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Need Maths help/advice/guidance

(20 Posts)
RandomMess Sat 23-Jan-16 18:38:58

So DC aged 13 has some sort of issue with some fundamental concept in maths.

School have finally agreed that yes she can do trig, algebra some of the far more difficult stuff but struggles with something from the previous key stage. I had previously mentioned my concerns over mild dyscalculia and been ridiculed as that couldn't possibly be the case...

She had 2 lots of sessions of support at Primary School as they recognised that there was some sort of issue. She really really struggles to learn times tables/count in say 7s or 8s or even 9s so to me it's the way she "sees" numbers doesn't think 57 plus 7 is 57 plus 3 = 60 plus 4 is 64 that she can't "see" numbers in that sort of way.

So how do I get her properly assessed to work out what the true issue is? I don't know how much of it is that she panics that she doesn't know the answers so guesses and how much she just can manipulate numbers in her head.

All suggestions welcome as I'm happy to pay for tuition but it's no good going over stuff without specific direction, identifying what the core issue really is.

RandomMess Sat 23-Jan-16 20:07:02


TeenAndTween Sat 23-Jan-16 21:58:25

Does she understand and use number lines? If not, then start there.

I don't think that not seeing numbers as you describe is a barrier to success. DD1 has no feel for numbers and is poor at mental maths but got a high B for GCSE with excellent teaching, plus 1-1 tuition from me (I have maths degree).

She couldn't retain stuff for very long, so we kept having to go back to primary level (e.g. percentages) even when doing GCSE revision. But each time we reviewed it came back faster.

A lot of maths success is confidence. Plus counting using fingers or number lines if needed.

Knowing times tables really does help for GCSE though, we got there with DD1 by repeated practice. (Still struggling with her younger sister though)

lougle Sat 23-Jan-16 22:24:30

She needs to practice over and over again with blank number lines.

57 + 7.

Don't worry about getting to 60. What can she mentally add on to 57? Even if it's just 1 (she must know that 57+1 is 58), draw it on the line. Then, what can she add on to 58? Perhaps she knows that adding 2 to 8 is 10,so she can draw the jump from 58 to 60. OK, what's left? She's added 1+2 onto 57...7-3=4. There's 4 left to be added on. Step by step she gets to 54.

Gradually, the numbers she can add on will grow. The steps will become bigger so there are less of them, and she'll one day surprise you.

My DD2 (Y4) is scared by maths. Her brain freezes and we have terrible trouble with every new task, but with perseverance, we break it down again and again until she sees something she's familiar with, and we work from there.

RandomMess Sun 24-Jan-16 12:30:56

Well I am no maths expert, I actually do not "get" number lines as it's not how I was taught maths!!!!

My question is if I ring around maths tutors what am I asking them to assess/focus on? What is this type of issue called - apart from she can't do basic maths?

My previous attempt to discuss the fact their is an issue with her maths teacher did not go well... funny they now are telling us their is some sort of problem!

TeenAndTween Sun 24-Jan-16 12:48:27

I think saying she has trouble with basics such as 'adding over a ten boundary' will be good enough.

However, your DD should know number lines. I wasn't taught them either but I think they are great for seeing how numbers fit together. My DD1 used number lines to help her with negative numbers all the way up to GCSE level. They are also great for time based problems too.

Tell your DD you have been doing some research and have come across them, and can she explain them to you. If she can't then tell the tutor she doesn't understand them. If she can, then you will have learned something.

Ultimately though, what does she get wrong when doing a paper test? DD1 still does some counting up on her fingers e.g. 6+7. Didn't stop her achieving well in her GCSE.

RandomMess Sun 24-Jan-16 12:55:29

I have no idea, I never get the detail!!! They have only just agreed/admitted that there is an issue.

They were very much of the attitude that there wasn't a problem because she could do the "difficult" stuff. Now they are staying she is missing stuff from year 6/7 but as she received support before that then the same issue has been there since at least year 3...

TeenAndTween Sun 24-Jan-16 13:09:41

Can they give you any recent test papers to look at (that you could show a tutor). I found that by looking at test papers I could see common threads on where she went wrong so knew what to help her with. Any competent tutor should be able to do that.

e.g. DD had problems with:
manipulating negative numbers
accidentally adding square numbers instead of multiplying
misreading graphs

Can she add 2 two digit numbers on paper correctly? What about 3 digit?
Can she subtract similarly?

