Gazing at your precious newborn bundle in your arms or watching your toddler race around the playground, it seems impossible that one day they will cause you to swear quietly to yourself when they ask “Mum, what’s the difference between mode, median, mean and range?” (Cue breaking out in a sweat now).
Maths. Not my strong point. When I was little I would ask my parents to explain things over and over again. I’ve been reminded of that recently as my eight-year-old son is tackling a new area of mathematics at school. He asked for help on some homework problems and despite explaining things numerous times, we were not getting far. I’d decided that I wasn’t doing a very good job of putting it into language that he could understand, confirmed when his teacher said “We describe the numbers in ‘groups’….” Which, in the context, made perfect sense. Light bulb moment for mother and son.
Knowing this would not be my last brush with maths homework, I did a little research and found Maths for Mums and Dads by Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew. Parents, regardless of how old your kids are, get this book now. Prime numbers, fractions and long division never change (so this book won’t ‘date’) and even if you’re a maths whiz, Eastaway and Askew help decode modern teaching methods and terms.
The book covers a huge range of topics including ‘chunking’; ‘partitioning’; decimals and place value; long multiplication and long division; percentages, ratios and fractions; and basic geometry, shapes, symmetry and angles. Helpfully, each section lists the common problems children have with particular topics and how to solve them. For example, children getting their heads around fractions should think in terms of food -
“There are some who reckon that pizzas were invented purely as a means of introducing fractions…”
The book includes games, puzzles and sample questions and is peppered with some humorous examples of children’s errors -
“Q. What is the difference between 9 and 4?
A. The 9 is curvy but the 4 is all strait lines.”
Although the book is based on schooling levels in the United Kingdom, it makes no difference once you’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of how to remember times-tables. The information is relevant for children aged five and over.
Find Maths for Mums and Dads at Book Depository.