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Convinced herself she can't do maths - how do I help her?

(13 Posts)
wishingchair Tue 08-Sep-09 20:46:07

DD1 has just gone into Y2. She is bright, fantastic at reading, creative, good at art, likes writing stories etc. But, she is a big worrier, she is currently distraught that she has had to move up to Y2 and couldn't stay with her Y1 teacher. She is already stressing about moving to the junior school next year. And she seems to have convinced herself she can't do maths (inc telling the time as that also falls into the maths bracket in her mind). I think she now assumes she won't understand it therefore she doesn't understand it.

How can I help her? Are there any good workbooks anyone can recommend that I can work through with her? I really don't want her to get a downer on maths so young!

wishingchair Tue 08-Sep-09 20:48:52

Also, not sure this is relevant, up until very recently, she would often write numbers back to front, despite never doing this with letters. Might be perfectly normal, but then ... (see me clutching at straws to explain PFB's lack of mathematical ability)

Hulababy Tue 08-Sep-09 20:50:26

My DD (7y and just in Y3)is a little like this. Also very good in other areas, and she is actually good at Maths too. But it doesn't come as quickly to her as the reading and writing stuff. So she has no confidence in her own ability and feels she just can't do it.

Over the summer we got some of the Maths workbooks - you get them in most bookshops - and just do 10 minutes every so often. Mainly to prove to her that she can do it. We also do a bit of mental maths stuff int he car every so often, so as confirming her number bonds and times tables.

wishingchair Tue 08-Sep-09 20:53:56

I think you may have hit the nail on the head there hulababy: it doesn't come as quickly and she has to work at it. She's not great at that to be honest.

Have (rashly) promised her I'll teach her how to tell the time tomorrow night but also made her promise she needs to have a positive attitude. Expect tears and tantrums by 5 o'clock (when the big hand is at the 12 and the little hand ...)

imaginaryfriend Tue 08-Sep-09 21:25:47

Well, you've described my dd perfectly! She's also just started in Y2 and finds maths very hard. She's also a brilliant reader and has lovely handwriting and art skills and a wonderful imagination.

Funnily enough I tried to teach her how to tell the time at the weekend and it was a bit of a disaster. I was just aiming at on the hour, on the half hour, quarter to and quarter past. She'd keep seeming to get it and then it would turn out she hadn't! She's pretty good with addition, can count well forwards and backwards in 2s, 5s and 10s, but finds subtraction and number problems really hard. It's not intuitive to her and she's a very intuitive child by nature.

I don't know how your school organises the class groups but dd is on the 'top' table again as she was in Y1 and I think the maths they are given on that table is too advanced for her which doesn't help her confidence. In Y1 I asked for her to do maths at a 'lower' table and she got on much better. I think the new teacher has different groups for literacy and numeracy so hopefully it should sort itself out.

I just think you can't be good at everything, so long as she keeps on top of the basic principles I'm trying to get her to relax about it.

wishingchair Wed 09-Sep-09 18:37:15

Yes exactly! She's just like that, can count forwards and backwards in 2s, 5s and 10s but just doesn't seem to 'get' the rest of it.

Spotted a brilliant clock in Sainsburys today ... perfect for learning how to tell the time. Just had a look at it with her. She gets o'clock and half past. But then I move it to quarter past 5 say and she'll say something random like 1 minute past 12.

She's also on the top table. I spoke with her teacher today and she said that when she stood next to her she could do it, but when she moved away, she couldn't. Seems she has a lack of confidence. Will see how she gets on and suggest moving tables for maths if need be (she was v.upset because her friend said it was 'peasy' but she found it really hard).

souvenir Wed 09-Sep-09 21:22:50

Message withdrawn

LalalaNotlistening Wed 09-Sep-09 22:36:55

I have a DS now in year 6 and on track for a good level but he still finds maths a struggle .At end of year 2 he was way below the average level so don`t despair ! Maths just didn`t `click ` for him until juniors . Time is so confusing for kids to learn too .I work in the upper juniors and some kids are still struggling .

I work on time with my DD ( YR 2 ) by sticking to one time ie just doing quarter past again and again and again but it`s slow progress yet she is top set for maths .
Time is just eluding her though . I have paper clocks where she can move the hands around and use the 5x table to help her . So confusing for them - there I am telling her the 1 means 5 past, the 2 means 10 past etc .

Pyrocanthus Wed 09-Sep-09 23:04:55

I have a year 5 DD2 who is a bit like this. I think a lot of the problem is that literacy comes much more easily to her, so she thinks her maths is poor. Her teacher assessed her at a respectable level for maths last term though, so it's more of a confidence than an attainment problem.

We're doing a little extra work with her on mental maths and problem areas. I think she's a little like me in that she's a bit slow to pick up new concepts in maths, but with time and practice, she gets there in the end. My DD quite liked workbooks at that age as long as there were lots of stickers involved. Have a look in Smiths. There might be some exercises on the BBC website that might appeal to her too. Be very cool and lighthearted about anything you do, though, as she's very young and there's a fine line between doing a little extra to boost confidence and putting them off altogether.

I wouldn't worry too much about the time yet: DD2 has been very slow to learn this compared with her older sister, who picked it up without effort in year 2, and she's only really got the hang of it this summer, when it just fell into place for her.

HelenaBonhamCarter Thu 10-Sep-09 07:07:03

Not sure if it will help, but over the summer we had to try and instill number bonds up to 20. Ds is just 6 btw.

I got is magentic board and stuck a line of tiles down the middle, cutting it in half with a 'gate' and put 20 marbles on it. We pretended they were sheep changing their minds about which side to be on and he got the hang of it quite soon that every combo I asked him the answer was 20!

He found it very silly and fun, but that is my onl;y success to date. Just wanted to share my ONLY good idea about KS1 maths! smile

admylin Thu 10-Sep-09 08:43:14

There are also some really good websites out there which make maths fun.

We use this website alot as you get these really calm voices explaining and showing how to do certain math techniques which goes down better than me trying to explain it. The dc somehow don't think I'm telling the truth when I explain, they look at me as if I'm mad hmm

Summersoon Thu 10-Sep-09 08:47:21

Not sure if I can offer advice but you all have my sympathy and - perhaps this will cheer you up - I have a DD who was exactly like that until the beginning of Year 6 - we were tearing our hair out and then, suddenly, in the course of year 6, she clicked, just in time for the entrance exams!! So don't lose hope! You do need a very good maths teacher, though, which we were lucky enough to have.

Scarletibis Thu 10-Sep-09 10:25:50

No real advice but dd1 is a bit like this. Not that she worries, but i don't think it comes as naturally as reading/writing/art. (She also does some numbers back to front as well, think it's quite common)

Also I was like this in primary school.

I can remember staring at a laminated worksheet with a load of coins I was supposed to add up for what seemed like all morning. It seemed at the time like the rest of the class could do it and I couldn't - don't know why the teacher wasn't helping ??hmm.

But maths really clicked with me in 2ndry - the teaching seemed clearer which gave me confidence - eventually got a decent A level grade.

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