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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:42 am
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Hi All

I want book recommendations for summer maths work for an 8 year old an 11 year old.

I plan to get them to do a little (probably 20 mins. 2-3 times a week) over the summer holiday so their brains don't fall asleep over the long holiday. This will be in addition to a story a week. Is this too much / little?

The 11 year old starts GS in September and I really want to make sure his brain doesn't need a jump start as it's a very selective school and he was lucky to get through the wait list. They will be using Essential Mathematics at the GS book 8 after Xmas, so was thinking of getting book 7 for him and the year 3 book from the same series for the 8 year old. I'm not looking to introduce new concepts just reinforce what they would or should have already learned.

Any recommendations of books or websites or approval of the books I was considering would be greatly appreciated as this will be the first time I will be getting them to do some work over the long break.

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:05 am 
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Sorry I don't know the Essential Mathematics series - what's the publisher, and is it Essential Maths? Getting the book before the one the grammar will do does sound like a logical step. It's hard choosing maths text books as it doesn't so much depend which year a child is in but what NC levels they have achieved and are next aiming for. I also notice that different series seem to interpret the National Curriculum differently. e.g. Rigby Rising Stars what you need to get a Level 4 looks pretty much the same material that Target Maths and Level Up say you need for Level 3.

Working through a year 3 book with a year 3 child might not work well if the book is aiming at national expectations for a year 3 child ( 3c by the end of the year), and the child was already 3c at the start of the year - you might just bore them silly. So you've got to have a rough feel what the book is aiming at, or have a few books ready so that if some exercises on some topics are too easy or too hard you've got a different book to dip into for material for that topic.

With the year 3 child I'd be inclined to go to the bookshop with them and choose something that appeals (and is also of the right sort of level). If your school and your children are like ours, you will find that working your way through any workbook or text book will involve a little bit of teaching for you because a) they achieved that level without covering that topic or b) they forgot that topic or c) that topic was taught very sketchily or d)they need to think about the topic again from a slightly different perspective to answer the questions in a different text book series.

I've got a child going from Year 3 into Year 4 too ---- I've been giving her the Carole Vorderman Maths Made Easy workbooks over the last few months as we've had some term-time holidays and because maths homework is very infrequent. She's done most of (but not all) age 7-8 beginners and advanced, aged 8-9 beginners and advanced, timestables age 7 - 11, decimals age 9 - 11. It wasn't the best way to do it as she's understandably getting bored with those books now. I should have been more creative and worked in my own brain teasers and games etc for the different topics but I just needed something I could put in front of her, a little bit each day, for her to get on with fairly independently.

You could also google an old DfE publication called Pitch and Expectations and pick out a year group for that which you feel has the "right fit". It's made up of old SAT type questions picked from a range of different years and organised topic by topic. It's free.

Thanks to Scarlett who pointed us in earlier threads to Pitch and Expecations, Target Maths (has an easy, medium and hard level for each topic and is published one text book per year), and Level Up ( you have to pick a book for moving from a 1 to a 2, 2 to a 3 etc etc - but I'd say if you worked through everything they suggest in the 2 to 3 book they have done some pretty thorough coverage of topics and you would be well placed for moving on to a level 4 pretty quickly) - the latter two are very nice books that your year 3 child might like ........... need to try before you buy.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:41 am 
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My DD will be starting at GS in September she will be having a summer of fun and family and will not be doing any maths other than what she might need to use in life( spending money etc) and will be reading for her own enjoyment. Enjoy some time with your children - they will be far to busy with their friends and schoolwork as they older. I'm sure they will cope when they get back to school.
Sorry -just a thought


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:49 am 
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agree with DC17C - best to have a break before GS - year 7, even in a very selective school, will be more about kids getting used to the place and the style of teaching and new subjects.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:59 am 
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I appreciate there are parents who may think I am being ott, but I know my own DS and I know that if I allow his brain to fall asleep over the summer break he really will struggle in the early weeks at GS. I know once he secured his placce at GS he wan't motivated at current school for the SATs etc.

Also, he does a lot outside of school (plays team sports at county level, orchestra etc) which I still want him to continue (as does he) so I want to make sure that he doesn’t struggle in the early weeks / months as he will get 1.5 hours of homework every night. Besides we are looking at a total of 1 hour of maths (split over 2 /3 sessions a week) and 1 story a week so it will be gentle not intense.

This is the first summer we are not going away but the kids will be going to summer camp (as both parents work) and weekends will be totally fun time so I don’t think I’m being cruel.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:03 am 
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Mytery - thanks for the advice. I didn't want anything to gimmicy (as stickers etc will only be a distraction) so will have a look in the book shop.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:27 am 
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Have to agree with earlier posts. Children's brains do not fall asleep over the holidays, they just use them in different ways. If your DS made it into grammar he will be fine. Let them enjoy their childhood - holidays are given for a reason!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Well that's true, but most teachers will report a "summer learning loss", particularly in maths.

If 20 mins a day over the summer enables a child to do their homework faster in the first term of secondary school and continue with extra-curricular activities it sounds like a good plan to me. And if this year has been rather idle, the brain has probably had enough thinking about other things other than schoolwork already!

I'm not sure that 20 mins per day would ruin anyone's holiday. Why would it? Competence can be enjoyable in its own right, as can maths.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:31 pm 
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As a GS teacher I would recommend a more exciting diet than Mr Rayner!

Try some problems on www.nrich.maths.org or the UKMT Junior Maths challenge.

Yes he may have forgotten some things but a rest is really important - the first time is always a shock and if he doesn't rest he'll not cope.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:39 pm 
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I'm never sure what a rest is with children. Wouldn't 20 mins 3 times per week still permit plenty of hours for rest? No-one tells children not to read over the summer hols, why is maths so different?


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