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7 year old maths - how unusual is this? And should I be doing anything more?

(25 Posts)
shouldibedoingsomething Tue 06-Sep-16 08:53:41


Just wondered if I should be speaking to the school/giving my 7 year old extra work or something? I haven't done any maths with him and at school he does very basic stuff - 7+3 and additions of larger numbers one of top of the other (whats that called???). Over the last few months I've noticed he's very quick at doing maths in his head. Sometimes in the car, he'll ask me to give him a sum to do - say 367+45-234 -and he can do that within about a minute. Something like 167-45 he can do in 10 seconds. He can also work out any multiplication in his head in seconds for anything in the 6s or less, and within a minute for 7s, 8s, 9s - he usually does this by working out a lower multiplication and building up from it, so very logical. I have never done multiplication with him formally. Just ask him now and then in the car. so, should I be doing anything more?

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 08:56:58

I don't think its unusual at all but I do think you could help to teach him more. Most of the children in my DCs school know all of their times tables inside out by the time they are going into the junior school.

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 08:59:49

To add there - my children do go to an academically selective school but even so, I don't think it's unusual.

I wouldn't be happy though if school was only doing 7+3 at age 7. That's reception level maths. Could you speak to his teacher about some extension work (or if not then just do it with him yourself)?

shouldibedoingsomething Tue 06-Sep-16 09:07:16

Thanks for your reply atticus. I'm a bit surprised it's normal. In terms of the mental arithmetic, he's quicker than I am and I never had any problems with maths at school! I'm in another country so I think they must just take maths a lot slower, as they do reading and writing.

shouldibedoingsomething Tue 06-Sep-16 09:09:46

I may investigate doing something with him myself. I do have a feeling he would enjoy it and could do with being challenged a bit. Do you have any online recommendations? something that links maths skills to real world applications like coding, or makes it fun?

Cashewnutts Tue 06-Sep-16 09:13:59

As a teacher, I'd suggest you make sure whatever you do at home is roughly in line with what the school will teach/you make sure he is doing it correctly!

You're absolutely right to do extra work if you think the school are not challenging him enough but there's nothing worse as a teacher when children have been taught at home and it's completely wrong because the person teaching them doesn't understand it!

just out of curiosity, is it really that simple? 7+3 at age 7 is a bit worrying!

Cashewnutts Tue 06-Sep-16 09:17:05

Some ideas for helping at home:

Also search for nrich, they do a lot of fantastic maths problems for g&t kids.

CocktailQueen Tue 06-Sep-16 09:17:16

I agree that 7+3 at age 7 seems well below what he should be doing,. but I disagree with Atticus - I think being able to do mental arithmetic like you describe at that age is pretty good going.

There are plenty of workbooks and so on out there - the Carol Vorderman ones are good, or look at the Schofield & Sims website for ideas - and maths websites like

Middleoftheroad Tue 06-Sep-16 09:17:19

My children love the Mathletics site. Try that one!

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 09:20:05

He's probably doing maths every day though and you're not. I did A Level maths and still my 9 year old is faster at mental maths than I am because he's doing it every day. And he can whizz through a page of reducing complex fractions whilst I'm still on question 3.

It would sound to me like he needs to be working on his times tables. If he hasn't been learning them then he's probably still using addition to multiply whereas to get good at maths he will benefit from knowing his times tables properly so that he immediately knows without really thinking that e.g. 7 x 8 = 56

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 09:21:42

Mine used Timezattack for learning times tables.

MammouthTask Tue 06-Sep-16 09:28:30

I think that sort of calculations in his head is quite good for a 7yo.

However, I disagree with the idea of teaching more advanced stuff at home. My experience is that you end up with a child even more ahead than before and struggling to fit in with whatever is happening in class.

The route I have chosen is to challenge my two dcs with stuff they don't do at school. There is plenty to teach a child that isn't 'maths' (such as learning how to add etc...). But you can do some stuff on reasonning and logic, learn about astronomy, read much complex book with them etc etc.
For us, what works best is NOT a formal teaching, sitting down in front a computer to do maths or whatever but to about it in a much more organic way. maybe the best description is to think about what people who are homeschooling do and how they approach stuff in a non 'academic' way iyswim.

