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Who's afraid of....

(40 Posts)
annodomini Thu 29-Aug-13 13:05:55

Maths. I was talking to my youngest GS the other day. He is about to start year 1 and I asked him if he was looking forward to going back to school. 'Not really,' he said.
'Why?' I asked.
'I'll have to do maths,' he responded, sadly.
'But maths isn't difficult and it can be fun.'
Then, 'What is maths?' he asked.
That took my breath away. He must have heard someone talking about maths as something to be afraid of and had been worrying about it. I explained that he would be learning all about numbers and shapes, just like a programme, Numberjacks, that he is absolutely obsessed with. That was reassuring for him, but I am sad that many children are put off maths by hearing others - maybe even parents - talking about how hard it is.

Jendurham Sun 15-Sep-13 23:31:27

I did middle school training for my degree in Education.There were a few of us who had signed up to do maths as a main subject, but we could not because the maths lecturer was away in Penang! So we did environmental science instead.
It was a college for mature students. My kids were 7 and 9 when I started.
In my first job I did supply for the head of maths at a school and had to teach matrices and vectors. I was one step ahead of the 5th year pupils, year 13, I think they are called now.
Most schools do after school help for parents who want to know more about maths or numeracy. The problem is that the grandparents cannot go as they are usually babysitting. Lots of maths these days is a question of language used as much as the maths content.
At one time I taught adult literacy, and the eyeopener there was the lengths that some parents would go to to hide the fact that they could not read, write, add up or work out bus timetables.

Deedaa Sun 15-Sep-13 23:11:32

I was never able to work out what I was supposed to be doing and used to try to answer geometry questions with trigonometry and so on. Still, in the 51 years since I took O Levels I've never once thought "I wish I'd passed maths"

wondergran Sun 08-Sep-13 15:07:54

It might be partly because many schools now call it numeracy and not maths so he might have got a bit confused. Oh and btw, many now call it literacy not English so it might be worth enquiring as he gets a little older about current terminology at his school so you can converse about school life on a more level playing field.

Iam64 Sat 07-Sep-13 18:32:28

Mice, as lilygran says, there is a maths equivalent of dyslexia. One of my daughters was tested for dyslexia at our local FE college when re-siting GCSE maths and science to up her grades. She had a 2.1 degree at this stage, and wanted to teach. The FE assessment confirmed she is dyslexic and that her number/maths ability is particularly affected. Her confidence rose with the diagnosis, as despite successes, she was convinced she was "thick" (her word). She went on to improve her gcse grades and pgtc, and is considered an excellent primary school teacher. She was always hard working, but just didn't hold the information about maths in the way she wanted to. I went to 7 primary and 2 high schools - I'm with Mice, maths was lost to me around the long division stage. There was no national curriculum, every school seemed to teach maths in a different way. I began to believe I just couldn't do it. Then I did a secretarial course, and got very high marks in the bookkeeping element - hmmm, that involved maths.

vampirequeen Sat 07-Sep-13 09:57:11

Maths will have been called Numeracy in the Foundation Stage (as it is throughout Primary) so it will have been a word he heard and didn't know. If you'd told him it was only a another name for Numeracy he'd have understood.

thatbags Fri 06-Sep-13 20:20:49

DH recommends this online Math Tutor. You can start from basic stuff (revision?) and work your way through. I haven't looked at costs or anything.

Greatnan Sat 31-Aug-13 07:33:42

Or foolhardy? When I started the course, I didn't know how much I didn't know, which was par for the course for most of my later careers and relocations!

JessM Fri 30-Aug-13 17:36:37

Blimey that was brave.

Greatnan Fri 30-Aug-13 17:35:17

I left school after 'O' level maths, so when I began my degree I was two years behind the other students. I had never done calculus or even trigonometry. Fortunately, the 'new maths' had just been put into the syllabus, and nobody had done any matrices, Venn diagrams, logic, etc. To fill in my missing knowledge, my tutors very generously gave me private lessons in their own time, free of charge. I think they were a bit bemused by my choice of subjects, as nobody had ever combined Maths and Eng. Lit before and they had to come up with a special timetable for me. At 27 I was older than most of the other students, and my daughters were 4 and 2. After four years of domesticity, I thought I had died and gone to heaven - all that debating, learning and being with adults.

