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Boosting my own Maths knowledge to support DC at secondary school

(16 Posts)
Teddygirlonce Thu 02-Nov-17 07:16:40

Not sure if this is really the right place to post but as it's to do with supporting DC at secondary school...

For all that I have two degrees, I had quite a fragmented early education which leaves me with gaping holes/knowledge deficits in some subjects (Sciences and Maths most noticeably). For example, I never learned to do equations (as I moved from a school where we'd not even started learning them to one where they'd already been taught them - I was in Year 10 when I moved). I got a C in Maths but I count myself as being lucky to have passed first time around TBQH (it was a fluke!).

I am fine with day-to-day Maths and managed to complete a post-grad course which included statistical analysis so I don't think I'm beyond help.

DC1 reached beyond my knowledge in Year 7 but we were never able to give him the support he needed later on to GCSE 'Higher' level - he got a 6 (but really should have done much better). DC2 hates Maths (although not bad at it from what I can tell) BUT I am almost reaching the end of the line with the help I can offer to support her. Yesterday evening I had to spend half an hour revising how to work out volumes/surface areas of things like trapeziums (I'm okay with the basic shapes like cuboids) before trying to explain it to her. It was starting to pickle my brain (until I found Dr Khan's Academy which I did find useful).

Bottom line is that I'd like to be able to improve my own Maths to support DC2. I don't have a 'can't do' attitude and as an adult I can understand some principles that I didn't get as a child/teenager. So how could I expand my Maths ability (to fill in the gaps) without having to do a course which takes me back to the extreme basics (which I can already do)? Any suggestions?

Iris65 Thu 02-Nov-17 07:22:23

Have you found the CGP GCSE revision books yet? They are brilliant summaries. There's another YouTube channel too that I'll post.

Iris65 Thu 02-Nov-17 07:26:24

HEGARTYMATHS on YouTube is great.

flamingnoravera Thu 02-Nov-17 07:50:03

Kahn Academy Maths is a fab online learning system, it helps you pinpoint the areas to work on and then takes you through how to solve problems with lots of practice.

Teddygirlonce Thu 02-Nov-17 08:02:12

Thanks for your help Iris65 and flamingnoraver. Maybe I will just have to learn alongside DC2. Did find Kahn Academy Maths very helpful and DD did seem to benefit from watching the video too.

Equations may be my Waterloo yet though. DC2 had some t'other week which I could help her with BUT I recall - from being at a little more advanced stage with DC1 in Year 7 some years ago - that there seemed to be a 'leap' from what I could understand to what I couldn't???? Maybe I just hadn't found the right online help?

I invested in those Carol Vorderman 'how to' books some years ago but find them too basic really (and that's not really where I have the issues!).

Obviously I need to go back to secondary school for Maths!!! When I was at school we didn't even cover stats, percentages etc...until Year 7/8 and now they've already done that in Year 5/6.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 02-Nov-17 09:19:58

Equations. Whatever you do to one side you have to do to the other. It is like old fashioned scales, they have to keep balancing.

So if you have y + 5 = 12
then you want to get y on its own so you have to subtract 5 from the left side. So you also have to subtract 5 from the right.

y = 12 -5
y = 7

Everything else stems from this principle.

So if you have s = ut + 0.5at^2 and you need to rearrange to make a the subject of the equation.
First you need to get rid of that ut which is on the same side as the a
s-ut = 0.5at^2
Then that 0.5 is annoying so multiply by 2 to get rid of it
2(s-ut)=at^2
Now get rid of the t^2 by dividing by it
2(s-ut)/t^2 = a
Then pick everything up and swap sides as you want a on the left
a=2(s-ut)/t^2
Piece of cake.

Personally in your situation I'd be tempted to buy Ks3 and KS4 revision guides and go through them. If you have 2 degrees you could be able to do it yourself?

Iris65 Thu 02-Nov-17 15:17:18

We weren't taught algebra until year 9. Now they are introducing algebra in year 5!

Teddygirlonce Fri 03-Nov-17 10:08:28

Thanks for all your suggestions - I shall go off to do my homework and report back in due course to tell you how I'm getting on.

Naturally I'm probably more mathematically inclined than I give myself credit for but the glaring gaps in knowledge are a worry for being able to help DC2 over the coming five years.

Ironically, for all that DC2 reckons she's 'hopeless' and hates Maths, I've got this feeling she could well end up with a better grasp of the subject AND get a better result than any other member of our household (not difficult)!

OutwiththeOutCrowd Fri 03-Nov-17 12:23:41

Finding x isn’t as difficult as you think, although perhaps not quite as trivial as a certain student apparently thought …

You’ve probably got more of a psychological block when it comes to maths than an intellectual one. Free yourself from the negative self-talk! Your maths studies were disrupted by a school move and you missed out on some vital teaching. Of course this would impact on your skill level, as it would anybody’s.

I do understand lacking confidence in maths. I have a twin DB who is exceptionally good at maths and it has given me all sorts of feelings of inadequacy around the subject. But I actually find I enjoy it when I stop being self-conscious about my maths abilities and concentrate on the maths itself.

There was a guy called Rob Eastaway who came on MN for a web chat about maths and maths teaching a while back. He has written a couple of books with a colleague called Maths for Mums and Dads (for helping younger children) and More Maths for Mums and Dads (for helping teens).

I have not used the books myself but thought they looked interesting as they cover how to help with maths as a parent as well as just straight maths.

It might also be useful to go through a copy of the KS3 and KS4 curricula along with revision guides such as those mentioned earlier to pinpoint the areas you need to work on. If you can fully identify the nature of a problem, you are already half way to solving it!

ParadiseCity Fri 03-Nov-17 12:25:55

Our secondary school runs maths courses for parents. It is a brilliant school I have to say. No use to me as they have always clashed with other stuff but really helpful of the school.

onewhitewhisker Fri 03-Nov-17 15:57:20

I'm currently working my way through Maths for Mums and Dads and finding it very helpful in supporting year 5 DS with homework. As well as explaining the actual maths it goes into the rationale for why things are taught the way they are now and how things differ from how parents might remember them from their own schooldays. I'm not familiar with the sequel though.

wangxiaosara Sun 05-Nov-17 21:22:16

I did the adult learning GCSE maths (1 year part time) in order to support my ds. That was well worth it!

JustRichmal Mon 06-Nov-17 08:11:40

I used the CGP and Letts guides to teach dd.

If building confidence, let your dd know she does not have to understand new topics straight away. Often it takes a time or two. Your subconscious works on it if you have a bit of a break and the same topic seems much easier when you return to it.

You could let your dcs know you are learning with them. Working things out together will deepen their understanding.

marcopront Tue 07-Nov-17 18:10:10

Does the school use www.mymaths.com? If so you should be able to use the school login to access their lessons.

Crumbs1 Tue 07-Nov-17 18:17:55

Have some sessions with an online tutor? Alpha tutors are good and not expensive. I think it’s a really good thing to do.

Teddygirlonce Thu 09-Nov-17 17:01:02

Yes DD's school does use www.mymaths.com so that is one avenue of learning for me for sure. However, think my knowledge may need to be embedded a bit more so that I understand what I'm trying to support her with. I'm on the case though!

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