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 09:33:40

I wasn't meaning to imply that the OP's son isn't bright. He clearly is. I was simply answering the question about whether it was unusual and IMO it isn't. However, as I have said, my DC are at an academically selective school and so my experiences might not be representative of the population as a whole.

Cashewnutts Tue 06-Sep-16 09:41:32

atticus definitely not representative. IME, on average by age 7 children can recall 1,2,3,4,5, 10 and 11x
Of course some children can do all. Some less. Some are fluent and answer straight away and some might use fingers or count up mentally.
Expectations are high but your dc being in an academically selective school means reality meets expectation more often than in your average school.

atticusclaw2 Tue 06-Sep-16 09:46:33

smile point taken

chopchopchop Tue 06-Sep-16 09:53:30

Have a look at the Dragonbox apps - it's interesting maths/logic games but stretching sideways rather than teaching him. If he enjoys maths, he'll love the challenge

ReallyTired Tue 06-Sep-16 09:56:58

What is his problem solving like? If you are going to do extra work the problem solving is a great way of developing a mathematical mind without stealing the thunder from the teacher. I suggest Singapore Maths books off amazon or google thinking blocks. There is a link off the maths playground website.

The beauty of problem solving is that it forces a more able child to use their brain and work out their own strategies. It's not mindless number crunching. There is no fear of teaching the wrong method as the child is working out their own method.

shouldibedoingsomething Tue 06-Sep-16 10:02:13

Thanks everyone!

TealGiraffe Tue 06-Sep-16 10:05:36

I work in year 3/4 and i think your son sounds bright. I would expect my lot to be able to do those sums written down using column addition, but they would struggle with 'holding' the numbers in their head doing it mentally. They would be capable of doing the actual sum, but wouldn't be able to remember the columns they had already done if you get what i mean.
They all struggle more with column subtraction, but again, coukd do it written down.

Times table wise, they know their 1,2,3,4,5,10,11. We were working on 6 and 8 during the summer term but it isnt quite stuck yet.

I would keep things fun for him and, like pp have said, get him some apps of maths games if you have an ipad / iphone. Get him to add up the shopping in the supermarket, add up the miles in the section of a journey, etc. Cooking and baking are always good, weighing etc. "Now if i want a cake twice the size, how much flour would i need" etc.

7+3 is easy but making those number bonds instant recall is a massive help with all maths. We do it as a quick fire round at the start of a lesson, bonds to 10, 20 and 100. It's just making sure it's really stuck in their brains.

shouldibedoingsomething Tue 06-Sep-16 10:07:19

In so far as the rate of learning, its an interesting one. We're in France and I was educated myself here for a time - although in Paris which is perhaps more academic than where I am now - and actually the maths was much, much more difficult and taught to a much higher level than in the English school I later went to. But everything starts later. They haven't even touched on the times table yet - he just works it out himself. If I asked him to learn it, it would take him a matter of days. His memory is unreal. But I have never had any cause to as they don't do it at school.

MammouthTask Tue 06-Sep-16 15:22:09

In France, I would have a word with the teacher and see if they think it would be suitable for him to move a year up.

And I would do a lot of 'work' on 'non' academic subjects as I said before because they will follow the curriculum and won't make him learn stuff that is ahead just because he can. The system, as you know, is much more 'formatted' and doesn't fit aorund the child as much as they are (trying to) here.
Fwiw, I went throught that system myself and see the children of my friends going though it now. I'm sure it is much much easier that it was when I was young. Incl the level of difficulty for maths problems etc...

Maarias Sun 30-Oct-16 02:00:55

He sounds very bright! My DS2 is in year 2 and nearly seven and can do double digits on paper only. So very impressive smile
I would say keep it fun. You don't want to put him off it. Word problems problems could be one way of challenging him. Most boys find these a bit harder.
And focus on basics - times tables should be down pat by end of year 2.

LucyBabs Sun 30-Oct-16 02:05:42

Children in reception should know the answer to 7+3 really? Reception being mainly 4 year olds?

AppleMagic Sun 30-Oct-16 02:33:02

I think specifically because it adds up to 10 Lucy. They learn the different ways to make 10 over the course of reception.

Ninjapie Sat 05-Nov-16 15:20:48

Is it -7+3 not 7+3 ?

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