The best way to learn about maths

What is the best way to learn about maths?

I had a difficult day on the home education front as I tried to teach maths to my daughter.

It got me thinking about what is the best way to learn about maths.


I look back and I remember playing shops with my Mum before starting school. I also remember having a little blue circular container for holiday savings. Mum went mad when she found out I had being dipping in regularly for Chewitts so there was not much left at all by the time the holiday came round. An early and valuable lesson about saving, spending and the need to budget for special occasions.

Moving onto primary school, the only clear memory I have is of doing regular speed tests in arthimetic. At the same age, my daughter according to Key Stage 2 needs to know about numerals, digits, integers, graphs, percentages, fractions and a whole lot more besides. I learned about integers this week for the first time as far as I can recall.

At secondary school, I hated maths lessons more and more as the years rolled by. I could see no point in most of what we were learning. I was bamboozled when numbers became letters in algebra. I was more interested in chunky chicken pie than Pi. I used to spend maths lessons moving my ruler about so that light would appear on the blackboard and distract the teacher. I still managed a disappointing but adequate B grade in my O-Level.

At university, when I got into money trouble, I knew Dad would write a cheque or the bank would lend me money. My only real concern about figures was how college could justify charging 20 pence for a portion of vegetables.

In my working life, if any job description mentioned financial management, I would avoid it like the plague. I did help families with their budgets and carry out calculations of welfare benefits and debt repayments whilst working as an advice worker.

In a later job, a boss said quite casually that I had a learning difficulty around numbers. She was bright so presumably knew what she was talking about.

At the moment, my children are doing daily worksheets on maths set by myself and guided by Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum requirements.

My daugther loves art and I have learned this week that there are ways to harness that passion to get numeracy across to her. My son, like his Dad, is keen on maths anyway so they work together a lot.

Both children are using maths games online too which captures their imaginations.

We bake which involves loads of maths and we go shopping comparing prices in different stores, working out how much things add up to and how much change we are due.

What is the best way to learn about maths? I still don’t have the answer but finally I am enjoying finding out and think we are making progress as a family with this topic.

Are your memories of learning maths good or bad?

How do you help your children with numeracy?

What do we really need maths wise to succeed in the real world?

1 Comment

  1. Nikki Thomas November 8, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    I was ok at maths when I was at school but it was never something I found easy. My boys luckily follow their father and are really good at it, I am beyond being able to help them, but I always consult Google and try and work through it with them, if Dad’s not around. There are a lot of areas of maths that we don’t use again as adults but I suppose it depends on your job. I find that trying to show the kids in a fun or interactive way can be the best way to engage them, they also love math sites on the computer such as Sumdog.
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…Christmas Gift Guide – Mums and DadsMy Profile

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