Advanced search

Reception maths - don't want to be 'that' parent.

(33 Posts)
Mandatorymongoose Mon 25-Sep-17 22:51:07

DS started reception about 3 weeks ago. He is very good at maths. To give context; he can count and recognise numbers past 1000 (probably more, he knows how 10000 etc. works, I'm just not sure at what point he'd get stuck), can do single digit addition in his head and can work out how to add bigger numbers; such as by saying if 8 + 6 is 14 then 80 + 60 is 140. Similar for subtraction although not as confident. Can count in 2s / 3s / 4s / 5s and 10s. Can do basic multiplication and division and problem solve (I asked him how he'd share 10 items between 3 people, he said he'd take one away and give 3 each). I think he just has very good understanding of patterns and so if you explain how something works he can extrapolate it and apply it to bigger / different numbers. His knowledge of shapes and measure is pretty good too. Basically anything number or pattern based he's on it.
With everything else he's clever and learns quickly but isn't really above average (can't read, not that interested in learning to, although likes being read to).

Before he started at school I mentioned to his teacher at the open evening that he's good with numbers because I wanted to check how they'd deal with it. They were very enthusiastic and said they'd find him open ended stuff to do that would suit him.

So far he has played games matching numerals up to 10 with pictures of groups of items and put up to 6 people in a car with a number on (just matching physical objects to written numerals again) he says it's boring.

I don't want to be 'that' parent and harass busy teachers about my child. I know they have a whole class to teach. But I really don't want him being bored and not learning anything. I thought maybe they need time to assess his ability themselves rather than just have my 'my kid is a genius' taken at face value (I don't think he's an actual genius!). I'm not sure what the balance is, how long do I leave it before checking in and seeing what they think / if they're going to find him some more interesting work?

Crumbs1 Mon 25-Sep-17 22:57:00

I'd be 'that parent'. My eldest two were put onto basic reading schemes when they started primary despite being fluent readers. They didn't need or want to do phonics - they'd done them all at nursery. I did speak with the teacher and agreed they'd be allowed to,use library to choose reading books and read to TA whilst others did phonics. It more or less worked but TA kept encouraging them to choose 'age appropriate' books rather than providing a challenge.

BrieAndChilli Mon 25-Sep-17 22:58:39

I say this as someone who's eldest son started reception with a reading age of 14+
It's still very early, they will still be assessing ALL the children on the class, and not just on maths and English but on social skills and practical things like fine motor skills etc.
I would give it until half term which is when I would expect them to then stream groups and start differentiating between levels of work.
Have to say that my youngest cojldnadd up single digits in his head and recognise large numbers before he started school and he is just average. Although the rest of the stuff youentiomed does sound ahead for his age.

fatberg Mon 25-Sep-17 23:00:19

Be that parent. It's fine. smile

Lurkedforever1 Mon 25-Sep-17 23:04:14

Agree with brie, I'd leave it till half term too.

BrieAndChilli Mon 25-Sep-17 23:05:28

Bare in mind as well that 4 year olds aren't the most reliable of witnesses he may only remember that he counted to 6 but he probably didn't notice his teacher testing him in other ways
Do you know when parents evening is? Ours is always end of October so has given the teacher about 6 weeks to get to know the children and I would guess that then is when they will discuss his progress and and plans for going forward with you.
I would also try and concentrate on his reading as a lot of maths for the older kids rely on them reading problems and solving them

Frazzled2207 Mon 25-Sep-17 23:07:05

My son has also just started reception and is nowhere near that good! I think it's early days and the teacher will still be assessing where 30 kids are, there will be a huge variation in what everyone can do, yes your son might be one of the strongest in maths but there may be some who aren't far behind.
I'd personally leave it until half term or the first parents evening whenever that is (ours is just after half term) and then speak to the teacher.

wobblywonderwoman Mon 25-Sep-17 23:09:09

I think I would certainly leave it for a few more weeks. They will sort it!! Very early in the term.

But I would certainly do something about it on October. He sounds wonderful.

wobblywonderwoman Mon 25-Sep-17 23:09:29


Mandatorymongoose Mon 25-Sep-17 23:09:49

I'm leaving it until half term seems very reasonable. Just want to find the balance. I don't really know how long it takes for them to get an idea of different needs.

I'm happy with the school generally, he's settled in well, made friends and is enjoying it. Just the idea of him getting bored makes me a bit sad because he loves learning.

IamPickleRick Mon 25-Sep-17 23:12:10

I'd leave it for a week or so. They need to see him do these things himself. My DS was very good at reading and maths when he started and after the first week he was given harder stuff to do, they just had to check I wasn't making boasts I suppose.

