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# Having trouble helping your kids with maths? Q&A with maths expert and co-author of Maths On the Go Rob Eastaway

(32 Posts)We're running a Q&A this week with Rob Eastaway, co-author of Maths On The Go with Mike Askew. If you're having trouble helping your child build their confidence in maths or have a real maths conundrum of your own, tap into Rob's knowledge and post a question on this thread before Monday 25 January. We'll upload his answers to your questions on 1st Feb.

Rob’s books include Maths For Mums and Dads and How Many Socks Make a Pair. He is the Director of Maths Inspiration and a regular on BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live talking about the maths of everyday life. His latest book Maths on the Go (co-written with Mike Askew) offers 101 simple tips, games and activities to make practising maths more enjoyable and engaging for both you and your child. Rob has recently shared some of his tips on how to help your child learn their times tables.

Rob and Mike - just coming back to this thread and wanted to say thanks for the advice!

FoxInABox

What does it mean to put 1.9 in an image?

Rob: Without seeing the image or the context, your ‘1.9’ could mean anything – at the moment it means nothing at all. But there’s (maybe) a serious point here, that when maths appears to be just an abstract task with no connection to anything you or your child are familiar with, it can become little more than gobbledygook. That’s why finding maths in your everyday life (by looking out for numbers, patterns and calculations when you are cooking, travelling, shopping etc) is so important. Decimals are particularly relevant to measurements: where is 1.9 metres on the tape measure? What does 1.9 kg feel like? How close to a full 2 litre bottle is 1.9 of a litre?

Dungandbother

What wonky said exactly. I had no need for maths in school. I'm very literate. I didn't know my tables. Or basic addition off the top of my head and I use a calculator now. So it was all rather pointless.

I now use maths a lot at work, basic percentages, lots of excel and adding up. Manage huge budgets. And I'm good at it. Because I have a use for it, I know more.

DD age 8 Yr 4 cannot retain number facts.

Not her number bonds nor her tables.

She's an excellent speller though. And her grammar is also great. She's within top sets but because she's fairly smart and accesses curriculum with her excellent literacy skills. Maths is such a struggle and she always counts on her fingers.

What sort of help is there for this child ? Why is there so much hype about dyslexia but not dyscalculia?

Rob: There has been less research into dyscalculia than into dyslexia, though it seems that on average perhaps one child in 30 has the condition in which their brain has a particular deficiency in processing numbers. Many children might appear to have dyscalculia when the real problem is a lack of confidence or a lack of practice – and if a child isn’t confident with numbers, the last thing they wants to do is do any maths practice.

When you were at school you couldn’t see the point of maths, and your daughter may well feel the same way, so look for things in her life where doing maths has some purpose. For example, if she has a party coming up, get her to help with the planning – set a budget and get her to work out how much to spend on party bag items and so on.

Children can also see a ‘purpose’ to maths if it’s part of a game that they enjoy. Since she struggles with basic arithmetic, try a game where you start with a score of zero and build up. On a car journey, we sometimes play ‘One for a cow, two for a sheep…’ in which we allocate a certain number of points for spotting different animals (or in urban areas, spotting different types of shop). Starting at zero the first to spot sheep in a field gets two points, spotting horses gets 5 points etc) and so scores steadily build up and mental addition is being used throughout.

Morningbear

My daughter has maths GCSE coming up and has always had real difficulties with maths. She works so hard but just got her mock results back and got a D. Have you any tips on maths revision and also on exam technique that can help her bring it up to a pass rate?

Rob: Perhaps now is the time to reassure her that, while it would be great for her to get a pass at GCSE, there is far more to maths than taking exams, and that when it comes to life skills, only some of the things she’s studied at GCSE will turn out to be really important. Cramming and question-spotting can help improve your grade, but that’s not the same as making you ‘better at maths’ – in fact, children who concentrate on exam techniques at the expense of longer term understanding often end up being less engaged with maths as a result.

