Well not always.
Children who are gifted at maths can suffer from:
- boredom (the work is too easy)
- low expectations (if their talent isn’t spotted)
- frustration (if they come across difficult work – after all they’re supposed to be good at maths!)
So what can I do if you think your child is gifted at maths?
- Generally, as a parent, make sure that you chat to your child’s teacher as soon as you think they may be finding their school maths too easy. Not all schools have a gifted program, but your child’s teacher may be willing to give your child different (not more) work within the class.
- Also be aware that although your child may shine at mental maths or algebra, they may have weaknesses in their problem solving skills, or with maths that requires spatial skills such as geometry. With any work you do at home with your child, try to give plenty of opportunity for your child to explore such problem areas.
- It’s also important to encourage your child to experience the non academic side of maths. Explore how maths links to other subjects such as art, science, history and engineering design.
What resources can I use to support my gifted child?
With recreational maths in mind, here are 5 great resources to help you support your maths mad child:
NRICH is a joint project between the Faculties of Mathematics and Education at The University of Cambridge (where I did my teacher training!). It provides interactive maths challenges, weekly maths puzzles, maths games and a forum, all focused on offering “enrichment” activities to students.
The Art of Problem Solving website also has a forum where students, parents and teachers can share ideas about maths competitions and curriculla. They also have online classes for students aged 11-18 which “bring together top students to work with outstanding teachers”
Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that require more than just mathematical insights to solve and are aimed at among others “students for whom the basic curriculum is not feeding their hunger to learn, “. James Somers has an great article on how it helped him finally learn computer programming.
4) Khan Academy
There’s been a big debate amongst maths teachers and educators as to the merits of Salman Khan’s vast quantity of free online “chalk and talk” maths videos, but many parents have successfully used this controversial resource to support their children’s maths learning, whether their child was gifted or not. My feeling is that anything that encourages students to strengthen their maths skills independently from school, can’t be all bad.
5) Maths-Whizz and 6) Ten Marks
Both Maths-Whizz and Ten Marks offer online ability tracked maths programs. After initial testing your child is given work that suits their ability rather than their age and focuses on their weaknesses. Click here to see my video review of Maths-Whizz. Both programs offer free trials.
If you’re worried that your child may be too good at maths, make sure to communicate with your child’s teacher, focus on working on any problem areas and encourage recreational maths.
Have you tried any of the resources? What did you think of them? What other resources does your maths mad child like?