Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

09 March 2011


Hi Everyone,

Today I'll share what I know about Mathematics. I readily admit maths is not my forte, but I did manage to homeschool my daughter sufficiently well for her to make the transition to a year 10 school maths curriculum with ease earlier this year. This shows it can be done, even if you're not a highschool maths teacher :)

The Education Authorities have fairly universal and clear guidelines regarding expected mathematics outcomes for children of different ages.Basically the areas expected to be covered in a maths programme are:

Exploring, analyzing and modelling data
Pattern and algebraic reasoning
Spatial sense and geometric reason
Terminology and symbols

Providing concrete mathematics experiences for the young child tends to be easy, as most maths programmes start off this way, or you can create your own experiences. For example, exploring, analyzing and modelling data is simply collecting information about things and recording this by graphing them.

For the younger child, this may mean looking at how many birds they saw on the walk to the shop. At home you may discuss how many were blue? how many red? then represent this by glueing different coloured paper, feathers, or whatever on a piece of card.

For the middle years child, simply alter this according to their ability (traffic survey, survey people's food/music preferences etc) and use different methods of recording for different types of graphs (bar chart, pie chart etc). Perhaps get into posing questions and predicting/testing outcomes to keep things interesting.

For the older (13+ year old) child, data will encompass posing questions, sampling and population, interpreting data, cumulative frequency, finding the median, mean and mode etc. Which is basically like the younger child's curriculum in more depth.

All of the subject areas may be dealt with in a concrete way...cooking, art, crafts are fantastic ways to develop numeracy, measurement, pattern, spatial sense and terminology, it's all in how you present things. If you're creative you can make maths a hands on experience well into the upper primary years.

For the 13+ year old child, I have found that a good quality text book is the easiest way of ensuring complete coverage of the year's requirements. Alternatively, Math-U-See, Maths On Line and Mathletics have all been given rave reviews by a variety of people I know...it just depends whether you and your child work best with books, by touch, by online (one way) tutorials or interactively online. Personally, we used the Zone Textbooks for Alexandra and she enjoyed that as she's quite booky and prefers pen and paper to computers.

Just remember, there are many options for mathematics and it really is worth investigating your choices before you spend a lot on a curriculum.

Talk Soon, Cynthia x