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Tips on how to create positive maths experiences at home.
- Maths is everywhere. Cooking, shopping, packing things into bags and boxes, planning a journey… even the buildings all around you. The more you look, the more you will see.
- Being wrong is OK. Don’t feel bad about mistakes – they are part of learning. If you, or someone else, gets to the wrong answer, then talk about it. How did you get there? See if you can come up with a better way to work it out.
- Believe in your own ability. Everyone has the potential to understand and enjoy maths. One of the UK’s biggest problems in maths education is children ‘catching’ their parents’ own low confidence in maths. If you don’t feel confident, this is more likely to have come from your life experience than your genes. You have the ability: you’ve just not had the chance to develop it. You probably use maths more than you give yourself credit for. So avoid suggesting that people in your family aren’t good at maths. Your children will believe it, and make it come true.
- Struggling is normal and healthy. If you can’t figure something out straight away, then you’re not alone. In fact, you are sharing an experience with professional mathematicians. It’s their job to get stuck on hard problems – sometimes for years! Some hints for getting unstuck include: Keep trying, try different methods, and try explaining what you don’t understand to someone else.
- Talking about ‘how’ is interesting. Different people bring different talents to maths – and solve problems in different ways. If you ask someone else how they worked something out, you’ll learn something – even if you were both right.