News From Orkney Islands Council
A new Community Learning Class is starting in March :- Maths for Parents.
The two-hour sessions are aimed at parents/carers of students nearing the end of Primary or in the first few years of Secondary School who feel they might need a confidence boost when trying to help with homework.
Rachel Crooks who is running the class said:
“The Maths for Parents course is to refresh attendees’ skills and improve their confidence in using maths. My background is in engineering, so I feel I’m fairly competent with maths but when I decided to enter a career in teaching, I needed to refresh some of the skills I had in school but had not used since. It wasn’t because I wasn’t capable of doing the maths it was due to me not doing it in a while. I believe if I feel like that, even though I have a degree in engineering, there will be lots of other people who feel the same.
“So whether you would like a reminder of how to do some of the maths you did at school or whether you would like to be able to help your children with their homework, this course should hopefully benefit you.”
This is the first time Miss Crooks has run this course and we hope it will be well attended. There will be two sessions held at Stromness Academy that parents can sign up to, each taking a maximum of 30 people. It’s free to attend but you must book the class in advance.
For more information please check out our Community Learning Guide using this link.
To book a place on the class click here.
First step – remove all aids (calculators, computers, log-tables, slide-rules, etc) until ‘BASIC PRINCIPLES’ are understood. I also believe that great benefits can be gained in learning how to use the Abacus and mental arithmetic should never be ignored. Never forget that it was the old tried and tested methods that got Apollo to the moon, navigated across the oceans, etc and the calculator in most student’s bags have more and faster computing power than those astronauts on Apollo had at their disposal!!!
There’s always a story……….
Years ago, I was helping my Great-niece with her homework. She was maybe 7 or 8 years old, and her task was to write, and spell correctly, words beginning with Th. How we worked it was – she was to try to think of words, maybe with a bit of help, then, again with a bit of help, she’d write them in her copy-book.
We got Thing, These, Thistle, and, being Ireland, Thatch – though I did need to explain that to her – the old ways are being forgotten – so it was worth taking the opportunity to talk about thatch.
Having found our ten words, she showed me her previous exercise, which had been to find ten words beginning with Sh.
She had Shirt, Shake, Shoe, and………….Shit! Seriously. Each word had a tick next to it, and, at the end of the exercise, her teacher had written “Good work, Emma.”
Presumably, the teacher’s eyes had just scanned the words, registering Sh at the beginnings, ticked them all, and said ‘good work’!
I explained to Emma that, though Shit does begin with Sh, it is considered to be a swearword, and she could get into bother for using it.
This caused a lot of discussion, as she couldn’t see why the teacher had ticked it, if it was ‘wrong’. We batted this back and forth for a bit, and then decided to leave it with the idea that teachers aren’t necessarily infallible, and that maybe ‘Miss’ had been a bit tired.
If this story has a point, it’s that all the grown-ups need to work with the young ones – the teachers and the folk at home, or even, as in this case, just visiting.
It takes a joint effort, and the grown-ups might need to check on each other, as much as they need to check on the kids!
This course sounds like a good idea, as many people find it hard to help children, or young people, with homework, or even just general questions, as the information available is different to, or has out-stripped, what they learnt when they were young.
Then the children think the grown-ups don’t know much, and turn to their dratted machine again, whilst the older ones feel a bit…………inadequate, and might give up trying to help. And so another form of contact between people in families, can be lost.
They don’t eat their meals together, they don’t do homework together, they don’t watch telly together……………..
I remember, many years ago, when calculators first ‘got going’, having a big argument with someone who thought they were unequivocally marvellous, because I foresaw that people would lose the ability to do arithmetic for themselves. Especially children – if the calculator did it all for them, from the start, they would lose the ability, or even, never have the ability, to do it for themselves.
I can’t do mental arithmetic, never could – my brain isn’t wired right for that – but I can work things out with a piece of paper and a pencil. As far as I can see, a lot of young ones can’t do that now.