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Encouring a 6 year old to develop math / science skills?

(24 Posts)
AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 11:24:01

My DD is almost 6 and in year 1. I feel the school does a great job teching reading but brushes over math and science in order to make so much time for reading. DD has always show a natural inclination to math skills. She has a good understanding of spacial relationships and is fairly good with counting, adding, subracting. I think it would serve her well if I could find something that would encourage her along these lines. I also feel that there is a big bias in the school system that says boys are good at math and girls are good at reading. So I fear that if I don't encourage the math, no one will. I have looked briefly at Kumon, but boring repetitive work will not enthuse her and I fear would do more to put her off than to encourage her. I'm not opposed to extra tuition and I'm okay with some £50 per month.

Doe anyone have any ideas? Could be formal tuition, but also could just be some books/activities I hand to the nanny (and do myself).

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 11:26:01

Oh, and ideally, it should be fun.

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 11:40:44

Does anyone have any experience with Explore Learning? It seems more in line with the curriculum at school, which seems a more sensible approach.

quirkychick Fri 13-Mar-09 11:57:17

What about playing board games, card games all involve numbers 2 digit and some addition/subtraction - fun too! When I was teaching Y1 we used to use something called Abacus Maths on the computer, no idea how much it costs though! You can go in as the "teacher" and set the level of the activities. Might be something similar for home use. I would also have a word with her teacher about her maths abilities. Any gifted and talented groups for maths in your area?

Good luck

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 12:51:04

I do try to do that stuff with her. The trouble is NOBODY in my my house can put the blood ygames away with their peices. Doe my head in. But, we do play some games. I'm leaning toward a class/tutor session she goes to every week.

As much as I really like our nanny, she is just not enthused about math the same way I am. And I don't think it will really shine through for DD. Now, of coure, she can do year 1 math. I just think it will take a lot of following up from me. And I don't really have the time/desire to take that on right now.

Hulababy Fri 13-Mar-09 13:00:16

DD enjoys the activties on Education City website - you can geta free 10 day trial t see what it is like.

Re. science - you ould ave a look at a site such as Science Bob whilst has some simple experiments to do at home.
For resources aimed at this age have a look at Sparklebox.

MommyG Fri 13-Mar-09 13:14:54

My son hated Kumon as it was too boring but he goes to UCMAS now for Maths, and that he likes doing that. They use the ABACUS - so he feels he is doing more fun than learning.

I'm not sure where their centres are: I have recently relocated from UK, but I'm sure they have many centres.

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 13:28:51

What is UCMAS?

And what kind of personaliuty is your son? My DD has a very short attention span so I think this repetitive and boring thing will not be good. But, she is also fiercely competitive. So the rewards and the competition might well get her motivated. I am now going for an assessment tomorrow morning. (DD is being assessed, not me)

christywhisty Fri 13-Mar-09 14:00:49

"I also feel that there is a big bias in the school system that says boys are good at math and girls are good at reading. So I fear that if I don't encourage the math, no one will."
Are you saying your particular school or the school system in general.
At my dd's primary it certainly isn't the case as most of the dcs in my dd's yr sent on the g&t days for maths/technology have been girls.

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 14:22:03

I have definitely seen it at DD's school. But, have heard it from enough teachers there that I I guess I assumed it was probably more widespread. As a woman who hates reading and is pretty good math/logic/spacial awareness I don't subscribe to this crap about math is for boys and books are for girls. In fact, my DD is mathematically inclined, and my DS gets up in the middle of the night to read books in the hallway. He's 3, so it's not proper reading, but he is definitely more interested in books than she was.

AtheneNoctua Fri 13-Mar-09 14:23:30

I'm leaning towards Kumon now as I have discovered since reading this thread that quite a few from her school go there. And I like the idea that she might have some friends there.

handbagqueen Fri 13-Mar-09 14:43:09

Have a look at

magentadreamer Fri 13-Mar-09 23:23:06

I'd suggest something fun for her, Kumon from what I've heard is very repetive and comprises of daily work sheets. To spark an interest for your Dd I'd suggest looking at some of the interactive websites where maths can be fun. Matheletics is good plus my DD was for a time a member of She's currently attending Kip Mcgrath which she enjoys - she's alot older than your DD. Personally if she's not struggling with maths I'd stear away from tutoring as she's only little and make it fun for her - there are loads of stuff online.

Blarbie Fri 13-Mar-09 23:41:17

Maths in context makes it meaningful. Can she cook (measuring, doubling, fractions), help measure and build something out of wood or strong card? Play cards - teaches probability. Collect marbles - I remember sorting mine into piles of 10 to make counting my hoard easier. What about shopping to help with money, Give her a piggy bank and a peculiar mount of money for pocket money e.g £1.37/week with every £10 saved earning a trip to the bank to deposit it. I loved maths and around 6 and definitely by 7 I knew all my tables to 12, I used to spend ages creating and colouring in times table squares.
Maths is important as it is used every day so help her realise this with everyday tasks and games. Maths is all around us and will never be fully appreciated if kept in books. I trained as a maths teacher and I'm certain kids would be better at maths if they spent more time doing these simple things rather than "studying" maths - although there is a place for maths as the enjoyment of manipulating numbers on paper.

ramonaquimby Fri 13-Mar-09 23:47:01

Kumon is sheer repetition and not terribly exciting for kids. A few friends use Explore Learning (Sainsbury's at St Clares) and their kids seem to like it .