I don't think what she can or can't do in her head matters. It's what goes wrong on paper. DD had to learn to never try to add 2-digit numbers in her head - always do it on paper. Then she got it right.

RandomMess Sun 24-Jan-16 13:16:45

Ok I will ask for copies of all the test papers she has done!

lougle Sun 24-Jan-16 15:04:41

Number lines are just a way of recording the steps you've taken to work out an answer.

In my photo, my mental process may have been:
" idea. But I do know that 57+1=58.
Now I've got 6 left to add on (7-1=6). idea. But I do know that 58+2=60. Now I've got 4 left to add (6-2=4). 60+4....don't know. 60+1=61, though. OK....61+3...oh! 61+3=64!!! 57+7=64.

RandomMess Sun 24-Jan-16 17:20:30

Thanks for the explanation!

It became apparent trying to learn tables that she can't divide by 2 easily and the other thing is that 5 x 6 and 6 x 5 aren't the same...

Spent weeks trying to get her to rote learn her 7 and 8 times table with little success tbh!

lougle Sun 24-Jan-16 18:21:05

So that's where number lines or cuisinaire rods would help.

Either way, you could see that you need 6 lots of 5 to reach 30, but only 5 lots of 6.

happygardening Sun 24-Jan-16 21:02:35

DS1 sounds very similar to your DD, he has never been formally diagnosed with dyscalculia but I believe that he has it. He's actually ok with the harder stuff but numbers and quantities have no absolutely no meaning to him, he might say (by sheer luck) that 2x5 is 10 but can't see why 3x5 can't be 63, the concept of odd numbers/even number or any numbers is beyond him. He's had countless private tutors over the years (he's now 19) who I'm sure have tried every technique in the book and nothing has helped if you do not have dyscalculia you do not get why any of these so called helpful techniques don't help. Your DD just has to use a calculator learn rote style and accept that 7x8 why it is doesn't matter it just is. My DS is not stupid by the way a recent ed psych report put his IQ at 141 he just can't do math although he did get math GCSE. He's in good company because apparently Einstein couldn't do basic math either he wrote it all down in a note book and referred to it.

cdtaylornats Sun 24-Jan-16 21:21:30

Some people just aren't numerate, I know a woman who still can't count up to 10 using both hands, and doesn't care. She could speak 6 languages by the time she was 16.

DesertOrDessert Sun 31-Jan-16 06:08:15

In your example, I'd have work out 7+7 is 14, which I can do easily, and then added on the 50. I had to look twice at the though process you'd used, and I'm not bad at maths.

Can she do the maths on paper? Or is it mental and written maths she struggles with?

There is a trick to the nine times table, tho that is likely to be covering the problem, it may still help her.

MagratGarlikAgain Sun 31-Jan-16 08:41:15

If you think she has dyscalculia I would get her properly assessed, rather than working with a normal one-to-one tutor. You should be able to find a suitable assessor of specialist tutor in your area on this site, but just be aware that tutors/assessors for dyscalculia are much thinner on the ground than those specialising in dyslexia.

MagratGarlikAgain Sun 31-Jan-16 08:42:38

*or not of

Tia1973 Fri 04-Mar-16 14:13:41

MY daughter has found this Free GCSE Maths Revision Course that basically gives video examples of Grade C questions then there are questions for her to do and then she watches video solutions to the questions she's just done to check her answers. I've looked and it's aimed at the D/C boundary students. She says it's really good and it's free so there's nothing to lose  The link is:

RandomMess Fri 08-Jul-16 17:42:08

Reviving this thread!

Tia - thanks very much for that link.

So school did an on-line test and DD doesn't have dyscalculia does have appalling fine motor skills and has just scored 10/180 on a maths test aimed at the new GCSE curriculum sad. The school haven't kept any of the previous test papers!

I am wondering if she has memory recall issues. She cannot even add 5+1 in her head sadsadsad she appears to do okay in general school work but all of her test results are way lower than expected.

CodyKing Fri 08-Jul-16 18:18:23

Can you get a set of Numicon? It's about £30 for the shapes

It shows ho numbers fit together

So a 7 plate and 3 plate make a 10 shape

You can get 5 sixes and 6 fives and they make the same length - both being 30

It's great for kids like your DD

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