Living Maths

I thought I would kick off my new blog page with a few words on how I feel about maths! Although I hold excellent grades in maths at both GCSE and A-level, I am not confident with it and so have not found it easy to implement at home. I personally have to understand something before I can recall and use it and I don't really understand a lot of the higher maths that I did, I simply learned the formulae by rote and passed the exams! To try and change that I have bought a very good book entitled 'Mathematics Explained for primary teachers (4th edition) by Derek Haylock. It explains the history and meaning behind maths and how to show children how to use and apply it. I am not reading it cover to cover but dipping in and out when a new topic comes up and I have found that it really helps me present ideas to the girls in a precise and simple manner and answer their questions. I really don't want to confuse them with the wrong thing and neither do I want to blandly follow a paper curriculum doing things 'because the book says so'!

I initially looked at the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 but found it a bewildering list of terminology that I didn't always get. It also made for a prescriptive and disjointed curriculum that repeated itself often. As is so often the case, the NC did not suit a home education situation so I moved on. I looked at a few books but again found them quite bland and then I stumbled across Mama Jenn's blog and specifically her Living Math book list (click on the button to the right to take a look). I was inspired to try this method with the girls, and it has worked really well. I intended to blog about them as we went through the books that I selected but writing the posts went by the wayside some time ago. I am going to try again to log our learning and collect the blog post links here to make it easy for anyone who interested to browse the links and resources I have used!

A final observation about maths at home is that things that are 'taught' in school seem to come naturally to children that have the time to be inquisitive and explore things. For example, patterning, sequencing, measuring, weighing, fractions, times tables, time, money and more are things that our children have learned through using them in real situations and by being interested in them. I tell you this as I have often stressed that we 'don't do enough' maths but then I reflect and see how much they can do and it reminds me to relax a bit! Hopefully if you are worrying too, you will worry a little less now!