I do get the idea of teaching children different strategies for maths. I don’t think having more than one way of working things out, especially for mental maths does any harm. I can also see that some children might do better for different strategies than others.
The thing is that by the end of Year 5 they have to know the old-fashioned way that all the parents were taught at school. I know in my son’s case it would have meant a lot less stress if we had gone straight to that. How he hated number lines. So did I to be truthful. They seemed pointless and he hated having to draw all the lines. Doing sums with a number line took 3 or 4 times as long as other ways. Often he’d already done the sums in his head before he picked up the pencil. It was just silly. Maybe some children like them, but I remain to be convinced.
The grid method is one I personally loathe. I spent an hour of my life on YouTube trying to work out a way of using it with decimals. I don’t know if you can. I still don’t. Everyone doing their nice little YouTube tutorials picked nice easy sums. We didn’t have any problems doing the easy ones, we wanted help with the difficult ones. It wasn’t there. I gave up and taught my son long multiplication. It worked.
That’s the thing. It works. Once you have learnt it, you will have that skill for life. It works every time and can cope with whatever you throw at it. And in any case they’ll use a calculator for the really complex stuff. Why not just teach long multiplication and if some kids don’t get it you can teach them something different? Then they’ll be able to do long multiplication in Year 3 or 4 rather than Year 5 and can move onto something else.
The other day we were out and I saw a primary school age child with those ‘hair tattoos’. You know the sort of thing where they have a pattern shaved into their hair. It was still sharp and clear as if recently done, but he was likely to be going back to school soon. Now it might be that his school don’t mind that sort of thing or that he isn’t at school for some reason, but most schools don’t like them.
Every year in September we hear stories of parents up in arms because their child has the wrong hair do (or the wrong shoes or whatever) and there is some sort of school sanction about the problem hairstyle/clothes/shoes. I never understand why. Surely if you are doing something out of the ordinary, you check the rules first and don’t complain later. Usually the rules are pretty clear and if there is any doubt, you can give the school a ring before school breaks up. Or do something at the start of the holidays so that it has the chance to grow out, wash out before back to school. It seems pretty simple to me. Am I missing something?
Some of the rules are silly and others you might simply disagree with, but the rules are what they are. Either campaign to change them if you feel strongly about them or put up with them. Don’t encourage your child to break the rules or give in to pressure to buy unsuitable clothes, just stick to the guidelines and save yourselves the hassle of being picked up on it. It also sets a decent example to your children for the future. Obviously some parents will ignore the rules anyway and they are probably the same bunch who park illegally outside the school.
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Every year our primary school gives the Year 6s a bit of a send off. Usually the last part of this is a bubble extravaganza on the school field. One year it also involved a balloon release. I thought that they had stopped doing this, but I was dismayed this year to see balloons coming out with the Year 6 children.
It might seem like being a bit of a killjoy to say it shouldn’t happen, but I think it is something that should be stopped. All balloons return to earth as litter, so by sending off a balloon you are doing the same thing as deliberately dropping a crisp packet – that isn’t a very good thing to encourage children to do. Even biodegradable balloons take several years to decompose and they could easily kill an animal before that. Sadly many animals see parts of burst balloons as tasty food and that can be a mistake that can kill them. To be honest if a balloon release kills just one animal, it isn’t worth doing and it isn’t the way to look back fondly on your school career.
Another problem with balloon releases is the use of helium. Helium is a finite resource and has important scientific and medical uses, but at the rate we are using it, it could be all gone within a generation. That isn’t a good legacy either is it?
It really saddened me to see that children were being encouraged to release the balloons or being given them at parties and so on. We don’t buy balloons ourselves, although we do sometimes use air-filled balloons, but we always dispose of them safely. I wouldn’t feel happy buying a helium filled balloon and I’m amazed how many people do it routinely.
Over the last few weeks I’ve unfollowed 3 people on Facebook. I’m still officially friends with them as I wasn’t looking to cause offence. I don’t really want a lot to do with these people, but neither do I want any awkwardness. Maybe that’s a bit cowardly, but I unfollowed them because I didn’t want to be exposed to things that I didn’t like to reduce my stress levels.
One had been brewing for a while, but the sharing of the nonsense around ‘using a pen’ for voting as a serious post, was the last straw for me. Another shared a petition against the BBC. I do think there has been a lot of uncalled for BBC bashing, but it wasn’t the petition that I objected to so much. She seemed to have some friends who turned it into a bit of a bigoted discussion about the referendum and she did nothing to counter it. I was a bit disappointed and decided to call it a day, although maybe I was a bit harsh.
The other was someone who I thought was a nice, tolerant person, partly because they had health issues that I thought might make them more accepting of others. It didn’t seem to be the case post-referendum sadly, so I cut the news feed.
I’m a bit sad to do this in a way. It’s not that I have any objection to seeing differing points of view, far from it. If someone believes in something and can say why in a way that isn’t bigoted, then I have no issue with that. I have been sorry to see so much prejudiced stuff, but I guess I should count myself lucky that I have only had 3 people in my news feed that I take issue with. This seems pretty good when you consider I have a few hundred friends on Facebook. It also feels pretty good compared to my American cousin’s posts about things like gun control and gay rights. He gets a lot of nonsense said back to him and I find some of it offensive on his behalf.