We can all help our children with their maths, it just needs a positive attitude – even you can do maths!
Some people love maths for itself, and that’s fine, but if you are one of those people who have always felt a bit less confident, don’t.
Why are so many people so negative about Maths?
Forget about how maths used to be taught, forget working through page after page of questions and forget about maths as an abstract subject with no connection to real life. It’s not like that!
If you are a subscriber to Maths-Whizz you will know that the tutorials focus on the different areas of the Maths Curriculum. Now, take the time to look at each of these areas: – using and applying mathematics; number and algebra; shape, space and measure; handling data.
These might sound a mouthful but actually, when you look at what they involve, you will be using these skills at home, in the car and in a variety of everyday situations all of the time: e.g. shopping on a budget, planning your day to be in the right place at the right time, calculating how many potatoes to peel, when to put the meat in and how long to cook it for and so on.
In fact, even if you think you can’t do maths, we all use our knowledge and ability in maths all of the time and we all CAN do it.
Given that we as adults are using these maths skills all the time, it’s therefore easy to encourage our children to use them too, either in a practical task, a fun game or just as a useful way of filling time. I know some of these examples are very obvious, but here are a few of my immediate thoughts:
Cooking - weigh the ingredients (measure); double/halve the quantities (fractions); put the oven on (measures); work out what time they’ll be ready (mental calculations/solving problems).
Family walk - how many steps do you think it will take us to get to that tree (problem solving/measure/estimating); how many leaves do you think there are on that tree (place value/measure/estimating); how many minutes will it take to walk from A to B if we walk or run or hop (time/problem solving); how many edges/corners does a leaf have; is a leaf symmetrical (shape and space).
Car journey – maths games, e.g. how many times can you double, starting at 2, in 30 seconds (2,4,8,16 etc); count backwards from 50 in ones, in twos, in threes etc; look at road signs with distances on and try to add them together (number and algebra); look at road signs and ask questions such as “how much further is A than B”, “how long will it take to get there if we travel at 60mph (handling data/solving problems)”.