To think he should be able to understand maths more by now?(31 Posts)
DS (6 and a half and August baby in Y2) seems to be getting more and more behind with maths. He has some homework about division and I literally did not know how I could do it with him because he is still struggling with the basics about adding and subtracting or even being sure which numbers 20+ are bigger than others. He doesn't seem to understand what anyone is even getting at with maths, basically. He can sometimes seem to grasp things, but then never retains the knowledge from one day to the next.
Just to be clear, I'm not expecting him to be a maths genius, and I think it's stupid we start kids on formal education so early in this country, but I was hoping that maybe there'd be a breakthrough by now where he started to see what maths is, IYSWIM, whereas it all seems totally foreign to him. Has anyone had a kid who didn't at all get maths by this age and did it click for them later?
School have been doing some focused work with him and don't seem too worried, but I wonder if he manages to cover some of his difficulties by 'parroting' in class. We are seeing the teacher responsible this week anyway and I know DH wants to take them to task (guess I'll be 'good cop'!). I want to raise whether we should talk about possible dyscalculia, but I don't know if that's premature or I'm just being 'that parent' who wants a medical-based explanation!
I was that kid! I didn’t get maths until I was in my 20’s. Now I have a maths based degree. It’s all about the teacher. Hopefully he will get a great teacher in school. Sadly, I didn’t get a great teacher until I did my access course.
Be aware that the test for dyslexia is not accurate until 7/8 and I think discalculia may be a similar age so they may not be able to work out why yet.
Thanks Wellmeetontheledge - I had a suspicion it may not be diagnosable until later.
You are doing the right thing by seeing the teacher in the first instance. See what they say first.
Maybe write down some questions because if you are anything like me it all goes out of my head the minute I get in the classroom!
Then take it from there, could you afford a maths tutor? If the school don’t offer extra support.
I'm a fairly intelligent individual. Well, I like to think so anyway! I did well at school/college/adult education, always got good grades, was known as the swot etc.
Except for maths.
I just about scraped a C in my maths GCSEs but it required a lot of hard intensive work involving lots of 1-to-1 tuition when I was finally given a tutor who was determined to see me get that C, where all other teachers gave up on me in this subject.
Even now, throw a mental arithmetic question at me, even a basic one and my head turns to mush. I need a calculator to do any kind of maths.
This subject unfortunately has, and never will be, something I will 'get'. And I've noticed it in my own son, who's now 5. But he's miles ahead with everything else, and he's very creative.
For some it's just not a skill that ever really clicks. For others, it may just take a little longer than some to develop, like plenty of other skills. I think at 6 and half I wouldn't worry too much just yet, he may just be late to pick it up. Give him time.
Don't think you need to diagnose him yet. Some people just aren't good at maths, I'm certainly not. Try teaching him in different ways or get a tutor if you can afford one.
He's 6. Of course he can't do division. Am I missing something? Surely he's only just started times tables?
Indeed, I'm not sure he should be doing division, but they seem to have some homework on it!
My mum is someone who was top of the class in everything, but maths, which she really couldn't do. DS seemed not to get on with numbers from the start - when most kids like to say their age as soon as they know what it means, he just didn't care. He also got letters long before he got numbers.
As he's just starting with division, if he doesn't understand it try it with concrete objects. Grab whatever you have- pencils, paper clips, Lego anything and ask him to count out how many he needs. Then 'share' these into groups, mark these groups by drawing circles or giving each group a piece of paper to sit on. Hopefully this will help him to understand division.
There are lots of children that struggle with maths. If you don't feel he's got the basics, try as much as you can to help at home. You're probably right that he shouldn't be doing division yet, but it's in the curriculum for Y2, so the teacher has to teach it to all the children whether they're ready for it or not.
Your DH shouldn't need to 'take the teacher to task' because his child isn't good at maths. You've said they're doing focussed work with him, what more does he expect?
They'll be learning basic division in Yr 2. Yr 3 they'll learn short division.
But he has to be comfortable with his times table first, start him with the 2x, then the 10x, then the 5x.
Once he's solid on his 2x you can start explaining how division works and the relationship between times and divide.
However, before the above he should be sure of his adding and takeaways. The more practice the better as it's just about repetition until it becomes natural.
Best of luck
They are right to teach division. It’s in the curriculum.
Your child doesn’t need to know his times tables to understand division. Show him how to do it practically. Explain that division is sharing (they will be doing this at school anyway).