Mike Askew adds: When learners get a grade like a 'D' they label themselves as 'not good', and their opinion then becomes hard to shift. If she attempts some old exam papers, I’d advise against you ‘marking’ the questions as right or wrong, but instead talk through her answers and get her to decide if she got it right or not. It is also helpful to read through the information at the start of the question together while covering up the question itself. Talk about what the covered up question might be - often the real question is not as hard as might have been expected.

AuntieBulgaria

My daughter gets so cross in the face of any maths homework.

Before she's even given it a chance, she does random guesses and gets frustrated.

If we can get past the fury, she's normally perfectly capable of working it out but already aged 8 claims to hate maths.

If she practiced more, she'd feel more confident but how do we deal with this barrier she's already constructing?

Literacy homework she'll run off in 10 minutes, practicing the 8 times tables today took 20 mins of arguments before we got started.

Rob: She might claim to hate maths, but I’m going to guess she still enjoys lots of games and also magic. Dotted through some of the other answers in this Q&A, you’ll find examples of games and tricks that appeal to most eight year olds. So perhaps the most important thing you can do is to draw a boundary between homework (a necessary evil) and the fun sort of maths that you do together. I suggest you don’t call it maths when you play a game of pub cricket in the car (scoring one point for each leg on the sign of a pub), or when you work out together when the cake will be ready if it takes 35 minutes to bake. The main thing is to just make numbers a normal thing you deal with as part of day-to-day life with your daughter.

Mike Askew adds: See my point about motivation and getting started (for Naytaali above). If your daughter has come to expect that she will have to endure maths for a long time, then she’ll be resistant. Just ask her to spend five minutes on it (no more). Next time that ‘five minutes’ will, with any luck, run on several minutes more.

TooMuchOfEverything

I have a copy of Maths for Mums and Dads - it's really helpful. If DC need help and are saying that their teacher 'didn't explain it' I'll get the book out and go through it with them. They then seem to recognise what I am talking about and it clicks that they did learn it after all.

Before we had The Book I would be googling under the table and trying to show them in my way which isn't how it's taught anymore and we all ended up stressed and confused.

Do you do a version for secondary school maths too?

Rob: It’s great that you’ve found ‘Maths for Mums and Dads’ helpful. As you know, that book covers maths for your child up to the end of primary school. The sequel is called (surprise surprise) ‘MORE Maths for Mums and Dads – The Teenage Years’. It picks up where the other book left off, and looks at the main bugbears of secondary maths for both teenagers and parents: algebra, geometry, trigonometry... and also the biggest issue of all, ‘When am I ever going to need this stuff?’. It isn’t a GCSE book as such (textbooks will cover that for you) but we have tried to step back from the detail to answer the really important questions of which school maths is the most important for later life, and what the point is of some of the more obscure maths topics. Our new book, ‘Maths on the Go’ is less concerned with the school curriculum and more about how busy parents can explore maths with their children as part of their everyday lives. And let’s face it, for most people the most important use of maths is helping you to deal with the world around you.

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Footofthestairs

What do you feel are the key core skills for a KS1 child to have got consolidated before moving up to KS2? What would be a way to help a child who is struggling with maths and feels left behind at school as the current pace of maths on the curriculum is beyond their capabilities?

Rob: With the new curriculum introduced last year, primary school maths just got a lot tougher, which can be distressing for children for whom maths does not come easily, and for their parents. All the more reason why the maths they experience at home should be ‘happy’ maths. Perhaps the most important thing is for your child to be comfortable doing maths activities with you, without the expectation of being told they are wrong. This means that both of you should at times be working things out together, and if YOU make a mistake, laugh and have another go to show that getting things wrong isn’t the end of the world. By the end of year 2 – so when they are seven – you want your child to be confident reading and interpreting numbers, for example knowing that 143 is bigger than 138, and you also want them to be comfortable counting up or down in twos, threes and so on (the foundation of times tables). So when you are out and about, look for things to do with numbers. Play games like ‘Higher or Lower’ – when you see the number on bus or a building, say ‘Do you think the next bus number we see will be higher or lower?’. When walking past terraced houses you can ask ‘What number house do you predict will be three doors along?’, so if you are next to house number 37, then if the numbering is normal, the house that’s three along will be 43 or 31. You can adapt these games to be as easy or as difficult as you like, depending the size of numbers your child is confident with.

