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My son has maths anxiety

(5 Posts)
noplacelikehomedorothy Wed 08-Jan-14 08:32:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

noplacelikehomedorothy Wed 08-Jan-14 08:33:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PastSellByDate Thu 09-Jan-14 09:16:56

Hi Noplace:

I so sympathize with your DS - it can be really daunting to be asked a question in front of everyone and if you're worrying about it in the first place it kind of becomes your worst nightmare.

I suspect that the problem isn't really the maths - but 'in class' confidence.

Two ideas occur:

1) if the maths comes more easily he'll be more likely to be accurate and get the answer right when put on the spot. So practice can really help improve speed & ease of calculations.

If you haven't visited have a look at Woodlands Junior School Maths Zone - you can literally go to the section with whatever topic you're working on and there are links to all sorts of games for practice. Link here:

Mumsnet learning had a link to Maths Champs - which is a series of video games (again all free) which gives practice in maths concepts. It is set up by age - which can mean things like times tables are split up - but take the attitude the practice is important and ignore the 'age ratings' of the games. Link here:

My DDs also like the games on (

For specific practice on times tables that is tailored to start where your child is at - have a look at Timez Attack. There's a minimal free version you can download or you can pay for versions with more complicated platforms. Personally, we found the free version was fine. Your cast as a little ogre and you race around solving multiplication problems which are presented both as multiple additions (by gathering up snails and then throwing them against a wall - they aren't hurt in the process) and then as a traditional vertical multiplication problem. Every now and then a medium-sized ogre quizzes you on a few problems and after a while a large ogre comes out and reviews all the mutliplication tables you've been learning. Link here:

It can be a bit stressful - but both my DDs have been so caught up in playing that they haven't realised they're doing all sorts of practicing of times tables and really improving on their speed of recall of these facts. There also is a division version (so testing inverse multiplication skills - i.e. 42 divided by 7 is ????) you can move on to afterwards.

2) So aside from more practice at home to improve skills/ ability - I'd also approach the teacher and explain that it's not just confidence in maths skills it is about the anxiety of being put on the spot. Perhaps by reducing the risk (maybe intentionally not calling on him out of the blue but picking him when he offers to answer) for a while - it may help him get more used to answering in class.

To be fair to the teacher the only way she can find out whether your son knows how to do something is to ask him. Questioning him, and doing it in front of other children, really is hard to avoid. So, the problem here is about getting him more willing to participate in this process and less worried about getting the answer wrong.

I know it can be awkward talking to a teacher and explaining he or she's stressing out your kid - but try to make it about explaining what your DS is saying to you about feeling all 'crunched up' in his chair for these Maths Q&A sessions and ask if she has any ideas how that can be helped. It will make it her decision and her lead giving her the power to do it differently, rather than just a complaint.


SwimmingMom Mon 20-Jan-14 11:55:36

I would try doing loads of work at home - workbooks & games (as PP has done). Little work but everyday.

Sometimes it's more about confidence than ability. If you support his ability at home (and this will take a lot of your time & for many months), it will be a game changer for him.

Good luck.

flamingtoaster Mon 20-Jan-14 12:43:09

You've had some great advice already - with links to some resources I was going to quote. I've managed to get three children of different friends out of maths anxiety. The first thing I did was to make sure that they could produce instant, accurate answers to all number bond and multiplication questions. It is impossible to do fractions etc. if e.g. you don't instantly know there are four sevens in twenty-eight. Once they had that I found that all three of them could start to "see" how to do fractions etc. and the anxiety vastly reduced. The more secure and speedy your DS's recall of these facts the more likely he will produce the right answer even when asked in class. Playing computer games is a great way for them to practice. I am glad that your DS thinks the tutor has taught him some "cool stuff" - that is a great way to start restoring his confidence.

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