Help please - I'm trying to buy additional material to help my ds with maths, but can't work out what level he is!! Anyone got a 13 year old and can help?

(25 Posts)
OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 21:52:59

My 13 year old ds struggles with maths and needs more exercises to reinforce his learning. We've been going through them together and now need more - we've run out of the school ones.

I've looked on amazon and I can't work out what to buy. Everything seems to rely on knowing what "key stage" you are. My ds is educated in scotland, at an independent school, so follows neither "key stages" nor the "curriculum for excellence". It's therefore hard to know which book to get.

He has been doing multiplying and dividing fractions, equations (only with basic brackets), working out angles, can't remember what else sorry - that was just tonight.

Has anyone got a child of a similar age that could make a stab at what stage I'm aiming at?

tiggytape Wed 19-Jun-13 22:09:24

I have a DS a year younger. In his school, the very bright children are Level 7 (maths is one of those subjects where some people excel naturally). The above average children are level 6's and the others are around level 5 or working towards that. So maybe if you looked at high level 5 and level 6 standard work, that might be the right sort of difficulty?

Before spending money on books, you could perhaps try downloading some mock SATS papers (you can find free ones online complete with answers and mark schemes).
They come as either level 3-5 or level 6 so you could see how well he gets on with each and then work out his rough levels from there?

booksteensandmagazines Wed 19-Jun-13 22:10:13

he should be Key Stage 3 - have you looked at the BBC bite size - www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks3/maths/ - he can use it to reinforce his learning and then perhaps seeing how he does with that you could then look at buying a study guide or test booklet.

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:13:30

I'll have a look at the SATs papers thank you. I
from what I've looked at on Amazon so far, the nearest book I found seemed to be KS3 5-8, but it seemed a bit simplistic. Do the SAT things relate to the Key stages or is that something else entirely? Excuse my ignorance, neither dh nor myself are familiar with the english system.

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:15:54

Thank you booksteensandmagazines. I've had a look at Bitesize before ( mainly when desperately looking for help myself when my own maths lets me down!) I'll look at it further. It does seem really clearly explained and is not too overwhelming looking!!

MustTidyUpMustTidyUp Wed 19-Jun-13 22:18:35

Note that the SATs paper will get harder as you go through - so he will find the first section easy but it will be very difficult towards the end.
Could you email the school and ask his teacher for suggestions on materials? Btw the SATs assess their level at the end of a key stage. Sounds to me like level 6 work you described.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 19-Jun-13 22:20:37

I'm really not trying to be provoking, but if you are paying for an independent school, are you happy to be topping up what they do?

I know a few people in a similar position (mine are all in state school plus tutor to be transparent), but I think I'd worry the school was letting him down.

Apologies, I know these questions turn bunfighty and it is a bit personal!

DS1 (13) has been using the CGP KS3 revision guide and workbook for his Maths revision. I think a book aimed at level 5-8 sounds about right for a 13 year old.

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:24:28

His teacher has given him quite a lot of school produced revision papers, but has says he doesn't really want to overburden him. He has just finished his S1 assessments and the school are saying that they would suggest he takes it easy over the holidays.

Because he is so unsure though, we have ended up doing all of the material with me having to talk him though it all - I'd just like to have something to let him have a go at himself without me prodding him.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 19-Jun-13 22:26:44

Ah. Sorry to be nosey. I think I'd want miracles for some of the fees around here, so am always curious when people top up.

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:30:07

ITCouldBeWorse - I totally get what you're saying re independent schools, however to be fair to the school, I also know my son! He is ultimately pretty lazy and a perpetual daydreamer. In his christmas report it was flagged that he was present but not engaged. He has a tendency to switch off. After christmas he has upped his game and his end of year marks reflected that.

Also, confusingly, I know that while he's not doing brilliantly where he is- friends with bright children at local (good) state schools are working at the same level ( if not slightly lower) than he is.

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:33:38

ThreeBeeOneGee - thank you. Think I'll order one and go from there. Although I thought it seemed a bit simpler than what he'd been doing there also seemed to be bits I'm not sure he's done. Also simpler might be best from the point of view of reinforcement/ confidence.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 19-Jun-13 22:36:04

Not quizzing the levels, honest. Just nosey!

People ask us why we tutor when kids are doing ok. (they do ok because we tutor!).

