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Struggling to help with maths homework

(16 Posts)
caroline0404 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:15:38

Hello all!

I wanted to find out whether any mums out there struggle to help with their children's maths homework (either from lack of time, or understanding the methods).

I certainly remember doing my maths homework usually descended into a shouting match with my mum pretty quickly!

I'm thinking about setting up a service which could help with instant explanations about topics or questions... but I would want it to really help with the problems that you face at maths homework time.

Is there anything in particular you struggle with, or that might help you and your child keep stress levels down and get that homework done without an argument? hmm

Any thoughts would be much appreciated - just to clarify I am NOT selling anything, just interested in the possibilities for making all you hard-working mums' lives a little easier!

Caroline x smile

CaseyShraeger Thu 22-Nov-12 15:18:01

To be honest, if MNers are having maths homework issues they tend to just post here and get lots of other MNers explaining it carefully.

caroline0404 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:22:59

Thanks for the reply! That's really helpful. It's great to have a community that can help like this.

Would it worry you though that you might not get the answer that you need fast enough - depending on who else was online to help?

CaseyShraeger Thu 22-Nov-12 19:27:31

More often I think "ooh, a chance to help someone with Maths homework!" and then find that another twenty posters have beaten me to it grin. So I'd probably assume that if I wanted to start a help thread it would get a similarly speedy response.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 22-Nov-12 19:29:49

Agree that the responses here are fast and all-encompassing,from EY to degree level questions. And all free.

caroline0404 Fri 23-Nov-12 09:31:52

That is interesting - and extremely helpful! Always a nice feeling being able to help! smile

Some other parents I've spoken to about maths homework recently have said that they didn't feel so confident helping because of the new methods being taught by schools - but I supposed if everyone here is in the same boat then that is not an issue?

Snorbs Fri 23-Nov-12 09:52:57

Have you tried the BBC Bitesize website? It's excellent, and not just for maths.

caroline0404 Fri 23-Nov-12 10:15:29

Thanks Snorbs - good idea.

My only concern is that if you/your child still doesn't understand, or needs help with a particular question, that sites like BBC bitesize can't then go any further in helping, if you see what I mean (can't really work out what is stopping you from understanding, or try explaining in a different way)

Have you ever found that? I'm thinking if you're really stuck on a particular question, where can you go for help? Just thinking it could be so useful to have somewhere to get specific help on exactly what you're struggling with (though as Casey said, perhaps that is from other MNers!)

Snorbs Fri 23-Nov-12 10:58:10

I'll be honest, I've yet to find a subject my KS2-3 DCs have been learning that either I didn't understand already or that BBC Bitesize/Google/revision books weren't able to clarify.

Honestly, try googling "maths homework help". There are over two million hits. If you can't find something in all those those that will help you (as an adult) to understand a maths topic sufficiently so you can then explain it to your child, how will your proposed service overcome that? How will it be more "instant" or relevant than, say, BBC Bitesize with its pictures and its text and its videos?

If what you're thinking is tailored, online one-on-one live help, then can I ask how you're proposing to deliver that? Online chat sessions don't work well for this due to the font and layout issues of trying to produce mathematical symbols and equations. Not to mention the problems of generating graphs and charts. Messaging systems such as the one mumsnet uses hit similar problems although some of the layout issues are a bit easier.

You could use shared whiteboarding systems but I've yet to find one that works well regardless of what computer system the participants are using. For instance, many won't work on iPads due to the lack of Java or Flash. I suppose you could use Skype and a blackboard.

caroline0404 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:16:03

Great ideas, thank you. I suppose I really mean - yes, there's lots of good, free content out there, but if you are stuck on a specific question, is it easy enough to get to something that is really targeted and helpful... or do you waste time trawling through content that's not relevant before you find what you need hmm

I definitely agree with you that in terms of live online help, there can be many issues with what interface you use - I very much agree that online chat is not an optimal solution to helping with maths (both in terms of engagement and practicality of the content you need to use).

Shared whiteboard systems would certainly be more appropriate - though as you say, it can be hard to find something that is suitable across the board. Definitely a fast-developing technology area though, so worth keeping an eye on new products that could fit the bill.

The answer to your question is really that nothing has been decided as yet - want to have the flexibility to find out what would be the most helpful, rather than deciding for people... hence why this sort of discussion is incredibly helpful!

Do you have experience of online tutoring yourself then? Sounds like you've been frustrated by some limitations in the past!

TheNebulousBoojum Fri 23-Nov-12 18:04:16

Op, I think one of the problems that you face here is that a large number of regular MNetters are teachers.
Most of us are very familiar with all the current strategies, can often identify the source of the confusion, suggest a range of strategies that might work, resources and websites to support...and because there are so many of us, you have a breadth of experience and approach that is very useful.

I've saved or copied numerous responses because they were useful to me as a teacher. smile

caroline0404 Sun 25-Nov-12 21:19:15

That's really interesting - I am actually starting teacher training myself next autumn, so will definitely keep that in mind!

It's just very useful to gauge the responses and problems that MNers face, and what the best solutions are - or if there could be any way to make it easier smile

shoobidoo Sun 16-Dec-12 07:51:39

Surely if a child struggles with a particular maths issue the the child's teacher ought to know and explain it again/better.

Megandavids Mon 17-Dec-12 11:02:01

There is lots of online maths systems as well I know you have to pay but it has really helped us out because I can learn the topics as well my child and really help her you also get games which doing maths abit more fun . We got it on offer as well so didn't cost much at all.

Raynarayan Mon 31-Dec-12 08:00:47

Well you can go for online tutors which provide you good knowledge database and real time access to its resources. Sites like 1to1 tutor have also preparation gauging tools and they also provide private one to one guidance to the seekers. So you can get some help from such sites.


Megandavids Mon 28-Jan-13 14:57:31

The site we use is as I say really helped her out and me as well!

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