Mike Askew adds: For younger children it’s important to keep maths connected to things they understand, physical objects and stories. A lot of research shows that setting maths into a simple story context and acting out that story can help. Think about a subtraction such as 17 - 5. Get your child to suggest characters for a maths story (silly is good) - there were seventeen sprouts to eat, but Jo only ate 5. How many were left? And while counters can be good stand-ins for sprouts, counting out real sprouts makes the learning stronger.

naytaali

hi, my 14 yr old just received his xmas exam results & they were very bad. i don't know how to motivate him to do well & all he seems interested in is video games. he needs to up his grades if he wants to do well at GCSE level . it seems like i am constantly taking away privileges with no effect whatsoever

Rob: Motivation sometimes involves carrots and sticks, and it sounds like your sticks aren’t working, so this calls for some carrots. But what are the carrots for a disillusioned 14 year old? There’s no easy answer to this, but he could probably do with two things: experience of being ‘successful’ in some maths, and a better sense of why maths will ever be of use to him after school. Many teenagers rightly question what’s the point of learning the tangent of an angle when they’ll probably never use it again as an adult (and they’re right, they probably won’t.) So it’s worth being realistic about which maths is useful merely because it’ll get you a good grade at GCSE, and which maths is useful because it will help you in life. The latter includes anything to do with arithmetic, estimation, ratios and percentages, measurement and statistics. And point out that whatever he thinks of GCSE maths content being useful, the fact is that just about ANY career these days requires you to have a decent maths GCSE grade before they’ll consider you.

In terms of success, maybe you can get him involved in tackling real challenges you have in day to day life. Buying a phone? Find the best deal, and decide if the warranty is worth buying or just a rip-off. Doing some decorating? Get him involved in doing measurements, how much paint will be needed. If the end result is something he cares about, he’ll be keen to do the maths as a means to an end. If you have a sense of what sort of career he might be interested in, there are some good resources out there with people talking about how they have used maths in their working lives (www.mathscareers.org.uk is one example).

Mike Askew adds: Researchers have found that the best thing for getting you motivated to do a task is simply to start doing it. Once you start, motivation kicks in. So, ask your son to only do five minutes of maths (and in the first few instances stick to your word - done five minutes, ok, back to a video game). All being well, that five minutes starts to grow to ten and even more.

wonkylampshade

I've also got a question about my child's enthusiasm and aptitude for maths.

She's a bright girl, and thinks in a similar way to me in a lot of ways. It took me until I was about 25 to start enjoying maths, as I had to apply it in a working situation while managing some complex budgets. Until then, I always believed it "wasn't my strong point". Now I run two businesses, produce and manage tricky cash flows and also produce projections. You'd literally have knocked me over with a feather if you'd told me I'd be doing this in my teens.

My dd (8) is struggling with everything maths related. She doesn't seem to have the knowledge yet to make mental shortcuts or to retain her times tables. I know she's academically capable of learning everything she's been given, and I believe the problem lies more in her enthusiasm for the subject. She groans when there's maths related homework, and complains when they've been doing maths in class. She also thinks she's "not good at it". Having been there myself, I really want to light a spark if I can, and am actively looking for ways to do this! In younger days, I could have initiated games in the car, or at teatime and she would have eagerly joined in, but these days she's more likely to roll her eyes at me and refuse to join in.

An you suggest a couple of ways I can spark her interest, and give her a sense of achievement which might spur her on and make her want to engage more actively with numbers and maths?

