N does enjoy school, although he would prefer to be at ‘farming school’ with his dad. Reading and writing are the areas he has to work at more although he is coming round to it. He’s a much more practical learner, so maths is much more his thing with the more experimental and practical learning they do.
I’m really pleased he’s found something at school that he finds quite easy, so hopefully once things get harder in year 2 he’ll still be able to cope. At the moment they’re doing a real mix through the year, focusing each week on a different maths topic and then returning to it the following term to repeat and progress on to the next level. So they’ve done learning to tell the time (o’clocks and half pasts), halves and quarters, measuring volumes, simple multiplication and graphs, tallies and pictograms. I think it’s been better at keeping N’s interest in different topics rather than just going over the same section of maths over and over again.
Maths seems to be one area that the OH will also help N with. When they’re out on the farm, they’ll often talk numbers, especially when drilling seed or checking the computers on the tractor. Anything that involves numbers, the OH will test N on. I don’t think N’s a maths whizz, he just likes them and is more comfortable with those than reading and writing. I was a bit surprised a few months ago to challenge N to count back from 20 to 1, when he decided that was too easy and he’d count back in 5s from 100! Not what I was expecting from him.
Apart from homework that’s set, we don’t do any specific work with N at home. If he wants to do ‘school’ work, then he’ll choose to look at books, or write or look at numbers and help me weigh ingredients himself. I remember when I was a bit older, my mum used to set me extra maths at home because she thought my teachers were rubbish and that I wasn’t being stretched. But I think that will turn N off especially this young.
But I have bought for him packs of gold star work books – covering key stage 1 or just flashcards of number puzzles if I’ve seen them in the shops. Anything that he might find fun to do without it being too much like school work. Needless to say, the work books have been got out a couple of times, but getting him to do anything regularly isn’t going to happen.
What I did see that I liked was a whole lot of reminder sheets at my friend’s house on their walls and doors, to help their daughter (mostly maths). Her theory was if she was anything like her mum, she was going to need all the help and prompts she could get with maths. But some of the cheat sheets and reminders were a great idea – let’s face it, what else are children going to do while on the toilet! You may as well stick some sheets up. (I’m not sure the OH will be impressed though).
So I’ve created some maths printables. These are perfect for key stage 1 children, or those who need a prompt with their multiplication. People might say that kids learn more from practical learning, but we learnt times tables by repetition so every little idea and prompt helps them sink in.
The first worksheet is for number bonds, looking at ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.
The second is basic multiplication tables
And the third is a times table matrix. With this, you can follow the rows across and the square where it crosses with the vertical columns, is the answer to the horizontal number x the vertical one.
I’d recommend either printing off and laminating them, or popping each one inside a clear plastic pocket, then you can just change the sheets over for something else once your children are ready to move to something else. To download them, just click on the image, then right click and download.
How do your children find learning maths? What tools do you have to help them?