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Is my daughter's future dammed? (Maths)

(14 Posts)
TheNewWitchOfSWL Fri 05-Dec-14 22:33:34

My 7 year old in Y3 is struggling. She is dyslexic and doesn't read for pleasure. We (school and I) have been working hard on reading which now is just fine although spelling is still an issue. Maths has been a big problem. I have numicon, I am forever doing maths with her and I have just finally managed to sigh up with MathsFactor (my broadband was terrible before and we couldn't watch the videos)…she is still working on addition (add 2 to a number) and she struggles. Forget about times table, she can't get it. Not even what is any given number times 1…she can't get numbers. I recently had a brief meeting with her teacher and and the suggestion was more support at home and they gave me a lot of material for her to complete…she does so many other extra curricular activities which she is actually good at, so I don't want to pull her so she can study at home instead...and all the maths are taking up space of the literacy. I let her play and relax after school when she doesn't have an extra activity, but I always make sure she works on numeracy or literacy before bedtime and she has a early bed time and she needs lots of sleep and struggles waking up even when goes to bed at 8pm.

I know I need to talk to the teacher and SENCO again, I just don't want to be a PITA.

I probably need to organise myself more too and push harder, but she just gets so frustrated and angry with herself and when she has a bad day at school for whatever reason, the last thing she wants is to do any work.


nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 05-Dec-14 23:11:22

who cares if the SENCO thinks you are a pain, you are her mum, you can see there is a problem and you want them to help sort it out. Have they looked at dyscalculia as a possibility? certainly worth considering I think if she is struggling so much and is already identified as dyslexic.

I agree with you, don't stop her doing things she wants to do and does well just to do extra maths.

Ferguson Fri 05-Dec-14 23:40:21

Yes - this tough for you both. What other activities does she do? Music is good (keyboard, or recorder) as music has an element of 'numbers' in it.

I was a primary TA / helper for over twenty years, and understanding Number concepts can be hard for some children. Is the Numicon helping at all? I'll give you my standard Numeracy advice, and also suggest, whenever possible, USE numbers for some practical purpose, money, cooking, etc.

By Yr3 she should have tried to do some data collection, and producing graphs or charts. This might give a purpose to the numbers. So, if she is confident enough, she could 'interview' friends and ask for their favourite food; TV show; pop star; people's eye colour or hair colour. Then 'tally' the numbers and produces a chart from 'most popular' to 'least popular'. She can colour the chart to make it look informative and 'artistic'.

Numeracy Information:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other


then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


teeththief Fri 05-Dec-14 23:53:43

Take all the above advice on board. But, I have a friend who's daughter is going to university next year (already has a place but taking a year out). She has failed her maths GCSE FIVE times!! She just does not get maths but she has shown herself to be capable in all areas needed to do the course she wants to do. Don't stress is my advice x

fuzzpig Fri 05-Dec-14 23:56:59

I am worrying about my DD too, also yr3. About to go to bed now but signing in to come back another time! You definitely aren't alone!

TheNewWitchOfSWL Sat 06-Dec-14 00:02:52

Yes she does a brass instrument, singing, swimming, drama and brownies. She also has a keyboard at home and she plays a lot with it. She has a guitar but not interested. She plays recorder at school and is good with gymnastic and football. Is always praised for her art and poetry, imagination etc.
She mainly uses numicon for homework which helps, she is visual. We use counters, blocks etc but she doesn't like coking and measuring. She can't get number bonds. Will struggle if asked what is 3+2.
In fact, she confuses the sign plus with times. Not only when reading or writing it but also when we ask. Sometimes I ask her a multiplication and she will give me an addition answer and vice and versa.
Also I wonder if she has auditory process disorder. She sometimes asks me a question, I answer and she asks the same question straight away even though she was looking at me and listening. The teacher suggested getting her hearing checked…

TheNewWitchOfSWL Sat 06-Dec-14 00:08:42

I worry because her confidence is becoming very low and this affects behaviour.. There are kids from reception doing higher maths than she does and she knows it.

Also I worry about the teachers and other members of the staff being mean and not understand her difficulties or think she is stupid (but it is probably me being U and silly, isn' it?) I have no reason to suspect this, but I wish she could have some recognition on her qualities...she does work very hard, she just can't retain as much.

TheNewWitchOfSWL Sat 06-Dec-14 00:09:31

teeththief do you mind me asking what course your daughter's friend have chosen?

whatsagoodusername Sat 06-Dec-14 00:34:24

Be a PITA, because your dd needs help to find the method that works for her (there will be one!), but try not to stress out about it too much.

JustRichmal Sat 06-Dec-14 08:53:17

I agree with Ferguson, particularly using Lego bricks. The more like a game you can make maths, the easier the child will learn.

Also, it may be that your dd is getting too tires in the evening. Could you find ten minutes in the morning instead? or 15 mins here and there over the weekend or on some days of the holidays?

It may be she has picked up on the idea that she can't do maths and so starts it with an anxiety of not understanding it again. Take a few steps back until you find something she can do and build from there. If you introduce something that she is struggling with, reassure her that it is difficult for anyone to understand and so you are just telling her about it. If you then give time for the ideas to sink in by doing something else, when she returns to it later it will be easier for her.

No child gets everything in maths straight away so it does not matter how many times she takes to understand it. Get her to indicate with her thumb how well she has understood something, so next time you go through it she can see there has been some progress. She will also get the message that you are not expecting her to understand completely.

Lastly, give her the time to work things out. It is so tempting to jump in and give the answer or tell her how to work the problem out, but try to support by sitting quietly and giving her time to think, with a few hints and clues where she is really stuck.

fuzzpig Sat 06-Dec-14 09:17:38

One thing that's really motivated DD is counting her pocket money - she's just saved up for something and counting it out has been really helpful for adding/multiplying and counting in tens/fives etc

taeglas Sat 06-Dec-14 12:45:40

I second what nonicknameseemsavailable about looking into the possibility of Dyscalculia. I am a teaching assistant. I am currently helping a friend's child in year 3 who is struggling with maths.

This you tube video by Ronit Bird author of the Dyscalculia Toolkit gives some information about Dyscalculia and some good advice on supporting children who find maths difficult.
Also further information here from the British Dyslexia Association.

Op you mentioned a possibility of auditory processing difficulty. I would certainly encourage you to have this tested.
My son who is autistic has difficulty with auditory instructions and is now in secondary. Instructions to his teachers on how to support him with this is on his pupil passport (IEP). He no longer gets in trouble for not doing homework not recorded in his planner as teachers are supposed to check that he has recorded his homework.

The following link might be useful to help a child with auditory processing difficulties. The resources are aimed at younger children but could be adapted to an older child's interest.
The focus is on information carrying words.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 06-Dec-14 19:23:03

Has she been assessed by an Ed Psych at all because I think she might need to be.

There could be a number of things that are causing her issues with maths and dyscalculia, auditory processing or visual processing issues might all be possibilities.

If she's getting frustrated and angry with herself, then I think you are right not to push too hard for now. The last thing you want is to create a bigger issue. For now I would keep it short, regular, and very practical with lots of praise for effort rather than achievement. And talk to the SENCO.

RiversideMum Sun 07-Dec-14 07:13:08

If she is better with visual clues, could you use colour coding for your maths operation signs?

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