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Yr 5 DS just can't tell the time

(13 Posts)
racingheart Mon 12-Sep-11 22:24:19

I'm at a loss. His teacher shave been hinting to me since yr 2 that he needs home support with this. Well he gets it! I bought huge books on telling the time and we've read and re read them. I bought a huge plain kitchen clock and stuck tape over the digital cooker clock.

The problem is that when I go over it with him, he gets it, quickly and is 100% accurate. But if I casually ask him what time it is, he can't read the clock face. Not even the o'clocks. He just guesses.Then we sit down and discuss it and he seems very confused. We go over and over it until it seems to have clicked, and he gets all try-outs right. But next day it's wiped.

He's top set maths and english, and very bright otherwise. he has glasses, so it's not an eyesight thing. Today I asked him what time it was at 8.35pm and he said, 'not sure, it could maybe be 7.15 or ten to nine, or...' Basically he was just guessing.

Any ideas what's going on? Or what I can do to help him. He's doing 11+ next year and I'm dreading any questions coming up that are time-related.

racingheart Mon 12-Sep-11 22:25:18

teachers have not teacher shave, obv!

CustardCake Mon 12-Sep-11 22:32:39

Actually my DS is a bit like this. He is also top set and generally academic but seems to have a mental block with times. I think it is just lack of opportunity to practice. They don't have to follow a timetable yet at school or get themselves anywhere on time so it is seen as a purely theoretical exercise that you learn at home sometimes as opposed to something useful that's used everyday. My DS even think in minutes not hours (he will think of 1.5 hours as a 90 minute slot - probably because that's how films are listed!!)
I guess the solution is to introduce more daily practice in real situations like you have been doing. I do wonder though why it is so hard especially as when pressed, like your DS, he can accurately work out the answer. It isn’t second nature though like it should be.

confidence Tue 13-Sep-11 00:38:07

OMG what is this about? My DS is exactly the same!

It's always been a complete mystery to me, like one little piece in his otherwise high functioning brain is just completely missing. Nearly full marks in 11+, consistently top of his class in maths and science, reading age 4-5 years ahead - devours novels like an adult.

But can he tell the time? Not a bloody chance!

With him it's not really like guessing, just that he interprets the conventions and concepts wrongly and no matter how many times he's corrected and seems to understand, he still does it again next time. Gets the hour hand and minute hand mixed up. When that's corrected, thinks that if the hour hand is somewhere after 4 it must be some number of minute before 4.00. Can't remember that the numbers represent 5-minute increments for minutes - etc. etc. rinse and repeat.

Hardly seems like taxing stuff for a maths and science whizz kid. I just. don't. get it.

concretefeet Tue 13-Sep-11 14:14:52

We got one of these clocks after seeing it recommended here.
The import postal cost was about £5.

mrsbaffled Tue 13-Sep-11 15:02:59

I have made my own version of that clock by sticking on ovals made from wires onto the hands of a normal clock. It nearly works LOL! Can't say DS is any the wiser, though!

Proudnscary Tue 13-Sep-11 17:30:49

My year 5 son is crap at telling the time! But he's blooming good at most other things so..meh. It'll come.

LittleMissProcrastinator Tue 13-Sep-11 20:49:10

how about getting a clock that chimes every hour in your house. We were given one as a present and since we got it our dc have got better at telling the time.

eatyourveg Tue 13-Sep-11 21:16:28

Just an idea but this is a variation of what I did for my dc

Make some cards which you can punch a hole in and put on a keyring. Make them small enough so they can fit in a coat pocket and laminate if poss. Each card has a clock face with a time and the words underneath. Start with a set just for o'clocks.

When it is a real o'clock, ask your son what the time is - he then looks through his cards to match up the hands on the clock with one on the cards then reads the words.

Once he has got used to matching them up fairly confidently add some half pasts then quarter to/past and gradually build it up matching the real time to one on his cards which has the text cue

Sounds complicated but my boys took to it - it was basically like a game of snap.

wordsmithsforever Tue 13-Sep-11 23:15:15

My DC love any form of moving being incorporated into their learning.

Anyway, we devised a game where I stood in the middle of the cul de sac outside our house on a quiet morning holding the ends of two skipping ropes, one long and one short.

My DD held the other end of the long skipping rope and DS held the other end of the short skipping rope so they were respectively the long and short hands of the clock. (Oh forgot to say we also chalked up clock face numbers from 1 to 12 in the cul de sac.) DD was on roller skates and as the long hand, it was her job to go whizzing around pretty fast, counting the minutes. DS was only allowed to move one hour, eg from 3 to 4 in the time it took DD to move (clockwise!) from the 12 around and back again.

I'd call out times, starting with o'clocks and then moving on to 15 minutes past, 20 minutes past etc. Then they'd swop roles and DD would be the hour hand and DS the minute hand (they were both generally keen to be the fast moving one understandably.)

They certainly had fun and did seem to help their understanding. I like the Montessori approach which (I think - not an expert - just had DC at a Montessori school) seems to advocate a multi-sensorial approach where as many senses as possible are involved in learning.

Telling time is a funny old thing with children - some get it right away and other take ages and it doesn't seem to be linked to ability in other skills much!

tethersend Tue 13-Sep-11 23:21:27

It sounds to me as if you need to go back a step and check his grasp of time as a concept.

Write on cards a series of units of time: from 'a second' to 'a century', with hour, day, week, fortnight and year in between. Ask him to put them in order in a long line from the shortest time to the longest time. He may need to revisit this.

Once he has got this, try and explore how many units of time in another unit (minutes in hours etc), then move back to time telling.

RavenVonChaos Tue 13-Sep-11 23:28:46

I think you should take it way back to basics. Forget clocks and gimmicks. Buy him a regular watch with numbers on. Make him wear it all the time. My dd learned age 7 with this method. She used to ask what the time was incessantly. Got her a watch and she just learned. Good luck.

racingheart Tue 13-Sep-11 23:49:51

Wow. Been at work, just got in. Just seen these replies and the brilliant ideas on here. Thanks you. Every idea you've all suggested is really good. I'll try them all and see what sticks! Wordsmith - that sounds great fun. Tethers - you're right. he does have a fairly confused attitude to time. Couldn't see why 24 hr clock was in 60 not 100 minute sections when it came up in maths.

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