So, ten divided by two - get ten objects, plastic action figures, whatever, and share them between two plates.
If he struggles with maths then he needs to be doing everything in a practical way like this.
This was - and is - me. I never grasped more than the basics and even those I can struggle with. Long division was a closed book and I failed all attempts at maths in secondary school. I got on all right with algebra, but that was letters, not numbers! I can get answers wrong using a calculator, so always count things several times to be sure. It hasn't held me back that much, but I do make a point of saying in interviews. I just have to work harder at maths. Your DS may well just suddenly click with numbers. In the meantime, speak to the teacher and be patient. He isn't forgetting how to do things on purpose. If I do something all the time, I can remember how. When I stop doing it, it has gone for good.
If it were me I would be going back to reinforcing his basic number sense (the foundation of all mathematics). Educational researchers 20 years ago proved that even "severely limited" students could progress far beyond what was thought possible, with the right kind of intervention. This might interest you:
@nuffaluff has got the right idea. He needs to work with actual objects and divide them. Keep the actual objects until he is super confident. Doesn't matter if this takes years.
Your husband is not doing your son any favours by 'taking them to task'. You should be asking how you can support his learning at home.
Dyscalculia is often more about being unable to see graphs etc rather than numbers. It's also incredibly rare.
You need maths manipulatives. So things like Numicon, a number balance and cubes.
I can really recommend a series of books called Maths No Problem.
We home ed and my dd really struggled with maths because she found it hard to visualise problems. She was 8 and struggled with 5-3=? She couldn't count backwards. Having real things to handle helped her a lot. She used to cry in school and say she was stupid. She's now 10 and is enjoying maths and making great progress.
Rather than taking the teacher to task
Oops posted too soon:
Perhaps just ask for strategies how to help your child. After all it will not be the teachers fault if it is just that your child is not super good at maths!
If it is true dyscalculia, then even these number aids won't help. DM was a teacher and bought a very expensive box of wooden number rods for me to try and help. I loved them and used them and I still couldn't do the work. I hate at work if someone hands me extra money so they can get, say, a five pound note as change. I have to type in the exact money they have given me so the till can tell me what change to give them. Give me enough time, and I would be able to figure it out eventually, but under pressure, I struggle.
Be supportive to your child and ask the teacher for help. It may be your child is referred to educational support, or whatever it is called now. Don't look at that as a bad thing - it isn't. it might help huge amounts, it might not. Physical maturity might be all your child needs and the problems may ease as he grows. But if he doesn't master maths, it isn't the end of the world.
Thanks all, we do have numicon and DH has done some good work with lego and numbers, as school have found out that working with objects works for him. He can do some things with the help of objects, but you can tell he still doesn't really understand what he is getting at.
I think basic number sense would be a good thing to talk to the teachers about as it still feels like it's not there - I don't think he can count backwards and he can't relate addition to subtraction, for example.
Being diagnosed with dyscalculia isn't likely to change anything for him anyway. There's no funding available for it anyway.
Yes division using objects or diagrams is the year 2 expected. If that works for him for division then it should work for addition and subtraction so I would be focusing on that. He jusg needs s much exposure to numbers and counting as possible. He is very young yet for it all to make sense.ig might just clkck for him one day soon.
DD has discalculia and it's taken her to her miff twenties to get to do addition and subtraction to any real standard, she finds anything but the simplest multiplication difficult any really doesn't understand division at all. The nearest description she can give is that she feels as if numbers are going to change on her. However she had no problems with algebra unless it had numbers as well. Luckily there are calculators on phones today so there's usually some help out there.
There are ways to find out if it is discalculia , a basic test is to put out a number of some,say raisins, and then increase so start with on ask how many let them eat the raisin, then add another etc if it is possible discalculia then after 3 or 4 they need to count them rather than just look and saying oh that's 6.
I would just keep doing bits at home with him. My dd was a bit slow to get maths, but now (year 7) she is one of the top maths students in her year.
How much 'maths' is he exposed to at home? Division is merely sharing or continuous subtraction. Give him a bag of carrots, how many can we have each. Make the numbers work, eg if you're a family of 4 give him a bag of twelve carrots.
Give him a bag of 16 sweets and ask him to share them out, make number games a part of your normal conversations.
Parents get either very anxious about maths or very cavalier, in the Officers' Mess it was common to hear someone laughing that their child was poor at maths, you never heard them laughing about poor reading.
I would certainly not be trying to pin a spurious label on him, discalculia is very debatable.
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