Hi, I would like to ask for your advice regarding my 6 year old son, who has been identified as gifted and is specially strong in mathematics.

Right now he is attending a school which is not ideal, but probably the best we can find around here. They don't have fancy premises or a lot of resources, but the teacher-child ratio is really good (2 teachers for 14 children). They have an open approach to learning, lots of time for free play and many books, Legos and table games.

My son seems to be doing fine there (although he often requests to be homeschooled) and I think they will generally be able to meet his needs. However, I am not so sure about maths.

Maths is the area where my boy shines and I would say the one domain where his giftedness becomes obvious. His favourite question has been "how many" since he was two.

Over the years, we have done a lot of oral and mental maths, as this never failed to entertain him. He has been adding and substracting two and three digit numbers in his head since he was 4, as well as skip counting, counting backwards, decomposing numbers, etc. He always comes up with strange mathematical games, like adding the days of the month, or finding out how many minutes he slept tonight.

Last month I thought that it was time for him to learn in a more systematic way, so I bought an online subscription to Beast Academy, just to try. We began at the third level, as levels 1 and 2 are not available yet, but so far he has been able to do all the activities and he seems to be enjoying himself very much.

So, yesterday we had a meeting with my son's teacher which has left me feeling uneasy and insecure. I brought up the subject of his maths abilities and told her that he has been asking to work on multiplication and fractions.

She says that she is aware that he is ahead of the group and she is trying to give him more advanced materials (addition up to 100 instead of addition up to 20), but that he still needs to work on the basics, that he needs to work with manipulative materials and that he needs to understand very well tens and ones. Also, that he needs to learn the mathematical symbols and that he still reverses some letters and numbers and that he is too young to be doing maths on a computer.

I told her that my son has always refused to work with manipulative materials (I have already tried many times) because he usually understands the concepts very easily and works much faster just with his mind, and that while I agreed that he needs to work on his graphomotor skills, I thought that it was cruel to make him slow down his mind just because his hands can't work at the same pace.

So, it seems that we have agreed to disagree and that he will have to keep working on addition and substraction for a while. And I have been left feeling as a pushy mother who is confusing her child introducing too many concepts too early. So, apart from venting, I would like to know what have been your experiences with mathematically oriented children and what have you done to meet their needs.

Please forgive any mistakes, as I am not a native English speaker.

Thank you for your help!