Maths....

(147 Posts)
oldbirdy Mon 28-Nov-16 21:10:58

My ds (9) is very good at maths. Never managed to get school to do anything extra but git him an 11+ tutor recently who is very excited about him, says he could do higher maths GCSE now with just a little teaching of content. She is talking about maths Olympiad etc when he's older and says he's the most capable mathematician she has ever had. She can't keep him on after Feb for personal reasons, and I don't want to let him drift again like I did for all these years at school. She will 'pick him up' again end of the year but does anyone have any suggestions for good resources he can work on in the meantime? He's better than me already, my maths is very average. Are there junior equivalents of the Olympiad for example or other organisations for talented mathematicians? He comes alive when he's working on a really hard puzzle, bless him.

ChildsPlay Mon 28-Nov-16 21:36:17

i can suggest you look on the UKMT if u havnt already
www.ukmt.org.uk/

oldbirdy Mon 28-Nov-16 21:39:32

I had a little look earlier, but it seems to mostly pick up in year 8? Ds is only year 5. Am I misreading the site?

Imisscheese Mon 28-Nov-16 21:46:06

Have a look at nrich, it's a great website for maths problems. Their weekly challenges are UKMT questions, and they have things suitable for KS2-5. Investigations and problem solving are probably the best way to develop as a mathematician, they have plenty of those with solutions.

irvineoneohone Mon 28-Nov-16 21:50:51

There's primarymathschallenge, but it maybe too easy for him?

Addition to nrich, there's wildmaths , aops and of course khanacademy

oldbirdy Mon 28-Nov-16 22:02:22

Thanks, will investigate those smile

OhYouBadBadKitten Mon 28-Nov-16 22:09:05

start with primary maths challenge, get him murderous maths if he hasn't read them and chill about olympiad prospects while he is in primary. If he likes chess, play, but again don't push, it's all about fun.

oldbirdy Mon 28-Nov-16 22:33:45

He has read murderous maths, thanks, and the Number Devil. I have spent 7 years conscientiously not pushing 😁. His tutor kept saying 'i don't want to pressure him ', and obviously I am not holding out for the Olympiad. I am very laid back indeed, knew he was good at maths years ago but didn't want to appear pushy. But in the end it's a shame to not nurture what he loves, even in a low key way. Thanks for your help!

sanam2010 Mon 28-Nov-16 23:03:13

check out Art of Problem Solving and Russian School of Maths, they have online schools. US based Olympiad training. Would be worth far more than doing GCSE work now. Key is to get excited about problem solving, not racing through the curriculum. Glad to hear the tutor has "discovered" him.
www.russianschool.com/location/rsm-online
www.artofproblemsolving.com/school

JustRichmal Tue 29-Nov-16 08:18:42

Your ds can take the Junior Maths Challenge in year 5. We phoned round all the secondary schools in the area when dd was 9 to find one that would take her. Alternatively you could see if your school would be interested in getting a pack of papers themselves and getting a group of children to do it.
I did choose for dd to do her GCSE at the end of primary, but there is quite a lot of content. You can get a KS4 book from Smiths or Waterstones to let you know what has to be learnt. If you do decide to do this, you have to have a good idea that he will get the top mark. Only the first attempt counts for some universities.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Nov-16 08:34:37

UKMT suggest that acceleration isn't a good idea, so while it worked for your dd Richmal, I'd think very carefully about it OldBirdy- the problem is, that its quite 'easy' to work out the mechanics of what to do, but developing a deep understanding of why is more important.

What did your dd do next Richmal?

We chose the route of entirely ignoring the existence of the gcse for dd and instead her school took her off curriculum and she self guided though topics that interested her from UKMT - number theory etc - none of it was curriculum maths, it was much more interesting to her.

OldBirdy, if you like I'm happy to talk by pm as I tend to try and keep a little bit anonymous here smile

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Nov-16 08:45:00

Just to add, she did a lot more than ukmt stuff, but it did form a good basis.

JustRichmal Tue 29-Nov-16 09:05:23

I do very much agree with you Kitten. It is easy for children to learn all the how of maths with nothing of the why. At primary dd's school would not allow her to do anything but follow the curriculum with the rest of the class. If she had been offered the same as your dd as an option, she would have been happy in maths lessons and there would have been no need for her to do GCSE early to prove she could already do the maths she was going to have to spend the next 5 year learning.
Secondary is much better as they let her study for A level.
She also does the UKMT challenges.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Nov-16 12:07:40

In primary school it was a disaster. She wasn't offered anything special. We were told she would need a tutor if she wanted teaching at her level. I bitterly regret not fighting for her harder. It did a lot of damage to her emotionally there.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Nov-16 12:12:08

Secondary part way through year 7 they realised what they were dealing with, they tried lots of different ways of extended including a level work but she raced through that. So ukmt was her saving grace.

noblegiraffe Tue 29-Nov-16 12:23:21

Please don't do GCSE early, it will be a pain in the arse at secondary school.

