My daughter hates maths

(14 Posts)
Oakmaiden Tue 05-Jan-16 17:34:21

I don't think she is my child, really. I mean, how can she hate maths?

To make it worse, I am a Primary teacher and did my PGCE research project on children's enjoyment of maths.

But she is in Year 7, and hates maths. Any ideas for things I can do to help her change her attitude towards it? (She is actually very capable at maths - borderline level 5/6, getting A* as her grades in school so far - but I want her to have a positive attitude to it, not one of disgust...)

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 05-Jan-16 18:48:58

Wish I could help, but have similar problem, my DS hates English and reading in particular, I love reading and find it so frustrating. He hasn't read a book out of choice since he finished the reading scheme. He is top set and good at all aspects of English except for imaginative writing, even here he holds his own. I have tried all different sorts of books, reading to him (he prefers me to read lists of things to him, like top 50 longest rivers etc), audio books, etc, it hasn't worked and tbh I am in a long phase of having given up, perhaps I'll try again when I think of a new approach. DS quite likes maths, but prefers geography and history.

maybebabybee Tue 05-Jan-16 18:50:10

I hated maths too confused Quite a few kids hate it,don't they? Is it much of an issue as long as they plod along OK?

Pipestheghost Tue 05-Jan-16 18:53:24

4 dc's 2 liked maths and 2 hated it, I hated it too, I think it's pretty common.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 05-Jan-16 19:01:24

Do you know why she hates it? Eg is the pace too slow so it's boringly easy? Or is she having to work/ think for the first time and struggling with the fact she isn't just coasting at the top? Or maybe in that cohort she's at the bottom and struggling to keep up? Or perhaps just the topic they are covering doesn't interest her? Because all of those are problems you can solve.

If however it's nothing more than not enjoying it, then except for discussing how it's a necessary evil and she doesn't have much choice till post gcse, not much you can do. It's possible to have natural talent/ ability in something and not enjoy it in the slightest.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Tue 05-Jan-16 19:42:21

As Lurked says try to find out what ‘hate’ means. Is maths easy but dull for your DD or very challenging and she’s working flat out to get the A*s?

Has she always hated maths or is this a new development?

Is her teacher a bit uninspiring, or perhaps hasn’t put the maths they are doing into context – explained to them how it might be applied in real life - so it all just seems a bit pointless?

To be honest, I think maths is quite tedious in the early stages – and I say that as a maths aficionado! It does turn into a more interesting and creative subject later on. Unfortunately, not so many people stick at it for long enough to find that out.

If there's a latent talent there, but the classwork seems repetitive and boring, maybe your DD would like to try some of the UKMT junior maths challenge problems.

Greenleave Tue 05-Jan-16 20:20:54

@Milk, most boys like comic books(or stories with illustrated pics), Eg. A wrinkle in time, try couple to see if he changes??

Bolognese Tue 05-Jan-16 20:37:20

Could she dislike how the teacher deals with the subject? Is she rebelling against your focus on it? I do worry that in the UK there is an attitude that it is acceptable/good to hate maths. Anyone good at maths does seem to be turned off at the slow pace of teaching. Everyone equal at the bottom has been a disaster for the UK.

The more you push it the more she will dislike it, so dont push it for a while. Luckily she is good at maths. Maybe you need to hide the maths behind linguistic puzzles and over time reward those successes so she starts to associate mathematical problem solving with something pleasant.

kjwh Tue 05-Jan-16 20:44:25

Despite being very good at Maths (over 90% in tests etc), our son has a love-hate relationship with the subject, which we realised is simply down to the teacher. He loved it in year 7 and again now in year 9, but year 8 was horrid with him not even wanting to go to school on a Maths lesson day. He just didn't gel with the teacher at all in year 8, complaining of boring lessons, being picked on, etc. Now he's got a different teacher and is proudly showing off new skills to us each week. Really hard to believe that different teachers can have such a huge impact. We're really hoping he doesn't get the yr 8 teacher again for his GCSEs as he'll be kissing goodbye to a decent grade!

MidLifeCrisis007 Tue 05-Jan-16 20:48:38

I wonder if your DC feels some pressure to perform in maths given your background.

IMHO Maths isn't made relevant enough. I think loads of kids feel they are failures at it - but many of them just aren't applying themselves properly. If you include algebraic equations full of Xs and Ys, the eyes of so many kids just glaze over.

If you then present those equations in a different way, in a language that they identify with, they suddenly get it... i.e. Compare these 2 mobile phone contracts and work out which is cheaper for you. In Contract One a text is 0.1p, a call to another mobile is 2p a minute, and a MB of data is 10p and in Contract Two.... etc then I bet you most kids in year 7 or above will get the answer straight away!

OutwiththeOutCrowd Tue 05-Jan-16 21:12:55

What about code cracking?

There was an interesting competition involving cracking a secret code that coincided with the release of the Imitation Game film about the mathematician Alan Turing.

www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/cryptography_competition_the_imitation_game/index.php?loc=code1

I think your DD would be able to tackle the first secret message. It requires the ability to spot patterns and to think logically – so a bit like being a mathematician but in a linguistic context as mentioned by Bolognese.

I thought it was fun. And, as the competition is officially over now, the solution is available if you get stuck!

It's also perfectly okay not to like maths and to do well enough without turning it into a hobby - I just want to stress that too. I've got a DS in Y9 and I do understand the temptation to put a lot of focus on a subject that you yourself like!

Oakmaiden Tue 05-Jan-16 22:07:49

I don't think she is especially talented at maths, to be honest. She has good functional skills, but doesn't seem to have a real flair, in contrast to English which she loves and finds easy to excel in. She says it is just boring. Sometimes difficult, but she acknowledges she is fairly good at it, but boring. This attitude has been increasing I would say throughout KS2, and has been carried with her into secondary school.

I do think it is important that it isn't considered OK for children to hate maths, though. It can be fun and fascinating, but as Bolognese says, there is a societal attitude which says it is something it is OK to dislike and be "bad" at. I think this disadvantages girls in particular. As a teacher I plan maths particularly carefully to make sure it makes sense and is interesting - but obviously I am not her teacher and don't want to subject her to extra lessons in order to convince her to "like" it! I think that would probably backfire!

Thank you those who have suggested puzzles and codes. She does like secret codes, so that is a good start!

BarbarianMum Thu 07-Jan-16 13:16:39

Bear in mind your love of maths and your determination that she shouldn't hate it (for the very good reasons that you state) will make it the perfect battle ground for her to assert her independence. I recommend a very softly, softly approach.

t875 Thu 07-Jan-16 14:57:40

Is there anything via the school she can get extra help? Maybe boks from amazon might help. Focas on what she knows too and work on what she doesn't know! Good luck x

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