Moving on in Maths
From about age 7 I tend to use a basic textbook/workbook series (this is the only subject in which I rely on a textbook from such an early age: it’s just a subject in which you want to make sure there are no gaps in knowledge since every topic builds on another). I would still take things very slowly – never rushing a child to move on before he’s really grasped a concept/operation: that is more important than keeping strictly to a schedule at this age. Lots of children struggle with Maths in secondary school because in earlier years, the class moved on before they had really mastered a topic. If you take your time now and lay really solid foundations, even if you fall a bit behind schedule, your child will catch up easily later on as long as the basics are firmly in place. On the other hand, if your child shows a good capacity for Maths, why hold him/her back? As home-educators, one of our greatest advantages is to go at the child’s pace, whether this means he is a little behind or a little ahead. You do not have to stick strictly to a schedule and if you do hold a bright child back repeating work which is no longer challenging, he/she is likely to get very bored. Many children who are slow at literacy work seem very quick with Maths (and sometimes the reverse is true: the key is to go at the child’s pace, keeping things challenging enough but not impossible). You can easily find yourself at different levels in different subjects, but that is fine at this stage.
In terms of resources, I use a basic set of the old 1990’s Oxford Mastermaths series which I picked up free somewhere and which are available second hand (the new ones do not appeal to us at all – lots of bright colours and fewer sums – and of course the older editions are usually much cheaper than the new ones). I know families who use the Heinemann books and are happy with them, but I have no personal experience of them. Galore Park of course offer Maths books for primary but they are, as ever, expensive and in this case (unlike Latin and Greek books) I think that what Galore Park offers in Maths can be obtained elsewhere for a fraction of the price, if not free of charge. If you are using MEP Maths and are happy with it, you need to just carry on with that through this stage. Here are the objective lists for Year 3, age 7-8; Year 4 age 8-9; Year 5 age 9-10; Year 6 age 10-11. I haven’t compared the two closely but I would say that these standards are above those of the National Curriculum. If your child could do all this by the end of primary, he/she would have a considerable advantage in beginning any secondary school curriculum.
7-10 Maths curriculum of choice covering KS2 Facts practice
Maths-U-See programme, Alpha, Beta and Gamma (Choose level depending on ability) 1 lesson per week and worksheets, uses manipulatives and song CD. Edit use of worksheets depending on understanding of subject and mastery.
Start the week with DVD lesson, then use manipulatives and sheets to review through the week, use the blackboard to work out other problems. For fun use ‘shut the box’, extra test sheets, colour clock, polydrons, Cuisenaire rods, Khan Academy.