Mental Maths

Just who is mental about maths?
Or is that a condemnation of a whole section of humankind’s scientific endeavours?


It is the sound of a mum very happy to see her daughter manage to do her first (probably second or third, in reality) batch of mental maths.  Mental subtraction, to be precise.

Miss Oh Waily has been able to do abstract, in the head, simple addition for some time.  We hadn’t been working on the subtraction side verbally as much though.  Then a short while ago, as I mentioned earlier, we started to use Khan Academy to give her some confidence and regular practice at basic maths.

She felt very wobbly about the subtraction equations so I used a combination of the solid (our ladybugs) and the pictorial (a number line) to help her get the hang of doing subtraction equations.  At first she grizzled about having to do it, but today when I saw how fast she did the set of equations and asked her what she was doing, she was as proud as punch when she showed me that she could do them without the number line to help now.

Naturally I was rather chuffed for her.  It’s a great mental leap from using your fingers to ‘knowing’ the answer automatically.  In less than a couple of weeks, I’d say.  Fantastic effort Miss Oh !!

She didn’t even complain too much when I suggested we watch the double digit addition video, so she must have been very pleased with herself and brimming with confidence.

I will also confess to being a little gushy when I saw what she was doing.  Poor thing, smooshed with hugs and kisses.  Who’d have a mother, eh?  So now I will try to prod her (very gently, of course) on to the next stage and see how she goes with slightly larger numbers.

When did you notice your kids starting to do mental arithmetic?  And what did you do to help them get there?

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