HidingBehindTheWallpaper Mon 25-Sep-17 23:16:19

Reception teacher here:

Right now he is three weeks into the whole concept of being in School. What he is learning now is how to find his coat peg, get to the toilet, change for PE, cope on the play ground, share, go to lunch, etc.
The chances are that the teacher is getting data for base line assessment right now. She will know he is good, she will get to spend more time with him and he will get pushed.

Right now he is four. Let him learn through play, even if it seems that that play is below his level.

irvineoneohone Mon 25-Sep-17 23:17:23

If you have parents' eve coming up in Oct/Nov, I would wait until then.
By then, the teacher must be able to see his ability.

Mandatorymongoose Mon 25-Sep-17 23:22:49

Brie he would remember, sometimes unfortunately, he has a shockingly good memory. We talked about the game of putting people in cars because I asked him more about it "what would you do if the car had a 2 and a 3 on it?" Put 5 people in. "What if it had a 10 and a 4 on it?" Nothing because there were only 6 seats. I'm never 100% sure he's not being sarcastic.

I agree his reading needs focus but he is at a normal level. Can do all the phonics, knows a few sight words. He tends to memorise books rather than bother learning words. I'm not a big fan of pushing children much, so I don't force him to practice reading but we talk about words and letter sounds a lot and I read to him. He's just not very interested and would rather do something else, I'm sure he'll get on fine with it though.

Wobbly he's lovely. He's a little monstrous ball of energy who demands to know how everything works and drives me a little crazy but he's also a very sweet little boy. It's been a long time since I had a little one and I forgot how much their joy in the world is infectious.

Mandatorymongoose Mon 25-Sep-17 23:25:39

Thanks Hiding nice to have your point of view. Hope the first few weeks are going well for you! I do not envy you your job but I very much appreciate it.

ifonly4 Tue 26-Sep-17 08:59:17

The first 5/6 weeks will be about settling them all in and not overwhelming them, and I guess entrance will be staggered. When all the class are in together the teacher can then assess them and at that point you can talk to them about how they can help your son.

JustRichmal Tue 26-Sep-17 12:01:44

From lots of such threads, people have different experiences depending on the school. Some cater well and others not so. One problem I came across with dd was being trapped in the circular argument of: We have no evidence your child is at that level, so we do not teach them at that level, so we have not seen them working at that level, so we have no evidence they are at that level. You may, however, have picked a school that caters well. If you look back on G&T threads, there are lots of instances of both.
You have obviously been doing a good job of teaching him at home, so until you find how the ground likes, just keep on spending the odd few minutes here and there keeping up with that when he is at home.
As for being "that parent", when your ds leaves school, what will you regret more, having the teacher think you were a bit of a pain or not getting a good education for your child?
I hope you do not have to stand up for him, but if you do, then do.

BrieAndChilli Tue 26-Sep-17 12:43:40

It's hard and it's a fine line to walk between championing for your child and being a pushy parent.
It's worth bearing in mind that they do need to start at the bottom in regards to checking his knowledge and understanding of processes etc before they move on to the next level
So with my son, he started school able to read anything and everything and he came home in the first week with a phonics sound garden, I spoke to the teacher and was like 'what's the point, he can read he knows all his letters etc' but they needed to check his understanding of the most basic principles of reading to make sure he had learnt the correct technique that the rest of school literacy is then based on, if he had learnt to sight read without understanding the basic principles of blending and phonics (which is completely different to how we were taught to read so lots of parents do teach thier kids the 'old' way) then he would find the harder work even harder iyswim? So the teachers will need to test your sons basic maths skills to see if he understands the maths rather than having learnt by rote.

When you go to parents evening you will immediately get a sense of how your teacher is and whether they 'get' your son. My eldest is in year 6 and he's had some amazing teachers over the years who just seemed to be able to push him and get the best out of him and challenge him enough that he hasn't got bored, he has had a couple I would say just taught to the class as a single entity and didn't seem to be able to cater for the very top and very bottom of the class, but on the whole his school have been amazing with him (he has very poor fine motor skills so writing is very difficult for him so I've seen how the school deals with both ends of the scale)
I would also say that it's worth listening to the schools opinion as they will have much more experience than you. When DS was in reception they put him in year 2 groups for literacy and maths, really he should have been in with year 5 and 6 but they wouldn't put him higher than year 2 as the social side of it would have been detrimental, 10 year olds are a lot different to 4 year olds and it would not have benefitted him to be socially isolated.

