This is very silly I know. My son is 13, nearly 14, and though works hard will always struggle with maths. I'm not sure he will get a GCSE and I am winding myself up worrying about what options he will have open to him without a maths qualification. I wondered if any mums have been there? I know its not the end of the world - and I really don't want to put pressure on him but I'm worried without it he won't be able to progress. Any advice to help me get this in perspective would be gratefully received. Thanks
You are not being silly to worry about this as if he is intent on going to uni at some point he will have to have a GCSE in Maths to get on to most courses That said you say he is a hard worker and with a good few years to go yet it really is too early to start panicking!
Maths is one of those subjects where sometimes it just finally clicks- this was the case with my DD. Aged 13 she struggled with it- just about passed things on a good day and the lack of confidence and stress made it worse. Change of teacher just somehow made it click for her somewhere between year 10-11 and she ended up with an A at GCSE and is doing A Level. I'm not saying this will happen with your DS, but if he is a worker there is still plenty of time to get him up to GCSE standard- he only needs a C!
What do the school say? Do they offer extra classes for those struggling? Could you afford a tutor? Also if he still doesn't get it in Year 11, still possible to have another go in Year 12- one of my DDs friends did this and she now has her grade C and is applying for Unis.
If he is struggling with homework to remember explanations/ recalling how to do earlier stuff, then can I recommend the video tutorials on the Khan Academy here. Excellent tutorials and mini tests all the way from learning to count to quantum mechanics. I do it for fun but when my DS is old enough I will definitely encourage the use of something like it.
Don't panic! Remember school is not their only chance! If he doesn't get his maths at school (and he still has loads of time!) then the college or sixth form he goes on to will put him through it again... and again... until he does!
If he drops out of school/college entirely, he can always go back and take a maths GCSE as an adult, if he ever needs it, in an evening class for example.
I teach Maths and have just recieved results from exams taken in November. One of the pupils I was really, really worried about in year 9 has just got a grade C!! I'm absolutely thrilled for him as nobody thought he was ever going to get there but his hard work and determination (as well as a massive amount of input from me in lessons, his parents revising with him, and extra revision sessions after school) have really paid off.
It isn't the end of the world if he doesn't get it. There are plenty of college courses that don't require a C. What is he interested in? Could you look up your local sixth form college and see if there's anything that might me appealing? If he wants to do A levels, he probably won't need a C to get into sixth form but will need to sign up to resit. We have a resit class in lower sixth that has 20+ in it in September but has just gone down to 9 (because they got the C in November) and we fully expect another few to get it in the summer and the remaining pupils will continue to resit next year.
The cleverest man I know took 9 times to get a C at GCSE Maths. It really isn't the end of the world.
Is his maths particularly bad compared to his performance in other subjects? I only ask because if so, it may be worth string him tested for dyscalculia. I wasn't diagnosed until adulthood but always struggled immensely with maths - I still can't add up change, do basic mental maths, or remember things like phone numbers. My school never noticed, even though I was top of the class for every other subject. Somehow I scraped a B in GCSE maths, and it's definitely worth having as it's an essential criteria for many jobs and courses he might want to do in the future. Like dyslexia, dyscalculia often has a genetic element - my mum failed her maths O level 5 times befote giving up - and this was in the days where she was just labelled as lazy and thick, despite being really good at English, history etc. Please do get him tested out - I found the Kumon maths system really helped me as a young teen because it helped me to remember concepts enough to use them in exams, even if they never really 'clicked' for me. I think it's worth getting him the necessary help to get a GCSE, then reassuring him that it's just box-ticking and not a reflection on him. My self-esteem was ruined for several years by my complete inability to understand concepts that everyone else found easy, and realising thy my brain just worked differently was a huge relief. And I now have two degrees (one including a lot of statistics!) and work in a field that uses my skills - no one cares that I can't add up!
I was very concerned about my DD's passing Maths, as her school really f**cked up on it all - failure to recruit teaching staff, failure to monitor progress (and rubbish results and a senior resignation come August...).
Seeing the writing on the wall, I arranged for her to attend her local Kip McGrath tuition centre weekly, and she passed with a 'C' in regular Maths GCSE last year.
I was so relieved I cried. Pathetic, but true.
She has a Maths GCSE. She has that for life, whatever she chooses to do. I think it matters, and I don't think you are being at all silly to care.