Rob: One of the most frustrating things with maths is how often people only discover its relevance (and that it can sometimes be fun) when they have left school - so your story is a familiar one. Your efforts to engage your daughter in maths games in early years sound great but yes, the older the child gets, the harder it can be to introduce these without that eye rolling. But she’s still only eight – I hope you’ve got a couple of years before the real cynicism (might) kick in. In our books we have some examples of magic tricks – for example ‘Think of a number….double it….add 10…divided your answer by two….take away the number you first thought of…and you have finished on (drum roll)….FIVE.’ Assuming she followed the instructions, she will have ended on five and most eight year olds find this exciting. If she didn’t end on five, ask her what her starting number was, and go through the steps with her to discover where the slip was. This sort of trick is engaging and provokes curiosity. You can extend it to start inventing ‘new’ tricks that end on a different number (for example if you add 12 instead of 10, the final number is always six).

Meanwhile, I know what you mean about Kumon. Some parents swear by it, and sometimes nothing is better for confidence in arithmetic than just doing lots and lots of practice. But this sort of forced tuition can make maths feel like a chore for many children. Online games where you need to solve maths problems in order to progress (my kids love Flappy Bird maths, for example) can be more fun and motivating.

Mike Askew adds: To give her more of a sense of achievement, use the word ‘yet’. When your daughter says she cannot do it, remind her of all the things she used not be able to do (walk, ride a bike, write her name) - it's the same with maths, there are some things she just cannot do yet. Alongside this make it clear that speed is not the be-all-and-end-all - too many children think they cannot do maths because they don’t get the answer as quickly as others. It’s one of the most damaging myths about maths that you are only good if you are quick.

DrewsWife

I am struggling with long division. Eg 954/23 etc.

I have an entrance exam for uni and could use a system to help me work it out.

I have no issues doing other forms of maths.

Something in the back of my head says an an acronym damson?? But it's been 20 plus years since I left school...

Please help

Rob: Before offering any tips, I’d just like to say that in the grand scheme of learning maths, struggling with manual methods for long division is NOT something you should worry about. Somebody once said: ‘Anyone who has done two long divisions in their life has done one too many’. Calculators were invented for a reason!

When it comes to hard divisions such as 954/23, the most important skill is being to estimate roughly what the answer is. I like to use a technique I call Zequals, in which you round every number to ‘one significant figure’ to make the calculations far easier. In your case, 954 becomes 1000, and 23 becomes 20. 1000 divided by 20 equals 50 (I’d encourage everyone to learn how to do calculations like that in their head), and therefore the answer to 954/23 is going to be not far from 50 (maybe 40 ish?). There is a classic, traditional method for doing long division, and a quick search on Youtube would find you a good tutorial of somebody demonstrating the method methodically. What I would NOT recommend is learning an acronym for long division. These maths memory aids usually only have a short term benefit, as you are using the technique without understanding how it works – and unless you practise long division regularly, you’ll quickly forget any acronym as sure as night follows day.

By the way, don’t confuse long division with short division, eg 184 divided by 7. I think short division is a much more useful skill, and it’s worth practising it in written form AND, if and when you’re confident, doing it in your head. If you want to learn more about how long division works, read our book ‘Maths for Mums and Dads’.

Theydontknowweknowth

eyknow My son can't remember sequences. He has to count to remember that 11 is before 12.

He can't remember his times tables. No sooner remembered then they are forgotten. He has no feel for numbers and can't seem to break them down into factors.

Rob: How old is your son? If he’s six or seven this is not that unusual, if he’s ten then you have more of a challenge on your hands. For young children, it’s great to build counting into your everyday routine, so that numbers become absolutely routine. I like counting steps with my youngest. When we go upstairs we count up (one, two, three…to thirteen) and when descending we count down (thirteen, twelve, eleven…down to one). That’s made her familiar with twelve being a higher number than eleven. When my son was younger, he used to love rocket countdowns, which we’d do together (Thunderbirds was great for this). Factors are a more challenging concept. Again, staircases can be useful. If you have 12 stairs then you can count up them in twos, threes or fours (giant steps) and still end on the top step. But if, like me, you have 13 stairs, then twos, threes and fours always leave one step left over. That’s because 13 is a prime number, it has no factors except 1 and 13. So in my household, the definition of a prime number is a staircase where you can only climb it with one single ginormous step.

