New Maths Methods

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.

Hair Styles And Back To School

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.