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Not sure how best to help yr4 dd2 with her maths but need to because she is unhappy

(12 Posts)
Polgara2 Sun 05-Jul-09 09:22:30

DD2 has always been an 'above average' student according to her end of year results for the first 4 years of school. Noticed last year she had started to get slightly less consistently good test results in maths but just assumed things were getting a bit harder in juniors (and maths has always been her weakest subject). However, she had been doing really badly this year, whenever she has maths assessments she very rarely gets a particularly good result and she is getting very upset by it (they mark them in class so she is comparing herself of course). Also she struggles with her maths homework, generally we have to explain everything again to her and then she can do it. It's as if she has a retention problem - she seems to understand in class when things have been explained but then cannot remember it when she comes back to it iyswim. She gets very frustrated and upset about not being able to do things and is losing confidence in herself sad. I have mentioned it to her teacher before but they just think she is doing ok in class (and she probably is but that is not what I am saying).

Anyway just got her report and she is well above average in English but below average in Maths and she is upset by this (I am not making a big deal of it to her but am concerned).

Don't know where to go from here.

AramintaCane Sun 05-Jul-09 09:54:03

Is she year three or four ? Has she got the basics in place. I have just written about this on the - year one report being a dissapointment thread. I would get a Bond ten minuite maths book for her age and check what is missing by doing one a day over the holiday. If you find that her basic understanding of number is not firmly in place it may be worth playing some games with these as per the other thread but on a higher level. Many schools teach number bonds for ten but then don't show children how this can be used with larger numbers etc. Maths needs practice just like reading so do times tables etc Children of this age need to start spotting multiples of numbers in questions then the answers become more obvious.

Keep telling her girls are good at maths I am amazed by my girls coming home telling me that they have been told girls cannot be good at maths. It really undermines their confidence. I really noticed this from year three onwards. She is obviously a very bright girl the retention thing is just about confidence it will get better.

I also find it helps if you point out types or maths are as different as types of books. She might love reading Harry Potter but hate Captain Underpants. In the same way she might love measuring angles but find percentages a bit tedious.

Sorry to go on maths is my thing ! I would also recommend reading The number devil and other books that are similar. If you combine maths and literacy it can halp.

AramintaCane Sun 05-Jul-09 09:55:07

oh just realised you said she was in year four.

Goblinchild Sun 05-Jul-09 10:04:23

Children this age have to cope with the transition from concrete to abstract, some leap over the divide and some need a lot more support.
The difference between 6x4=24 instantly and having to count on in 4s to get to an answer. or adding two two digit numbers mentally rather than writing it down and partitioning it.
She may still need a lot of practical concrete examples in order to remember.
The teacher should be able to pinpoint exactly what sort of help she needs, go and ask.smile

maria1665 Sun 05-Jul-09 10:22:45

There are quite a few maths based computer games that are fun and quite easy, but useful. We had one about a polar bear - can't remember its name. The BBC website is good for mats based games - useful for making maths fun, boosting confidence and providing a different approach for basic principles.

This is a bit of very old fashioned advice, but going through her times tables with her at night would definitely help her. Its mindless and its boring, but me and my sister were made to do it each night by my mum - chanting each timetable forwards and backwards when we were about 7 or 8. At first we just read them, but soon we knew them off by heart. It gave us such a massive head start - maths is a lot to do with recognising patterns - being able to instantly associate, for instance, the number 42 with 7,6 and therefore 3 gives you a massive headstart.

Chanting times tables is definitely out of fashion as a method of learning. Its a shame.

AramintaCane Sun 05-Jul-09 10:25:08

I agree with maria times tables are essential what a great mum you had.

Polgara2 Sun 05-Jul-09 13:34:11

We do try to get her to learn her times table more - she can do some but not others. But she has sort of got herself into a cycle of not understanding things so not enjoying it so not wanting to do it ad infinitum. Am torn between wanting to help her improve her maths over the holidays and wanting her to have a lovely break from all the stress tbh.

I will look online for maths is fun type things.

Do you really think the retention thing is just practice and confidence? Am worried there is something blocking that she needs support with or something. (I personally find maths hard work so don't really trust my judgement on this, but DH is a whizz and it is usually him that helps her.)

trickerg Sun 05-Jul-09 17:25:54

Ask her teacher.

Polgara2 Sun 05-Jul-09 17:36:38

Well thats the trouble, I have already mentioned it to her teacher and got dismissed really. I don't have a lot of faith in her really. DD2's class are very challenging on the whole and I think individuals get lost in the melee unfortunately.

I will be expressing my concern on the bit of the report I get to send back in so that may be noticed I suppose. I will probably mention it to her teacher again as well. (Feel like writing - 'I told you she was having trouble' next to her results!)

trickerg Sun 05-Jul-09 18:15:43

I do think you need specific advice from the teacher so that you know what area of maths she needs to focus on. For instance, I know that lots of children in Y4 get really confused with decimals and fractions and find it difficult to link them.

trickerg Sun 05-Jul-09 18:17:02

Oh, and if you get a satisfactory answer, make sure you ask how they are taught that particular thing at school!!!

Polgara2 Sun 05-Jul-09 18:34:51

Good points trickerg will try and pin her down to specifics. Am not overly confident though but am sufficiently concerned that they haven't picked up on her struggles themselves that I will persist! Am hoping that her teacher next year will be better - but he is new (haven't even seen him yet) so an unknown quantity. I also have a good relationship with her head if I need to go there.

Thanks everyone for your advice smile

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