Parents and guardians can often create a set of values that affect their children’s mathematics. How many times have you heard yourself saying ‘ I could never do maths when I was your age’? I know you are trying to be kind and sympathetic but look at what you are really saying; you are really saying;
‘ look at me, I have been successful without mathematics, there are ways to survive without maths.’
I know you probably don’t realise it or even agree but that is the truth. Children and young people look to us for guidance for their future. Here is a fact that will shock many parents, the GCSE is one of the hardest examinations in the world.
So what is the way forward?
The way forward is to be straight with your children. It is a fact that there is grade inflation. That means the grade requirements for jobs is going up. Well known companies used to have a requirement for graduates to have a good degree, 2.1 or 1st and a grade c in Mathematics and English. This is now becoming a grade B. The grading system in Wales is still A*, A,B,C whereas in England it has now changed to a 9-1. It is still the same point, employers are demanding more and our your people have to deliver. Since I am based in Wales, I will mostly refer to the Welsh system.
Now I am going to be controversial. There are certain geographical areas where there is a culture of denial. People, including teachers, will say there is no problem here. If you knew this area you would understand. This is not helping young people. The line has been pushed higher, we have to find ways of helping our children to get passed the line. One way is to create a culture at home where people ‘do mathematics’. Children and young people need to see their parents and guardians engaging in planning to solve problems. They need to see us using basic mathematical strategies to answer daily questions. This normalises the practice of using mathematics in everyday life and it is vital for them to see us doing it. That way we create a culture where they see it as a part of daily life that all adults use and do mathematics as part of daily life.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make sure you check your answer but if you have made an error, make sure your children see that you recognise the error and have corrected it.
That way, you are creating a mathematical home.
If you missed out on mathematics education at school, then this book is a must. Graham Lawler has taken basic mathematics topics that may seem baffling but he provides devastatingly simple but powerful techniques that will help you understand the mathematics and be able to use it in your daily life. If you are in a training course where basic mathematics is involved, then this book is a must. The famous author and scientist Sir Arthur C Clarke (“2001 A Space Odyssey”) has been so impressed with the author’s work that Sir Arthur has written the foreword to this edition of the book. This is the ideal book for primary student teachers, trainees on apprentice courses and parents who want to help their own children. Now extended to include information on spreadsheets and personal development profiles, this is a very popular and highly successful book.