Mike Askew adds: With times tables, he may benefit from finding other routes to the answers. Find something he can remember - most children can recall doubles, or five times or ten times a number. So, say he knows ten times six is 60. Then nine times six is going to be 6 less than 60, which is 54. You could write down the facts that he knows onto slips paper and put these together in an old envelope. Then practise and reinforce the facts that he does know to build up his confidence, adding one or two new, related ones, each time.

SummerLightning

How can I hide my frustration when sometimes I feel like I am teaching Baldrick maths? (What's 2 beans and 2 beans? Some beans).

I have tried hiding maths in every day activities and the older one spots it straight away (Mummy you are trying to do maths again...). I love maths and they are not interested... (They are 7 (Y2) and 5 (Y1)). Sob

Rob: Ha! I feel your pain. Sometimes parents who love maths can try too hard to enthuse their kids (I plead guilty here, on occasion). I certainly recognise the situation of your child spotting your attempts to sneak in some maths. Without doubt, the most effective technique for me to get around this has been making maths into a game. See my earlier suggestion about ‘Who wants to be a mathionaire?’. I suppose you could regard that game as a bit of a bribe – if you get all the questions right you’ll win 20p, and while I know parental bribes are a slippery slope, in this case I think it’s justified (and 20p every couple of weeks is hardly going to corrupt your child).

And your eldest is still only in Year 2 – surely not too old for being playful with you. With my Year 1 daughter (and her elder siblings when they were younger) I started using my hands as an improvised puppet. That has worked incredibly well. My hand (who plays the role of ‘Richard Smith – the only mathematician in the village’) sets a maths question, such as 4 plus 3, and claims that ONLY HE knows the answer to this question. With a cackle he then marches off under the table, or behind the cereal box. My youngest and I can then collaborate in working out the answer. When Richard Smith returns, she takes great delight in telling him the answer, and he disappears in a huff. The beauty of puppets is that they can play the role of village idiot or the evil enemy, allowing you and your child to be on the same side.

Mike Askew adds: And why not turn the tables - get your children to teach you the maths they have been learning in school. Whether we like it or not, as far as children are concerned their teacher is always right! When getting them to talk about the maths they are learning at school, play ‘dumb’ (in fact you may genuinely feel dumb!). You don’t understand, so can they explain it again?

houseHuntinginmanche

ster Thank you for the tips on learning time tables, I've picked up some good tips that I'll be implementing with my dd.

My question is about my 6 yr old dd who is in yr2. Although she is in the top set, she is towards the bottom of the top set if you see what I mean, and I am told she is often supported by an adult. However when we work at home, she seems to get the hang of new ideas and skills very quickly and I make sure she works independently just to check her understanding, which she always completed successfully.

My question then is, What activities (general or specific) could I do with dd that will bring her along at school and get her working more independently and confidently? Thank you

Rob: I think the important thing here is that your six-year-old seems happy and confident with maths at home, so the issue might be more to do with what happens in the classroom. Keep doing what you are doing, maybe adding in some of the games and activities mentioned elsewhere in this Q&A and in our ‘Maths on the Go’ book. The fact that you are happy with how she’s doing will build her confidence, and solving maths problems with her in daily life (when shopping, for example) will give her strategies for problem solving.

Mike Askew adds: Sadly, one of the common misconceptions about learning maths is that speed is essential. In any group, some learners are going to be quicker than their peers, which can often, in class, turn the other pupils off - if someone else gets the answer first, then the rest of the group start to think ‘Why bother?’. This attitude won’t show up at home when you work one-to-one. Many teachers adopt ’thinking thumbs’ in classes as an alternative to ‘hands up’ - once pupils have the answer they show that they are ready by quietly putting a thumb up on the desk or against their chest. If you get on with the class teacher, perhaps you can have a chat about this.