GeorgeHerbert Tue 26-Sep-17 18:33:05

You might find yourself 'that parent' for quite a few years if your ds turns out to be very mathematical. We had similar issues in Reception, we approached it gently and eventually in Year 1 they gave him a KS2 paper as a 'trial' and he got a Level 4. The SENCO then got involved and his primary did many inventive things with him including some 1:1 with a specialist secondary teacher. But what was exhausting was that every new class teacher had to somehow have it 'proved' all over again. It was almost 'he can't be that good'.
Then Secondary and Year 7 was torture for him until the Head of Maths gave him a KS3 paper which he predictable aced getting a Level 8. Eventually in Year 10 the HEad of Maths told him he didn't need to go to Maths lessons any more and he and another boy sat out with a A level text book and taught themselves. He took the AS at the end of Y 10 before and predictably got an A.
My advice after all this would be to teach your ds to satisfy his own curiosity, tell him to complete all class work to satisfy the teachers, then do his own maths. My ds taught himself algebra, statistics and the like from the fantastic Murderous Maths books ( possibly your ds is a bit young, I seem to remember Y2 was the time we discovered these. ) Later on there is UKMT Maths challenges, NRICH website is also great. Be patient with teachers, yes the have 29 other kids, but some gentle prodding here and there doesn't go amiss. Good Luck!

Fresh8008 Tue 26-Sep-17 18:57:40

I wasn't lucky enough to get my DC into a mumsnet school that can cater for the top 1% of ability. A primary teacher actually me told me off for teaching DC at home. Moved to another 'good' school but no different, I became that parent. Tried everything, and the school always talked the talk, but nope for whatever reason they wouldn't/couldn't differentiate to such a high level. Because "it would be unfair on the other kids who weren't that bright" or "it was my fault for teaching them at home". confused.

So we turned to private tuition to stem the boredom. By year 6 we had given up and pinned our hopes that secondary would be better. It was a good school and they also talked the talk. There was always 'extension' work but that was never higher material, it was just more and more of the same thing. They did all the math 'extras', competitions, trips, etc but actual maths class was the most hated boring class all through school. They still love math and we are pining our hopes on A-Level / University now.

I hope you have a different experience but I am a bitter old jaded maths parent now.

HidingBehindTheWallpaper Tue 26-Sep-17 20:51:51

The other thing I would say is that yes he can recognise numbers, he can count orally and even add numbers in his head but does he actually understand number?
Does he know the threeness of three? Can he look at 12 objects and estimate how many that is? Can he look at the gaps in the car and see that he needs 3 more people to fit in there without counting?

I'm not saying that he is not as able as you say, not for a moment, but some children can say number names in order but can't actually count objects, or they know number facts like doubles, but they don't know how to use that to work out half.

2014newme Wed 27-Sep-17 09:04:00

When people say 'that parent' what do they mean? A parent who cares about their child's education? Be that parent! If you don't put your childs interests first, who will?
Make a proper appointment though don't try and grab 5 minutes with the teacher. Read the school gifted and talented policy in advance. At our school it comes under senco so I asked for a meeting with senco and the head of year. I was clear the outcome I was looking for which was differentiated work for my dd in maths.
The meeting totally reassured me.they gave 30 kids are still working out their abilities. Be polite, be appreciative, realise the pressures teachers are under with a huge range of abilities and little extra classroom support. But yes, go and speak to them.

Mandatorymongoose Thu 28-Sep-17 21:57:07

Sorry, just come back to this - been at work for a few days.

Hiding I do understand what you mean. The difference between knowledge and understanding. But yes, he has an excellent understanding of how numbers work, it seems more innate than taught.

He can estimate well, he can do "missing number" problems and if you rearrange sums he understands that they still end up the same. He likes to count everything and divide it up into sets and make new numbers. So, finding all the ways to make 10 either with actual things (sweets!) or just going through the numbers 0+10, 1+9 etc. I didn't really teach him to count big numbers, just asked him what he thought would happen next and he worked it out from the smaller ones (I might have told him the first number after 20 was 21 and he worked out the rest up to 30 or I told him that after 100 was 110 in 10s and he understood the pattern). Similarly, I've never taught him to divide anything, not deliberately anyway - I did teach him to count in 2s but he worked out how to count in 3s and other numbers by himself and how to divide by doing the opposite of that.

I'm sure he has gaps and basic things he needs to learn, I'm certainly not a maths teacher (I do the odd meds calculation but that's about it these days) so I'm hoping that's something school will look at with him.

hannah1992 Thu 28-Sep-17 22:05:36

My dd was very good at reading. However, she was my first. I had no clue how much kids should be able to do at age 4 and nursery hadent said anything to make me think she was more forward in reading so I had no idea until parents evening. Teacher said to me that she was three stages above everyone else. She must have thought I was an idiot because I was dumbfounded. I just thought she was an average 4 year old. That being said she is shocking at maths. Though the teacher said you are usually better at one than the other. Which figures because I'm shit at maths too

GHGN Fri 29-Sep-17 00:06:08

I am always amazed at the DCs that got mentioned here.

I am happy that my DD made a couple of friends after the first 3 weeks and didn't have any accidents yet.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: