. I wouldn't think of 7+7 /4 = 3 1/2 I don't know if other people think like that but I don't.

cory Sun 10-Feb-13 20:05:14

People think in different ways, learnandsay; there is no reason why your dd's mind has to work in the same way as yours.

My brother and I are academics in the same field and sometimes tackle very similar problems, but in totally different ways; I am convinced the same thing is not happening inside our brains even when we do arrive at very similar results.

My other brother has a totally different mindset again.

Haberdashery Sun 10-Feb-13 20:23:22

How could it possibly be odd? What's odd about it? And what were you wondering?

sittinginthesun Sun 10-Feb-13 21:15:38

What Cory said.

Both my dcs enjoy maths, but their brains work in very different ways. Ds2 is more logical, and I can usually follow his train of thought (although he is sharper than me smile). Ds1 just seems to grasp whole concepts in one go.

She's probably just thinking it through a different way.

SolomanDaisy Mon 11-Feb-13 08:09:41

I saw this thread in active convos yesterday and came back to it this morning to see if I could make more sense of it. OP's child does something she has learnt at school, everyone says 'yeah, she'll have learnt that at school'. Calculations of OP's child get more complex with every post. Everyone says 'she'll have learnt that at school'. OP worries that her child is remembering things she herself has taught in the past and using them (rather than having, umm, learnt something at school) and for some reason is concerned about this. Is that right? This is quite strange.

cory Mon 11-Feb-13 08:27:35

My other db at a very early age started mending my parents' electrical goods. The rest of the family have zero mechanical skills. Later he saved up for a computer and taught himself programming. Then he taught the teachers at his school. Then he set up a successful computer business. My parents have barely learnt to use the email function.

This is the joy of children- they surprise you! grin

Bunnyjo Mon 11-Feb-13 20:32:22

With reading I had a clear idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve. With maths/arithmetic I had no idea.

Why are you trying to control what you/your DD achieves? To be honest, that is where your problem lies; you are so inextricably entwined in your DD's learning that you struggle to differentiate her actual ability from your joint efforts. Now that she is at school, she is learning independently of you and, as such, you're beginning to realise you have very little control over what/how she is learning - I think that scares you, tbh.

Your DD sounds like she is doing fine for a reception aged child. Support and encourage her, and support the school.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:37:18

Maybe. But I took simpson's advice and asked her what was 15 +3 and she had no idea. It looks more and more like a coincidence. She now seems to just have been talking about numbers that she is familiar with. I don't think she really knows how to divide by four.

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 20:40:41

or perhaps she's learnt how to when using 2s, 5s and 10s in reception and not other numbers

simpson Mon 11-Feb-13 21:06:27

As I said DD can add 15 + 3 but counts from 1 as she cannot hold 15 in her head to start from.

I don't have a clue what numeracy DD does in reception blush

But she is going to start using a number line soon (for numbers 1-10).

LandS - how about asking her 3 more than 15?

Wellthen Mon 11-Feb-13 21:20:19

Ok I think I'm there.
You're not sure whether her ability to say 20 is the same as Mum, Dad, Me and Baby having 5 each is to do with dividing by 4 or whether she has connected 10 x 2= 20 and 2 x 5 =10. Therefore, you're unsure what her next step is?

If I correct then you're not quite as bonkers as people are making out (I admit my main feeling was 'What?' on first reading) but you do seem to be quite controling.

I'm sure a numeracy expert would explain this better but a child who connects number facts first will later find dividing much easier. So you should be encouraging this. As mrz says they will have looked at 2s, 10s and 5s so try with multiples of these.

But honestly, like everyone else says, they aren't your achievements and it isn't your job. Leave the poor child alone. I'm sorry but the phrase 'I got quite upset when she counted from 1' makes me really quite concerned for your child.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:23:53

To be fair to my daughter I think whether or not she can do the task depends on how I ask her the question. But I know that she can add together any two single digit numbers. So she's perfectly well aware of what addition is and can do some simple addition and subtraction in her head. She can also understand the questions asked in a mathematical format. So that's not the problem either, re: 15 +3. I suspect if she had more fingers she could do it easily.

If I wanted her to succeed I'd give her objects, fifteen in one group and three in another and ask her to add them together. We haven't really covered understanding what adding double digit numbers actually means in terms of place value. We've added lots of such numbers to smaller numbers. But simply for the sake of doing it. Not to understand "how to do it." I wanted her to know that people do it. I didn't want to teach her how to do it. I think now I will.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:27:57

Everything to do with the education of my child is my job.

simpson Mon 11-Feb-13 21:33:19

DD has a very good understanding of place value etc to 10 (I have been told by her teacher) a bit shaky on 10-20.

TBH I don't do a lot with her numeracy wise as she would not really want to.

She does like playing with her abacus though.

I do think that everything to do with education of your child is your job is fine, but it also means accepting that there are other people whose job it is too (ie her teacher).

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:34:03

Scrub that. She can add any combination of two single digit numbers which have a product of no more than ten. I don't know what happens if I ask her to add five and six. But I suspect that she can't.

numbum Mon 11-Feb-13 21:38:06

No, everything to do with the education of your child is your BUSINESS not your JOB. Do you honestly believe everything she's learnt has come from you?

simpson Mon 11-Feb-13 21:38:53

LOL grin

DD is exactly the same!! I suspect because she can count on her fingers!!

The thing is that the teachers are there to ask advice from (if they are approachable). I had a meeting on Friday as DD had done some of her older brothers literacy homework (she wanted to and had a screaming hissy fit on the floor when I said no at first).

They have given me loads of ideas on how to stretch her reading even more.

I would assume that if DD were strong in numeracy (which she isn't) they would be able to give the same advice.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:40:17

I have no problem with the teacher teaching. I don't know what she's teaching. But I don't have a problem with it. (A while back I hated wordless books and Sam's Pot with a vengeance.) I'm not sure how I feel about yellow books. But as long as they're non decodable I don't mind them.

So far it seems as if my daughter is doing a computerised maths course. I did find out at one point which one it is. But I've forgotten. I think it has a monkey called Swing and a crocodile called Snap. But I'm not sure how much conceptual maths they are being taught. My daughter isn't silly. If you explain something to her then of course she understands it.

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 21:46:23

>> If you explain something to her then of course she understands it.

She's doing better than you, then, lands! grin

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 21:48:06


Ain't it the truth. But then everybody knows; you can't tell parents anything.

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 21:55:58

Seriously, it sounds like your little girl is doing very well with maths. You don't need to worry about whether she's doing 'conceptual maths' (I'm not sure I know what this is, in the context of Reception). IMO, all you need to worry about is that she is developing a genuine concept of number and how numbers behave when you put them together. I suggested you give her a big pile of dried beans at the start of this thread and it was a serious suggestion. If you want to support her maths explorations then give her a reasonably large (thirty or fifty) number of identical small objects and let her play with them. If you want to, you can ask her a question now and again (can you sort them into tens, fives, twos, threes etc - how many groups? Can you sort 11 beans into two equal groups? Can you sort ten or eight beans into two equal groups? Four groups? etc etc). Change the quantity of beans, do it all again. I actually prefer raisins for this as they are a ready made reward but beans or bits of Lego would work perfectly well. And most importantly, let her do what she likes with the beans or raisins as well as suggesting things she might like to try. It's all good. My daughter sat in a restaurant last night and counted to 1000 in tens, fives, twos and fours (I can't imagine anything duller, but she loved it). I suggested she try threes and she was indignant as she knew I was 'tricking' her. She had a great time. The only input I had was the threes suggestion and she knew it was a joke.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 22:00:30

We do things vaguely similar on a much, much smaller scale. But I'll give it a go and see what happens, haberd. Thanks.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 22:06:46

I know some people have got a stalking worry about thread to thread, and I don't like to get personal, haberd, but I just want to say that your helping the mum the other day to get the child recognising letters is one of the best things I've seen anywhere. I'm no great follower of fanmail. But if my child was struggling with basic literacy I honestly don't know what I'd do.

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 22:07:39

Well, just let her get on with it. You can't 'teach' her the concept of numbers and how they behave at this age in any meaningful way - you can only give her the opportunity to find out for herself. This will be VASTLY more useful to her than any amount of you trying to teach her place value or anything else. Sorting beans into groups may well be a bit advanced for her at this age but she would probably like sorting them into beans she likes and beans that aren't so pleasing. She could then count both groups if she wanted to. That would be just as valuable. Just let her play with the beans or whatever. Given how brilliantly scientific children are, she will no doubt discover something of interest to her (and that's all that matters).

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 22:08:05

Really, it was nothing. The child did all the hard work.

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 22:15:39

So far I've really only wanted to teach her the names of the techniques and the symbols involved. So that when she came to learning about them in class she wouldn't find it complicated. I've made no attempt to teach her numerical concepts beyond the names of the numbers themselves, halving ten and counting.

I think she's perfectly capable of learning about place value. (She's probably perfectly capable of learning about lots of things.) But I don't think it's so much a case of what she can learn about as it is a case of what she can use.

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 22:20:29

Also, if you really want to get your child over the hurdle of adding up numbers that make more than ten, you can do the same thing as the child with the letters. Make a really LOOOOONG number line from 1 to 20 with each number taking up as much space as one of her feet, at least. Tell her she has to stand on 9 and get her to count and step one at a time to get to 12. Or 8 and 2 or whatever. Start with the ones she might know, 5 and 1, 3 and 2 etc. Build it up slowly. When she gets the hang of it, see if she can jump straight there instead of stepping. But only if she actually likes it. There is no point in making her do it if it isn't any fun for her.

The names of the techniques are, as maths people would say, trivial. They don't matter. Nor does place value as a concept. It is more important for her to enjoy it and to work out what it really means in her own head.

Haberdashery Mon 11-Feb-13 22:28:24

Oh, and let her count up from 1. It's really important, I promise.

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