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Should we ask ds' teacher for extra work?

(25 Posts)
bunjies Tue 28-Jun-11 12:57:08

We recently moved back to the UK from France and our 3 dcs started at their new schools last week.

DS(12) is very good at Maths and achieved consistently high marks for it in his old school. He has been placed in the bottom set in his new school to assess his level but he seems to be having trouble understanding some of the concepts that the class have already been taught as they are not being explained to him and he is too shy to ask. The school are not giving much in the way of homework and he has not been given any work to catch up. As there are still 5 weeks left of term would it be appropriate to ask his Maths teacher to give him some work sheets to work on during this time? I am going to buy a workbook (would he be KS3?) but I think his teacher is making some assumptions about his knowledge that may hold him back.

What would you advise?

seeker Tue 28-Jun-11 12:59:54

I wouldn;t necessarily ask for work, but I woud certainly go and talk to the teacher and discuss the way forward. How are his other subjects?

bunjies Tue 28-Jun-11 16:16:36

Thanks seeker. It's difficult to assess the other subjects as they vary so much from the French, i.e. French History relates to France, French language etc. It's only in Maths we can make a direct comparison as the concepts are the same (although some of the conventions are different). In France his best subjects were Maths, English (natch!) and French. BTW he is English and his first language is English.

I did say to dh that we should discuss this with the teachers first but I wanted to do something in the meantime. We're most concerned about the Maths as he really was so good at it and it would be such a shame if he fell behind purely.

Can anyone recommend any good workbooks?

nickelbabe Tue 28-Jun-11 16:18:56

the CGP ones are good.
(they've got a website)

I don't like the idea that they're not even giving him worksheets based on concepts they already know - it might be that he does know them, but they might be called a different name?

CairyHunt Tue 28-Jun-11 16:21:51

provide your own extra work for him, if you think he needs it. It is easily done. Millions of worksheets and websites with free stuff on the internet.
If you have access to google and a printer you are laughing.

bunjies Tue 28-Jun-11 16:39:41

Thanks nickelbabe - I'll check them out.

The example that caused the issue in the first place was the BODMAS concept. He hasn't been taught this in France and couldn't get his head around it as the principle hadn't been explained to him in class. We tried to explain it to him but we started getting confused ourselves blush and decided it would be better to get some advice.

Do the worksheets/workbooks provide explanations of the concepts or are they just questions? Also, as there is such a wide variety available on the internet it would be good to have some recommenations for particularly useful resources.

nickelbabe Tue 28-Jun-11 16:55:26

well, I never learned that as BODMAS (just had to google to make sure I thought it was what i thought it was!)

can't even remember what we called it! but it was learned by rote, so i bet he's learned it along the way without realising it. smile

I'm pretty sure the workbooks are just questions, but there are revision boosk that go alongside that explain the concepts.

CGP's website is : here

(i've put it on the KS3 page for easy reference )

nickelbabe Tue 28-Jun-11 16:56:08

(if you keep clicking, it's got sample pages too)

crazycarol Tue 28-Jun-11 17:58:44

Never heard of BODMAS concept, but having googled it, yes I know the principle but not "taught" as such. I am sure he knows this but it just doesn't have the name.
(A maths graduate)

Goblinchild Tue 28-Jun-11 18:07:52

Agree that the CGP books are very good. BBCbitesize was helpful for my son.

rosar Tue 28-Jun-11 18:52:10

Thinking of a link on MN which showed why by age 5, American children are a year behind Chinese speakers because the English numbering system has eleven, twelve, teens, thir/fifty which means we have to decode much more than those taught in Chinese who have a completely regular counting system.

Could it be the French numbering system makes them struggle more? Not only do they have eleven, etc, they have sixty-ten instead of seventy, four-twenty instead of eighty, four-twenty-ten instead of ninety, which may make French medium classes ponder over Maths more than English ones. And possibly that at that age French schools are still 'catching up'? I can't help thinking it may all even out before long, especially since they are back in UK schools.

<<French parents with Maths geniuses will doubtlessly be able to explain how sixty-ten, four-twenty, four-twenty-ten are better than seventy, eighty and ninety...>>

bunjies Wed 29-Jun-11 13:53:19

Gosh, thanks for all the new repies. I only seem to be able to read MN when at work, just too much to do at home <oh the irony>.

I do remember learning the BODMAS thing <old gimmer emoticon> but for the life of me couldn't actually relate it to the example ds showed me which was:

10 + 5 x 3 - (9 x 5) = ?

I reckoned the answer was 0 but ds said it was -25 confused.

So, who's right?

Bluebell99 Wed 29-Jun-11 13:59:51

I haven't heard of BODMAS but surely
25-45= -20
will google BODMAS now!

Bluebell99 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:02:58

I read it as 10 + (5x3) - (9x5) = 10 + 15 - 45 = 25 - 45 = -20

rosar Wed 29-Jun-11 14:05:39


Bluebell99 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:05:59

Just found this, which seems to explain it pretty well

nickelbabe Wed 29-Jun-11 14:51:39

you do the brackets first.
where there are no brakcets, you multiply (or divide) first.

so you would do:

9x5 = 45 first.
then you would do 5x3 = 15

then add the parts all together.
so now you have
10 + 15 - 45 = -20

nickelbabe Wed 29-Jun-11 14:52:37

after a while, you start to see the 5x3 equations as one "word"

jgbmum Wed 29-Jun-11 20:06:51

By us BODMAS is taught in primary school, DD is Y5 and they covered it last autumn, including learning the BODMAS song (dont ask, I think you can find it on youtube)
It might be worth checking with the school to see if they have a school subscription to maths websites eg MyMaths which covers all the key stages, so he could go back to earlier topics iyswim.

sillybillies Thu 30-Jun-11 09:09:27

I'd make an appointment to see the head of maths or his maths teacher and ask to see their outline of schemes of work. I would see if you could review what he's learnt in France and what they've already covered in his current school to find if there are gaps and use the holidays to plug those gaps.

You might find next term he's suddenly ahead as he's covered next term's work already. I'm sure the maths department would be more than happy to help and if you're really lucky they may lend you books etc for the summer. Now's a good time to go into schools as all the exams are over so its a more quiet time of year for us in secondary.

I always think progress is maths is so dependent on confidence that ensuring your DS doesn't think he is behind is very important.

bunjies Thu 30-Jun-11 10:27:03

Thank you all for the advice/replies. Just realised that the answer I attributed to ds was wrong. He actually got it right! God, I am so rubbish sometimes.

Will be attempting to speak to school today and getting hold of some schemes of work. That's a really good idea about the websites so will ask about that too.

seeker Thu 30-Jun-11 10:51:44

Oh, and this might seem trivial, but make sure that the teacher and his classmates recognizes how he writes his numbers.
My niece went to an English school from Spain in year 5 and there was a real problem because the way she wrote 1 looked, to English eyes, like a 7. Made peer marking a bit difficult!

mummytime Thu 30-Jun-11 10:51:56

I also wouldn't accept them just putting him in the bottom set until they have assessed him, in some schools it can be hard to move sets. If he is struggling, ask about some extra tuition, there may even be some free from the school or one of the teachers might be willing to give some extra time.

cat64 Fri 01-Jul-11 00:35:08

Message withdrawn

bunjies Fri 01-Jul-11 09:42:13

Good advice all. Thank you.

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