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Getting DS to like maths

(18 Posts)
squashpie Fri 02-Oct-09 13:15:34

My DS told me this morning on the way to school that he HATED maths (he's in year 1). His teacher says he's middle of the class but his two good friends are both excellent at it (one is doing kumon the other has a tutor ...)and it obviously makes him feel bad. He's very good at reading, which I feel I can help him with because it's one of my strengths but I'm a dunce at maths - I struggle to add up - and so I've not done any at all with him. DH does some if there's time at the weekend, but it doesn't amount to very much. I don't want my phobia to rub off on him and I want him to have confidence in himself and his abilities. he's a great boy.

I don't think Kumon would suit him, though i don't have any particular bias against it, but I'm wondering about a tutor. I know some people on here would be up in arms about that, but it actually makes him feel bad to be middling at maths and I want him to feel good about himself. Have other people had tutors for their children. Any advice gratefull received. Sorry = too long a message!

thedolly Fri 02-Oct-09 13:22:25

I don't have any experience of tutors but if you can find the right one who is prepared to make it fun for him then I say go for it. You could be there whilst he has his 'lesson' quietly observing and taking notes, that way you will be able to help him get the most from it and perhaps give your confidence a boost and overcome your phobia. Good value for money I say. smile

ChipButty Fri 02-Oct-09 13:35:35

Your first job should be to speak to the teacher to see if he/she can offer you any advice. A lot of schools run short courses for parents who want to help their children enjoy maths. Personally, I think it's too early for a tutor (I am a primary school teacher myself). The other things I would suggest would be to show your child how useful maths is in everyday life - counting out the apples at the greengrocer; working out change; following a recipe and baking etc., There are also plenty of websites with good maths games that you and your child can play together (try as a start). Best of luck!

Toffeepopple Fri 02-Oct-09 13:39:56

My son loves Mathletics - worth a look?

MrsMagnolia Fri 02-Oct-09 14:03:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Avendesora Fri 02-Oct-09 14:39:33

Are you me? I read this thread with interest. I am planning to get some board games to help so I dont feel like its maths. I also dont want to pass on my phobic attitude.

Any suggestions for board games for a Y1 child to help with maths?

squashpie Fri 02-Oct-09 18:51:00

Thank you for all your replies. I've tried the maths in real life and my DS just sighs and says he 'doesn't want to', ie he's cottoned on to what I'm trying to do and he's not GONNA PLAY smile

I'd also be interested if anyone recommends board games. I've looked at the mathletics website and it looks excellent.

Thinking it through, I'm wondering whether it might be better if I get tutoring! That way, I'll cure my phobia AND can help my DS in the same way that I help him with reading, which somehow seems less pressured and hot-housey. Wonder if anyone would tutor a grown-up?!!

ChipButty Sat 03-Oct-09 08:23:21

Enquire at your local college. There are often FREE courses for people lacking confidence in maths. Good luck x

trickerg Sat 03-Oct-09 12:35:30

There are courses which support parents who want to help their children with maths (specifically about how maths is taught in schools/what to do to help). A couple of parents went on one of these last year and found it helpful and interesting. You will probably be able to find out about them by asking for the phone number of your local extended services advisor from school.

There are a few disadvantages about 1:1 tutoring at this stage:
1. You say your child hates maths - why then send him to a 1:1 MATHS lesson in his free time? It sounds like a punishment sad , particularly as he refuses to do take part in any mathematical activity with you!
2. Your 5 year-old child will have to concentrate hard in 1:1 tutoring. Why inflict this on him?
3. Maths at school should be fun and participatory - not really something that can be achieved in 1:1 tutoring.
4. Tutors often teach different methods to schools, and totally confuse the children.

Go and see the teacher. She might be experiencing something totally different at school - he might just be putting his foot down at home. In fact, in Y1, I bet he doesn't even realise he's doing maths half the time!

LIZS Sat 03-Oct-09 12:48:11

I think you have to accept that some don't like maths and almost give them permission not to as long as they do as well as they can. It is hard if they are good at one thing as they expect to find everything else as easy and it is important to emphasise that few children do. That in itself might help him relax and learn better.

