Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The problem with maths

Life has been casually trotting along, benignly worrying about slugs, the weather and too much yellow food in the children's diets, when suddenly yesterday I was hit with a huge problem.... A does not understand maths AT ALL. It hadn't occurred to me that she could be struggling, she certainly never mentioned it, the teachers haven't picked it up and before you know it it has become an issue - which I have to solve. Immediately I thought about drilling her, getting a tutor (remember she is 6), downloading every app available, long searches on the internet, buying books from Amazon and making her do it every day.  I panicked. Hating maths now will only cause problems in the future, she has to enjoy it, see it as a game, a problem to be solved and something that can be fun.

The biggest problem with me teaching A is that I will only confuse her. It is important that I teach her in the same way as they do in school, apparently vertical or column adding is just not done any more. So having found out the best way to explain, this may mean a trip to the school - oh God, pushy mum alert - and then incorporating maths in her every day life. The maths fairy came last night and left her a few little sums, very kind of her, and we are planning to count snails, subtract the amount of plants gone from the allotment, she will learn about money, the time, how many vegetables are left on her plate and what this would add up to weekly. You get the picture. Not a work sheet in sight.

I know we will get there. It just makes me wonder once again if school is the most effective method of learning. Probably not.


  1. How old is she? I feel the panic rising whenever maths is on the agenda because I am always worried about adding to the confusion. I have been in to school (overcoming the fact that I am sweating with panic, having flashbacks to my maths lessons at school) to get my son's teachers to explain to me how he is teaching maths to him, then i go from there. Working together like this is probably going to do it for me and the kids, and certainly their primary school is pretty good about it.

    Although there are many things I don't like about school, I know that home schooling would, for us, be a disaster (unless we were off on our round the world camper van trip...)

  2. She is only 6 but the worry I have is that it is not being picked up, probably other children as well. I know how a hatred of maths can manifest itself and I would love to instil in the girls it just doesn't have to be that way. I wonder about home schooling all the time, I read the blogs, bought the books but can't drag my 6 year old away as she LOVES school. It's a toughie!

  3. PS...now the round the world camper van trip is something else entirely! do it! You have the vehicle there waiting! Imagine the blog!

  4. Hi Sarah,
    I'm wondering if school hasn't picked up anything yet because ur DD is still quite small... I have two girls at school, aged 7 and 9. The 7 year old went through year R and year 1 doing very simple things in maths while other were already on timetables. And suddenly, after she turned 7 something seemed to 'click'. Her teacher started her on time tables and now she's zooming along. Other children in her class are still on very simple basics but they all progress at their own pace. And maths are, I think, taught in a much better way than when we were small.
    Are children in ur school registered on the Mathletics website? There are some really good maths games and teachers can assign games according to the level of each child. It might be worth suggesting!

  5. Thanks for your lovely comment Mother Goutte and really handy tips. looking forward to reading your stories tonight as well.