I'd have a look at a website called www.thehappypuzzlecompany - they have some fabulous games that really promote spacial awareness, logic, reasoning - all the things that sound like they would be good for your daughter. Fun Learning in Kingston is also pretty good for non mainstream stuff, lots of things imported from the US.

snorkle Sat 14-Mar-09 08:49:53

Kumon works very well for children who need lots of repetition to learn tables etc and it really sharpens up mental maths skills. I think it sometimes works well for very able children too - ds has an extremely bright friend who finished the whole course at primary school or somesuch (which is a hugely impressive feat) and I think piffle's son did it for a while as well.

thirtypence Sat 14-Mar-09 08:55:20

Ds loves the world maths day website - he gets to play on it "as a treat" at school. I sympathise as ds did no maths at all in his previous school. In his new school they do more writing, but less full sentence, make up a story type writing. It just seems very hard for a school to make a balance.

We got the DK Science explorer PC game free with some breakfast cereal. That's really good.

Ds loves making his solar power kits from Boots and Tesco, Brainbox for making electrical circuits, and Knex for making working models.

Do you have a science museum near you? Ours does Saturday classes with hands on experiments.

What about sudoku - not maths as such, but really good for logic.

LotsofLovelyShoes Sat 14-Mar-09 08:56:15

We do Kumon and think it is great. If your child is very able she will race through the easier levels and be on to the more challenging stuff in no time.

Mums on here generally hate it but it has worked for all 4 of my DCs who naturally are all of different ability. The brightest of them does maths and has picked up alot of basic stuff that was missed or glossed over at school. she now has a stronger basis in mental maths than her peers and will now race ahead and work altogether with much more confidence.

That is the thing withKumon, it does give children confidence to work alone and make mistakes and so learn.

Also costs £45 a month here.

Lindenlass Sat 14-Mar-09 09:16:07

Education City is a favourite in our house.

Card games are great for maths skills, as are a whole load of other games.

My DD1 (nearly 6) enjoys playing brain training on the DS, which has lots of sums on.

Also, there are a lot of fun games on the BBC Bitesize website.

Get some Usborne Science books and make time to do one or two of the experiments each weekend (we do two or three a week at the request of the children). We home educate btw.

For biology, think about joining something like Nature Detectives for weekly challenges about nature (unsurprisingly wink).

Most science for us comes from playing with magnets, or making things like a wormery, or gardening, or cooking, or experimenting with melting snow under running water etc. DD2 recently bought a butterfly garden kit with her birthday money - caterpillars are currently growing at a rate of knots and we're hoping will make their chrysallises soon!

Personally I'd be very wary of tutoring things at this young age - far better and more efficient for children to learn things in context and for real reasons IMO.

scienceteacher Sat 14-Mar-09 09:20:27

At that age, they should be picking up mathematical and science skills by just living.

They shouldn't, imo, be trying to learn them through computer games. They spend to much time living their lives through the computer.

Lindenlass Sat 14-Mar-09 09:26:55

Mine don't try to learn them through the computer, but they do all the same! I was just suggesting things to the OP that IMO will be less of a risk in terms of putting her DC off than tutoring.

I absolutely and completely agree with you re. learning through living. At only 6 you don't need to be doing anything special with a child except including them in your life and your activities.

Nowt wrong with computer-use too though, IMO. But then I guess HEd children get more time to spend on computers without missing out on 'living' time IYSWIM. Schooled children get less 'living' time (ie. out of school) so I guess if I were the OP, I'd just be working hard to ensure my DC immersed themselves in the general family activities when they're not in school.

AtheneNoctua Wed 18-Mar-09 11:21:10

Well, we signed up for Kumon (math only). It turns out it is rather popular with our school. So hopefully she will have a few friends there as well.

I actually encourage the computer for DD. She like the computer and it makes her want to read.

Haks Wed 06-May-09 09:23:50

Well! I just happened to be searching and landed up in this thread! This is a dilemma faced by most parents, especially of girls.

I am a Maths teacher and take private paid lessons. Most of the parents introduce their child as "weak/very weak" in maths. However, with a little guidance and proper explanation most of the kids show dramatic improvement. Only kids with learning disabilities do not show as much improvement. I have taken up girls who were scoring around 50% but in two years time they are scoring 90% plus.

The key is to make maths fun and also to find the way a child's mind grasps a concept. *"One method/explanation teaches all" is not the right approach.* Unfortunately school teachers neither have the time nor the inclination to look closely at a child. BUT ALL NORMAL CHILDREN CAN DO MATHS - INCLUDING GIRLS!!

Mei68 Fri 29-Apr-16 22:49:22

Hi , I have a daughter in year 2, my husband urge me to bring her to UC MAS UK for maths lesson. Does anyone heard about this class? Please kindly give me an opinion. My daughter like maths but need lots of encouragement. I didn't got much time to help her because I am a part time worker and student too.
I am afraid if I don't give her enough guidance, she will completely put off from maths.

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