Helping a Y1 who isn't being extended at school(6 Posts)
Can you help with some tips to help challenge my son at home, and/or how to raise this with his teacher?
Ds2 is 5 and in year 1. He's not exceptional the way some kids on these boards are, but is bright - he's only recently turned 5 (born in August) and is doing things like comfortably reading Roald Dahl, doing sums with 3 figure numbers, making Lego technic without an adult.
His school is rated outstanding and has been great for ds1, however Ive been hearing more and realise that Ds2 is not being challenged at school. His class has 30 children with greatly mixed abilities, with some just grasping phonics and not confident in English while he and a couple of others well ahead. He tells me that there are challenges in maths and English but he finishes them early in the lesson then he and the other children who are ahead are partnered with children on early levels, so he spends a lot of his lessons doing this. His teacher said something similar at our meeting, though I hadn't fully understood it then.
He says he's bored at school now, and I tell him to keep working hard but really can't blame him. His teacher no doubt works hard, but with minimal TA support is clearly already very stretched. With 3 other children including a newborn at home, my ability to give 1-1 extension is also a bit limited. I'd love some help on how we can help him, beyond the many many library trips for new books we are doing now!
this sounds similar to how things were with DS (now Y4; also an August baby; also fairly able but not super gifted like some of the kids here).
Tbh we basically accepted that the speed of his learning would be greatly reduced due to lack of opportunity. We didn't want to 'make' him do extra stuff at home, and there was no point in fighting with the school.
I do remember in Y1 I believe, we did some readtheory.org for a little while (using it as a teaching tool), and he soaked it up like a sponge and his reading comprehension made huge leaps forwards - just formalising the things he intuitively grasped already, really. Just went to show that with some instruction, he was capable of learning so much more than what he was being asked to do at school.
But then we went back to reading being for enjoyment; and anyway we didn't have time to pursue things as DC2 was demanding most of our attention.
At the same time in Y1 we started having Murderous Maths books (and similar) for bedtime stories, and Dragonbox apps for fun. So whilst he was officially learning how to add 10 to any 2-digit number and similar, he was exploring algebra, the Fibonacci sequence, negative numbers, googolplex, and other random stuff for fun.
Completely unsystematical. Not racing ahead in the curriculum, nor exploring what they were currently learning in greater depth. Just playing around with numbers and getting acquainted with concepts, and thereby hopefully being reminded that no matter what they did at school, 'real' maths is fun
Due to the lack of systematicity in our approach, he is probably a lot less 'ahead' than he could be. But I believe that just because someone is capable of learning something, doesn't mean he/she should, or that it would be in his/her best interest. (Though it might. All depends on specific circumstances.) At the end of the day it doesn't matter if DS 'properly' learns algebra at age 5 or at age 12; as long as he still thinks that maths is cool. So at that stage we very much went with the approach of keeping maths fun and interesting.
So mastering the basic arithmetic stuff: It is a bit boring, but it is useful; and, importantly, it will allow us to do all that fun stuff later on.
It is free to register for Khan Academy. It will start with an assessment of his ability, then set maths at his level. You could try asking the school if he could do this at school if he has finished his work.
You could also do a "sum of the day" for his times tables. It takes only a few seconds to keep asking him it throughout the day and it is surprising how quickly they learn their tables.
Also Mythical Maths and Enchanted English books by Lets present the subjects in a fun way which he might like to get on with by himself.
He will get further ahead, but I think good education does make a difference to a child's ability, and they should be being taught at the level at which they are capable of learning, regardless of how slowly they are learning at school.
I have similar issues with my DS9. He had a very good teacher in Yr2 who gave him great extension work and he loved it but each year since all he gets is basic "early finisher" worksheets with more of the same work which he gets bored with.
He is doing maths at home with me that is 2 years ahead (long multiplication and long division) and that keeps him fairly happy. At his PT meeting last week his teacher said he was making basic mistakes in his work (he does this because he is bored with it) and didn't know his times tables.
I came home and started going through his tables again and he was taking a good few seconds to work out the sums. I asked him to sit with the book and learn them all off again. He spent about 2 minutes reading them and then could recite all the tables up to 12 x 12 instantly. He just learns so quickly when he puts his mind to it.
He loves Khan academy and other maths sites and he loves to build with Lego/blocks and play chess.
I would love him to have a teacher that took an interest in his ability and nurtured it in school.
Good luck with your son.
Extra curricular activities such as chess club, coding club, music will help develop his ability. Anything that is analytical is good TBH, not just doing additions and subtractions, or work sheets...
It doesn't have to be systematic or organised.
ANd also, all children are bored at school at one point or another. Even those in the middle attainment-wise. It's pretty standard. I'd be really surprised if you would find one single child who is never, ever bored at school!
In one way, I think being bored is a good thing. They will use their imagination to make it more fun. Yr1 is still quite young, so he may need more guidance, but site like nrich can help him with that, I think. For literacy, I think access to many books and watching films, playing games etc, can stretch the child.
If you don't mind your dc using online resources, you don't need to give them 1-1 attention at home either. There are so many resources for them to explore at home.
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