PurpleThermalsNowIts

Winter My Ds is yr2, 6yrs old (August baby), loves maths and science but is struggling. My questions are;

1) he can add in units but whenever there's a single digit (say 102 + 8) he'll turn it into 800 or 80 instead of 008. How do I talk to him about this as he gets really upset and frustrated (he's a perfectionist so if it's not right the first time he's NEVER going to be able to do it - his tantrum).

2)how do I teach division in a fun way? I'm trying to reinforce his tables by flipping it around with division, eg 2x12=24 , 24 divided into 2=12

3) how can I relate maths into science experiments that he loves? Baking yummy things just enough enough anymore.

Rob: Your ‘loves maths’ bit is important here. It means he will be prepared to have a go and be challenged. Specific thoughts for your three questions:

1) Part of his problem is perhaps that to him numbers are abstract things that he hasn’t got a handle on. Why not turn those numbers 102 and 8 into something more tangible, like money. ‘You have 102 pence and you add 8 pence, what do you have now?’ Now he should be able to see what’s going on, and if he doesn’t, get some money out of your purse. Then go back to the abstract numbers and do another calculation, so he begins to see that the two concepts are the same.

2) You’re absolutely right to be helping him to see that division and multiplication (including times tables) are two sides of the same thing. One of the simplest ways to make dry division calculations fun is to add some silliness. I know that my kids generally much prefer it if, instead of me asking ‘What is 24 divided by 3’ I say ‘If you have 24 groddles and you are sharing them between you and your two friends, how many will you get each?’ ‘What’s a groddle, dad?’ ‘Oh, they are the most delicious sweet that was ever invented’. The calculation can then be interspersed with chat about what this perfect sweet might be like.

3) We’ve got some great examples in our book of scientific experiments you can do together: you can use a folded crisp packet to work out the height of a tree; at bathtime, work out how high you can get the squeezy duck to squirt water; if you walk diagonally across a crossroads junction instead of going across the two pedestrian crossings at right angles, ‘how much distance did you save?’. And of course science is a great opportunity to practise doing very accurate measurements of weight, height and volume – lots of maths there!

Rae1000

Hi, my question is more general & I am really hoping you can help. My daughter (year 3) struggles with maths. One of the biggest problems I find that it seems to be as soon as she has got one thing under her belt (say division) & she then moves on to times tables...she then completely forgets the division. Reall could do with some help as it baffles us. Thanks

Rob: This is a very common problem, so you are not alone. It’s easy to think that when your child has ‘done’ the four times table then that’s it, move on to the next thing. But the truth is that for these ideas to stick, you have to go back to them again and again, and practice is really important. Don’t rely on your school doing this – for things like times tables, find ways of practising these at home. In our book ‘Maths on the Go’ we have several ideas for games that you can play to revise times tables in those odd moments you have together such as waiting in the supermarket queue, or going into school. The secret is to make these light-hearted and fun, so although in a way you are testing your child, it doesn’t feel like it. When in Year 3, my son particularly enjoyed our games of ‘Who Wants to be a Mathionaire?’. I’d set a jackpot of (say) 20p. But the first question would be for a prize of something tiny, like 1/10thof a penny. ‘What’s 2 x 4?’. Every time he got a question right, the prize might double but the questions would get harder – and like the TV show he could at any point stop and take the money. The jackpot (20p) question for a Year 3 child should be one that you know they’ve been struggling with but that they can definitely get right with a bit of thought.Depending on how strong they are, that question might be‘What is 6 x 12?’ or ‘How many 5s in 35?’or ‘What is half a cake plus one third of a cake?’.

Mike Askew adds: You can also help your daughter to see connections - if you know, say, 3 x 4 = 12, then talk about how that means she also knows the answers to 4 x 3 and 12 ÷ 3 and 12 ÷ 4. But it doesn’t stop there. 3 x 4 = 12, so 30 x 40 = 1200. Play with this idea with outrageous numbers. 3000 x 4000 anyone?