Apart from problem-solving stuff, also consider chess, a musical instrument and computer programming. Not directly maths, but the skills involved will help greatly with maths in the future.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 29-Nov-16 13:11:38

I'd echo both music and programming. Programming encourages logic and depth of thinking and it's bloody useful.

JustRichmal Tue 29-Nov-16 16:36:22

Please don't do GCSE early, it will be a pain in the arse at secondary school
Surely you should be doing what is best for the child, not best for the school. Dd did not like learning a musical instrument. She likes science and maths. She also did not like having to spend 5 hours a week sitting quietly being taught what she had done two years earlier. Her favourite subject drove her to tears. I do not think you can have a one size firs all.

noblegiraffe Tue 29-Nov-16 16:43:58

Yes, and usually what's best for the child is not teaching them the entire secondary maths curriculum before they get to secondary school leading to inevitable boredom, timetabling issues, the student running out of school maths well before going to university and the lack of provision for that eventuality. Given the huge amount of maths/enrichment you can do outside of the narrow GCSE curriculum, it seems rather daft to follow that path. It would be like deliberately picking all the books that will be studied in English at secondary school and teaching your kid those while ignoring the vast amount of other literature available, then complaining that your kid is bored in English because they've done it all before.

irvineoneohone Tue 29-Nov-16 17:09:44

I can really understand what noble say now. My ds loves learning new concept of maths. But it's just seems superficial understanding.
He decided to learn piano and he is enjoying it, but struggling to achieve what he want to do at the same time.
He loves programming, but on Sunday he spent half a day trying to debug his code trying to achieve the result he wants to achieve.
I think all these are making him better learner.

oldbirdy Tue 29-Nov-16 18:37:26

Ds already loves coding (dh is a programmer). He's good at that too, helps the other kids - but not passionate. We haven't tried chess, will have a look. Weirdly for such a mathematical child he doesn't have a musical bone in his body. He has dyspraxia, no sense of rhythm and a terrible singing voice smile
I doubt we will do GCSE, I think the tutor was just trying to get me to grasp the level of how good he is at maths. That's why I was looking for enrichment. I think he has pretty good conceptual understanding : for example in year 2 he devised a method for adding 1-100 without having to do the sums; he could see you could do 1 + 50, 2 + 49, 3 + 48 and you'd end up with 50 pairs of 51 so the answer would have to be...whatever that equals! (Told you my maths was ropey). Whilst that's not rocket science it would never have occurred to me to short cut it that way, and I am in my 40s! However what I have noticed is that because he can do mental calculations so quickly and well he sometimes doesn't solve a problem the easiest way. For example asked which of several sums would yield an even result he just added them quick instead of just scanning to see which had 2 even numbers in the sum.
I was expecting to be told he isn't exceptional, but thanks for your helpful responses. Lots if food for thought. I sort of think, if he was good at football, i'd encourage him to join a youth team, so why have I been so poor at advocating for him in this?

JustRichmal Tue 29-Nov-16 18:41:30

Every circumstance is different and all you can do as a parent is what you think is best for your child. The choices we made were right for dd. She is happier doing her own maths quietly than going over things she already knows. All these fantastic enrichment topics outside the curriculum were never offered to her when I spoke to her primary teachers, only the assurance that our dd was working at her level already. I did not want her years at secondary to be the same.
To give another analogy, it would have been like asking why Nigel Kennnedy wanted to play grade 8 pieces when there was lots of grade 1 pieces he had not yet studied.

user7214743615 Tue 29-Nov-16 22:01:24

The choices we made were right for dd.

You won't be able to know this until you look back in time and see how she evolved. Many kids who are radically accelerated don't crash and burn until university.

To give another analogy, it would have been like asking why Nigel Kennnedy wanted to play grade 8 pieces when there was lots of grade 1 pieces he had not yet studied.

This is not a reasonable analogy. Violin is not a core compulsory subject at school. Kids can move with their own rate in their private violin lessons. Maths is a core compulsory subject.

As nobelgiraffe writes, it seems bizarre to preteach the entire KS3 and and KS4 maths curriculum when there is so much maths outside the school syllabus that could be studied instead (classical geometry, linear algebra, number theory, discrete maths, etc) as well as maths related activities (chess, coding, GO).

JustRichmal Wed 30-Nov-16 07:44:38

Many kids who were not accelerated crash at university too. If you do not think it is right for your child do not do it. Anecdote is not a good evidence and imaginary anecdote even less so. However I know my child and my circumstances better than you. My view is that there should be no ceiling on the rate at which children are allowed to learn math. Being inconvenient for the school system is not a reason. If these are not your views, that is fine. The OP has said she does not want her ds to do GCSE early and that is fine with me. I would not dream of implying her child will probably fail and crash at university because of her wrong decision, mainly because it is a silly and nastily thing to say.

JustRichmal Wed 30-Nov-16 08:07:53

Just asked dd on the view that teaching her Maths early would cause her to fail at university she asked Won't that make me better at university?

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