Sunday, May 14, 2006

I hate Mathematics

Today I didn't get up till very late, due to the fact that I didn't go to bed until very very late. I had planned to mark the children's maths work. It's something I rarely do. They follow a maths system called Singapore Maths, and it's very good. I'm not mathematically minded at all and so I just let them get on with it. They do 40 minutes of maths every day. I took them both down a year in the subject because I felt that they hadn't really understood their last year at school and I wanted to consolidate that year before heading on to new pastures, so to speak. The books are self explanatory - the exercise book explains how to do the sums, and then they work in the work book practicing what they have learnt. I have told Sam that if he wants to start High School in September he needs to get himself up to the stage that he should be at in Maths, even if that means working on it through the summer. He said he was fine with that. But this morning I sat down to look through their maths books. Jude, being a lover of rules and routine, has worked through the books at a slow and steady pace. She is meticulous about answering every question and she takes a long time on her maths. Sam, on the other hand, races through each question as if the book is going to self combust within a certain time. There were pages of workbook which he just didn't bother to do, just left them blank. He obviously isn't reading the exercise book which explains what to do, and is just going through the workbook - because sometimes he gets his answers right, but not using the method explained in the textbook. He answer the sums in a long winded way, when its much easier another way. I feel really guilty about this because I should have been checking it more regularly - rather than trusting that he was working conscientiously. So tomorrow I must start the arduous task of sitting with him at maths time and working through these things with him. He's not going to like it one bit. But I've decided not to be cross with him, as I'm as much to blame. I hate marking their maths work. Instead of marking it every day like I should (I just don't get time) I leave it until there is a mountain to mark and it takes me hours. That'll teach me. Now I will have to spend a precious 40 minutes every day doing maths with the kids. Argh - the thought of it! I guess it will be very rewarding when I see them progressing with it.

1 comment:

Davy said...

Maths is one of those subjects you either like or you don't. And of course if you're a normal well-adjusted individual, you don't.

Apparently in 1763, some bloke called Matt Ematics noticed that the kids in his school playground were having too much fun, so he invented a new subject which was totally pointless unless you were a civil engineer or something and made them all learn it. The kid with the glasses in the corner like it but everybody else hated it. And they still teach it today just to annoy kids everywhere.

But it's not completely pointless of course. If you're bored waiting for a train, you can watch the other trains in the station, measure their velocity, multiply it by pie r squared or something and find out exactly what time they're going to arrive in Cullybackey. Alternatively, you could get a life.