Online stuff and using objects to visualise number problems may help and there are some great games by Orchard Toys (Pop to the shops, Magic Cauldron and so on) and Ravensburger, also "Shut the Box", where they can practice the skills without realising.

squashpie Mon 05-Oct-09 14:33:50

Thanks so much for your very sensible replies. I HATED the idea of tutor etc but also felt desperate to help him in some way. I've now ordered those games from Amazon and will ask around about tutors who know the primary curriculum but who are willing to tutor someone who is middle-aged! The courses suggested sound good but I have a two year old, not yet at nursery, and leaving them would be difficult.

Thanks again for your support! smile

MrsPumphrey Mon 05-Oct-09 19:38:21

Rush Hour Junior is a great maths game
we love it!

franklymydear Mon 05-Oct-09 19:40:19

online maths games - bbc site

noideawhereIamgoing Tue 06-Oct-09 12:16:26

He needs to become familiar with numbers, not just addition & subtraction. Have you tried baking his favourite cookies/cake with him. Use ounces rather than grams to get to grips with smaller numbers. Set the oven temp, measure liquids, ask how much more do we need to add to make up the correct weight. Get him to set the washing machine, setting temp, measuring washing liquid.
Use the remote control to choose the cbeebies channel, read the weight on packets of food/sweets. Do kiddie science experiments - with lots of measuring. Give him a tape measure and get him to measure your windows/door/skirting boards/toys etc for some imaginary important purpose. Spot shapes when your out n about. The games mentioned above really do help too - Magic Caudron, 2 dice thrown together - write down the number sentences...We also used workbooks, educationcity & Cbeebies - Numberjacks. When he is solving a problem ask him to explain how he is doing it when he is both right & wrong - it can be very revealing to understand their mathmatical thinking - ask them what other methods they could use to solve the problem.

Basically I was stuck in your situation last year and I did little till March - dd was too tired, by that time her Maths confidence was rock bottom. I did a fun Maths activity daily for 6 months, I tried to vary the activity and listen and react when she said she didn't like an activity and the result is amazing - she now both enjoys Maths and understands it.

Trouble is I'm too scared to stop now because for whatever reason the way they presented Maths at school never made sense to her, maybe the pace was too quick or she was too scared to ask when she didn't understand something, maybe she just didn't listen properly - who knows.

AtheneNoctua Tue 06-Oct-09 13:50:00

I think tutor/Kumon/etc is great for year 1. DD started Kumon in year 1. Now, in year 2, she is doing really well in math. She is naturally good (but not excellent) at math. and Kumon has given her that extra edge and really boosted her confidence. She is under no illusion that math is easy. Rewards come to her because she has worked for them. And that in itself is something she can feel good about.

If you signed your DS up for Kumon, is this something he could do with his friend? That might encourage him to like it. To be honest, if you don't like math yourself, you are probably not the person to show him what fun it can be.

trickerg Tue 06-Oct-09 20:20:45

We're talking about a boy who hates maths and is either 5 or 6 years of age! sad

Please Squashpie, don't make him do more maths in the evening....please.......

He's got another 12 years of education left. I feel so sorry for these little children who are dragged to tutoring, etc, after a busy, tiring day at school. They need time to chill, to play and to be themselves. Much too young for academic evening classes.

AtheneNoctua Tue 06-Oct-09 20:28:42

WE do Kumon for 10 minutes after breakfast. If it takes longer than 10 minutes, we stop and note the time on the workbook. The whole idea of Kumon is that you do little bits every day and never drill in a long study session.

I'm just saying that if you don't he will always be behind his mates, and how will that make him feel?

If your son really hates math, however, maybe there is another subject he should persue. This is just my opinion. But I believe everyone is good at something. And that children should be encouraged in the thing they are good at.

DD is okay at reading. She does ookay, but she doesn't love it. So I let her be on that subject. But, she's good at math so I encourage her to do a little bit often.

But, of course, don't force him into something he hates. He'll only hate it more.

squashpie Fri 09-Oct-09 13:06:43

I think it's often horses for courses and I think also that girls are probably more likely to sit down and work at something whereas boys, ime, need a lot of incentives. I think I would run out of incentives very quickly if we did Kumon etc.!

We've signed up to mathletics which he's very excited about, having had a quick look at it last night and orderd those board games. Also, he came home the other night, desperate to tell me that 2 5s made 10 and 2 4s made 8 and 2 10s made 20 and when I praised how good he was with numbers, he seemed so self-consciously pleased, it was lovely to see. So, hopefully, he'll see some relevance to numbers in his life and that they can be fun.

You never know, they might have the same effect on me after a couple of rounds of Magic Cauldron ...! grin

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