Last year, at Christmas, I went with my husband and children to see the Compendium of Reason at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. This is 3 hour extravaganza of music, comedy and science put on by Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince of The Infinite Monkey Cage. Brian Cox is, of course, known for presenting Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, amongst other things. He is a gifted orator with a talent for sharing his love of science.
Would you, however, be surprised to know that Prof Cox got a D at A Level Maths? He is quoted as saying “I was really not very good…. I found out you need to practise”. As, a maths teacher, it is a quote I trot out time and again, to both students and parents.
Why do I do this? Because Prof Cox is right, you need to practise maths. It`s a bit like learning to drive. The driving lesson is only one part of the process, you need to get in the car between lessons and put those things you have learned into practice. Every time you drive the car you are strengthening and extending your understanding of your new learning. I suggest to parents that half an hour`s maths practice three to four times a week will greatly increase their child`s understanding of maths (and increase the chance of said parent`s investment in lessons bringing the required result). Often there is a reluctance to do this as far as parents are concerned because they don`t want to create unnecessary friction at homework time (as if it isn`t stressful enough) but if you can convince your child to practise between their tutoring sessions you and they may well be surprised at how this improves their learning.