We've just received the answers to your Qs from Rob Eastaway and his co-author Mike Askew and will upload them to this thread now.

Thanks to all those who joined the Q&A.

What wonky said exactly. I had no need for maths in school. I'm very literate. I didn't know my tables. Or basic addition off the top of my head and I use a calculator now. So it was all rather pointless.

I now use maths a lot at work, basic percentages, lots of excel and adding up. Manage huge budgets. And I'm good at it. Because I have a use for it, I know more.

DD age 8 Yr 4 cannot retain number facts.

Not her number bonds nor her tables.

She's an excellent speller though. And her grammar is also great. She's within top sets but because she's fairly smart and accesses curriculum with her excellent literacy skills. Maths is such a struggle and she always counts on her fingers.

What sort of help is there for this child ? Why is there so much hype about dyslexia but not dyscalculia?

My daughter has maths GCSE coming up and has always had real difficulties with maths. She works so hard but just got her mock results back and got a D. Have you any tips on maths revision and also on exam technique that can help her bring it up to a pass rate?

My daughter gets so cross in the face of any maths homework.

Before she's even given it a chance, she does random guesses and gets frustrated.

If we can get past the fury, she's normally perfectly capable of working it out but already aged 8 claims to hate maths.

If she practiced more, she'd feel more confident but how do we deal with this barrier she's already constructing?

Literacy homework she'll run off in 10 minutes, practicing the 8 times tables today took 20 mins of arguments before we got started.

I have a copy of Maths for Mums and Dads - it's really helpful. If DC need help and are saying that their teacher 'didn't explain it' I'll get the book out and go through it with them. They then seem to recognise what I am talking about and it clicks that they did learn it after all.

Before we had The Book I would be googling under the table and trying to show them in my way which isn't how it's taught anymore and we all ended up stressed and confused.

Do you do a version for secondary school maths too?

What do you feel are the key core skills for a KS1 child to have got consolidated before moving up to KS2? What would be a way to help a child who is struggling with maths and feels left behind at school as the current pace of maths on the curriculum is beyond their capabilities?

hi, my 14 yr old just received his xmas exam results & they were very bad. i don't know how to motivate him to do well & all he seems interested in is video games. he needs to up his grades if he wants to do well at GCSE level . it seems like i am constantly taking away privileges with no effect whatsoever

I should have mentioned her cousin does kumon and yes, she can parrot off all sorts of sums, but the actual routine of kumon seems to suck the joy out of it so I don't want to go down that road!

I've also got a question about my child's enthusiasm and aptitude for maths.

She's a bright girl, and thinks in a similar way to me in a lot of ways. It took me until I was about 25 to start enjoying maths, as I had to apply it in a working situation while managing some complex budgets. Until then, I always believed it "wasn't my strong point". Now I run two businesses, produce and manage tricky cash flows and also produce projections. You'd literally have knocked me over with a feather if you'd told me I'd be doing this in my teens.

My dd (8) is struggling with everything maths related. She doesn't seem to have the knowledge yet to make mental shortcuts or to retain her times tables. I know she's academically capable of learning everything she's been given, and I believe the problem lies more in her enthusiasm for the subject. She groans when there's maths related homework, and complains when they've been doing maths in class. She also thinks she's "not good at it". Having been there myself, I really want to light a spark if I can, and am actively looking for ways to do this! In younger days, I could have initiated games in the car, or at teatime and she would have eagerly joined in, but these days she's more likely to roll her eyes at me and refuse to join in.

An you suggest a couple of ways I can spark her interest, and give her a sense of achievement which might spur her on and make her want to engage more actively with numbers and maths?

I am struggling with long division. Eg 954/23 etc.

I have an entrance exam for uni and could use a system to help me work it out.

I have no issues doing other forms of maths.

Something in the back of my head says an an acronym damson?? But it's been 20 plus years since I left school...

Please help

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