JessM Fri 30-Aug-13 13:04:34

Until you go on to another branch of maths greatnan and then the fun starts all over again. I used to like algebra, geometry and imaginary numbers - very cool, you have a number that is the square root of minus 1 and it goes on from there.
I hit a wall though, half way through Pure Maths A level and failed it. I couldn't do Pureandapplied with Biology.
DH is slogging his was through Maths A level revision as we speak. Poor love is anxious about being in a class with new graduates. I look at the book and have a hazy notion that once I could do that kind of thing.

MiceElf Thu 29-Aug-13 22:23:29

That would be just before long division of pounds shillings and pence, then.

Greatnan Thu 29-Aug-13 22:06:20

Yes, maths is a 'ladder' subject so if you miss a couple of rungs it is very difficult and you need to be taken right back to the stage you last understood!

Lilygran Thu 29-Aug-13 22:04:17

Might be a solution....

MiceElf Thu 29-Aug-13 21:37:09

Lilygran perhaps we should ask Greatnan to give us some remedial lessons. I don't think we're dull, just missing a bit grin

Lilygran Thu 29-Aug-13 21:32:46

I missed nearly two years of Arithmetic in junior school. Everyone thought I would catch up but I was always in a total fog in the lessons.

Eloethan Thu 29-Aug-13 21:27:50

You should have got more marks for initiative!

MiceElf Thu 29-Aug-13 20:01:26

That's so true Eloethan. I missed a long stretch when I had a spell in hospital, that's when algebra was introduced. I returned to school just in time for the examination, and there were three long questions which I worked out and got the correct solution. However, I was awarded no marks as I hadn't solved the problems using algebra. I argued about this and got nowhere. And I then resolved that I couldn't be bothered which such a stupid illogical system, and I read history books under my desk every maths lesson vrom then on.

Eloethan Thu 29-Aug-13 19:31:36

I'm a bit slow on the uptake and teachers always went too fast for me. Once you've missed one bit, nothing else makes sense.

Ana Thu 29-Aug-13 18:58:21

At my grammar school in the 60s it was very rare to get the same teacher for any subject two years running!

JessM Thu 29-Aug-13 18:50:25

better than the same old useless one for 5 years feetle. I suspect in many secondary schools it is quite normal to have different teachers each year.

feetlebaum Thu 29-Aug-13 17:53:48

At the grammar school I had five Maths teachers in five years, which wouldn't have helped. But then so did the rest of the form, and they seemed to manage. I quite liked constructions, in Geometry, and was able to put those to use in my first job, in an advertising agency studio, but Algebra? Trigonometry? Geometry Theorems? Forget it! And of course I was never subjected to the horrors of calculus, differential or.... the other one.

annodomini Thu 29-Aug-13 17:18:28

nina, when I came off the platform weighed down with prizes (ok - not for maths) at the end of my school career, my one-time infant teacher looked me up and down and said, 'Well, I'd never have thought it of you.' Unlikely as it may now seem, my 17-year-old self was lost for words. Luckily she had never said anything of the kind when I was 5.

kittylester Thu 29-Aug-13 16:32:41

I loved maths mainly because my father was brilliant at it and explained without making me feel silly the bits I hadn't got from the teachers first time round. I like puzzles so I think maths is just another puzzle to me.

However, my DS teacher told me I should never get married and have children because I rubbed sugar into butter when making scones. So, Mrs Holmes, I would like to point out that I have 1 husband, 5 children and almost 6 grandchildren and none of them look like starving because of my cooking [infantiletonguestickyout]

Ariadne Thu 29-Aug-13 16:15:38

nina I had one of those too, who used almost exactly the same words to me. I am sure that part of my determination to get my degrees was to "show" her! (Not that I ever met her again!)

And I know that when I achieved a senior position, similar to hers, she was a sort of negative role model, inspiring me NOT to be like her.

So there, Miss Jones!

gracesmum Thu 29-Aug-13 15:51:03

I am especially proud of DD who has an Economics degree, and with 2 tinies( 3 and 21 months,) has returned to university to retrain as a secondary maths teacher - because she loves it!! I feel her enthusiasm must communicate itself to the kids she will be facing - at least I hope so. And with plenty of experience of DGS's 2-year old tantrums (bless him) , teenagers should be a walk in the park!