I was such a hard working little geek, my dc astonish me!

OwlMother Wed 19-Jun-13 22:40:12

I totally understand what you're saying. At ds's age, I rarely dropped a mark and would have been mortified to be anywhere other than the top set!! I find ds's approach quite difficult to get my head around. Just have to keep telling myself we're all different!

I have an almost 13 year old and an almost 12 year old, both in Scottish CfE system, but both good at maths and I'd say both are in advance of what you describe.

We bought this book:
www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1405322462

Mainly for ourselves tbf but it is very well laid out, easy to read and covers all the basics really well - I think it's good for their age group.

OwlMother Thu 20-Jun-13 12:47:59

Thanks for your reply - am I right in assuming P7 and S1 for your dc? The book you've linked to looks good, but not really what we're looking for- it was more of a workbook style thing so ds could work through examples.

He's done a lot of Schofield and Sims at primary school - his mental maths is very sharp as a result - so it was a similar kind of thing I was looking for.

OwlMother Thu 20-Jun-13 13:07:39

soontobeslendergirl - which books/ resources do your dc use at school? I've just realised that this is the other answer, simply buy a different textbook!!

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Jun-13 13:12:43

Here are the maths level descriptors
kangaroomaths.com/free_resources/ks3/schedules/level_descriptors.doc

He sounds about a level 6, which for a 13 year old is ok.

OwlMother Thu 20-Jun-13 13:18:19

noble giraffe Thanks for that! looking at that briefly is quite reassuring. Most of what is described in level six he can do quite confidently.

adoptmama Thu 20-Jun-13 13:34:36

Instead of buying books try Maths Whizz web site. It will automatically work out where he is strong and weak. You can track his progress via reports, see how much he is logged on etc. and also send him messages. He will earn 'prizes' as he progresses. It will set him tasks at his level and you will see good progressions. Offers lots of opportunities to revisit topics via the 'bedroom' area. Motivates as it is all done online. Highly recommend it to you.

OwlMother Thu 20-Jun-13 13:46:16

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have a look. My dd ( truly awful at maths) has a subscription to Komodo maths and loves it, it really seems to be helping her. It doesn't go as old as ds needs though. Good to know there is am option.

Sorry Owl, eldest has just gone into S2 (technically still 1st year ifkwim) and youngest about to finish P7. I have no idea what they use at school - Embarrasingly I leave them pretty much to it - they are both bright seem to be doing well enough - they rarely have homework (No1 son tends to do all his in class when he is finished the rest of his work). In terms of Maths, they were always top of the class through primary although No1 son cannot do mental maths and struggles with times tables - this hasn't stopped him getting a silver award in the UK maths challenge recently. The new CfE reports don't really lend themselves to knowing how well they are doing tbh. The teachers seem more than happy though.

We bought the book as it worked through how they teach maths now and I thought we may need to help them but it hasn't been the case luckily.

Erebus Fri 21-Jun-13 09:25:40

Thanks for the OP. DS1 is 14, in Y9 and just scored 6 high/6.8 in his end-of-year maths exam.... which is where he was at the end of Y8 sad... Admittedly the test was an old KS3 SATS paper and I had no idea they existed; he apparently conveniently 'forgot' when the test actually was and did 4 hours panic revision the previous evening despite me nagging him throughout the half term hols, so all in all I know he could have done better.

But partly to consolidate his maths and partly to let him know we feel he's under-performing, I need some additional material, too.

snowmummy Fri 21-Jun-13 09:30:46

Surely his Maths teacher could help you?

janesnowdon1 Fri 21-Jun-13 16:54:49

www.khanacademy.org/ You could try out this site (its free) but works like MyMaths which a lot of schools subscribe to. A little video explains what to do and then you work through examples which are automatically marked and your progress can be tracked.

tlp.excellencegateway.org.uk/resource/su_mat_5822/screens/math_004_004_005/page.html These reources were developed under Malcolm Swann in 2005/6 (Professor of Maths Education at Nottingham and a world leader in maths education) to show teachers the best practice way of communicating maths. The activities (Mostly shape, Mostly probability etc) allow the student to make connections and gain conceptual understanding in words, visually, algebraically etc and many are based on a matching cards system (instructions for use are included)

I sometimes do them with my children and they really like discussing them and laying the cards out all over the kitchen table - they have really helped them with their mathematical understanding.

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