Maths?!?


Maths?!? Oh my golly! The very word fills me with dread!
Whilst he loves Science, my Little Einstein can’t stand Maths, and refuses to believe that the two go hand-in-hand. He will do everything he can think of to avoid a Maths lesson – sudden cramps and stomach-ache, an urgent need to go to the toilet, starving hunger, a headache, itchy eyes … you name it and I’ve heard it! A Maths lesson inevitably ends with him in tears and me with a raging headache!
Maths is a mountain, and rather than face the challenge of trying to climb over it, Little Einstein will try to find the route around it – though there may be tigers and snakes in the jungle at the bottom and raging rivers filled with crocodiles to cross.
When we walked out of school earlier in the year, we collected all his books and took them with us. When I opened his Maths exercise books I found no  more than 3 or 4 half-completed pages of work had been done – for the whole of the first term!
This is an ongoing battle – one to which I am still seeking a solution.
In spite of the battle, Little Einstein’s Maths has improved rather dramatically, and I credit this to the curriculum we are using.
When we set out on the homeschooling road, I was advised by a fellow homeschooler and former Maths teacher to try MEP Maths.
The Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) has been developed over some years by the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT) at the University of Exeter, and is available online for free download. It is based on the teaching strategies employed in Hungary and other mathematically high performing countries.
For each year there are practice books, detailed lesson plans, and copy masters to be used in lessons
MEP aims to make all pupils mathematical thinkers and to make mathematics lessons challenging and fun for both teachers and pupils. 
Whilst Little Einstein still hates Maths, he does admit that the MEP Maths is far more fun than school Maths ever was.
Take a look at it here.
Times Tables are a big issue for us – I still remember mine 40 years down the line, but Little Einstein has a huge mental block and just cannot seem to get them into his head.
Something that helped, and that he loved doing (until he reached the “mountain” part of the game that is) is a wonderful multiplication game called “Timez Attack. You can download a free “base” version of the game here.
They have just released a division version of the game, and plan to release addition and subtraction versions around Christmas time this year. There is also a base version of the division game available for free download. Upgrades are available for purchase.
Something else that I have found hugely helpful is Caroline Mukisa’s “Maths Insider”. She offers great advice and super links to other helpful sites. If you subscribe to her newsletter, you also receive a free e-book “Yes! You Can Be Your Child’s Maths Tutor!”
Hopefully someone else can find these resources helpful, and if anyone has any suggestions how to get Little Einstein to fly over his mountain, I would be eternally grateful!

4 thoughts on “Maths?!?

  1. thanks for the link to MEP Maths, plan to use some of it for my son who wrote his first IGCSE Maths exam today. I see they go up to A levels so it will be helpful for him 🙂

  2. WoW, I’m glad to see I’m not alone in the “Dreading Maths” boat. Fortunately we’ve been able to conquer much of our 3rd Grader’s lack of confidence with Teaching Textbooks and FREE online as well as downloadable maths games for PC and iPad. Making Maths fun has made a huge difference in our school days.

  3. We just had a sort of breakthrough on multiplication tables yesterday, after trying just about everything. I posted about it this morning, if you’re interested. (I think my son liked it because it involved sitting on my lap and cuddling while memorizing.) Anyway, since you homeschool, maybe you can work a little math into his everyday life, like while cooking or doing other household things. If you look out for it, opportunities to relate to math will pop up around every little corner. He might get tired of it after a while, and roll his eyes, but just remind him that incidental teaching and learning is way more fun than sitting down to a workbook, and it takes just moments of his time instead of an hour! As an added benefit, he’ll get to see that math really does have a bearing on real-life situations.

    • Hi there!
      Thanks for the visit and the advice! (I am about to go and see your post about your multiplication breakthrough).
      Yes, he does go shopping with me (but prefers to try and gap it to the toy aisle to see what’s new rather than keeping a tally of my shopping), and he helps with cooking (but would rather lick the bowls than work out measurements), etc. etc. We do try!

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