Mind Your Language!

Now be honest, you expect your children to learn to read.  We take it for granted that regardless of how hard children find reading that they need to master the skill.

Yet for some reason this is not true with number work.  In fact we often send them the wrong messages.  How many mums tell their children to ask their father for help with maths? It does happen.  But what are we saying to children?  We are saying maths is ‘man thing’.  Is this the right message to send to children? Is it the right message to send to girls?

The other thing we do is say’ I could never do maths when I was your age’. It is meant to be sympathetic but again it sends the wrong message.  We expect every child to read and we need to have the same expectation for number work.  If we do not, we are blighting their future. Do you really want to do that to your own child?

Understanding Maths at my age?

One of the worst things people say to their children is ‘ I could never do maths when I was your age’. This is meant to be sympathetic BUT let’s look at the reality. In reality you are saying to the young person, ‘ it is highly unlikely that you will sucked’, But you are also saying ‘ I managed without maths, so if you are canny, you can too.’ Nothing can be further from the truth. Maths and literacy are like food and drink. You can survive for a while without one of them but you will eventually fail.

You do not expect children to fail at reading. There is an expectation that all children will learn to read so why expect them or even encourage them to fail at maths?

The answer is adult anxiety.  Very often we pass on our own anxiety to the next generation.  This can often bring bad memories of anxiety and stress in the classroom and that is then passed onto the children. This is a cycle that has to be broken. One way is to use puzzles.This is fun.

Here is a puzzle you can try at home

If you put your left foot on the first step as you go upstairs, do you put your left foot on the top step? If so why? If not why not?

spiral stairs
Which foot will be placed on the top step and why?

Understanding Maths

Dr Lawler’s has written Understanding Maths to help you with maths.

This will help you support your children.