Saturday, 20 August 2011

Maths- our journey

I have often wondered how would you write a post about Maths. Well my friend Sue has  encouraged me to write my own story.
I was never a wonderful Maths student. I was however, great at reciting my timetables . Great. At least I could do that. Then I was taught in the learn thing by Rote era.
So I wondered through my High school years. Do I need Maths?  My Dad always said, “Yes, you will at some point”. I couldn’t see it all.
I had 2 great teachers in my early high school years. Both enthused me and explained Maths theories very well. We even had conversations about real life with one particular teacher.
Then I hit my HSC years- oh no, all that confidence that had been instilled in me had gone. I would put my hand up. “I don’t understand”. He would explain it the same way he did before. And he was my year 11 & 12 teacher; he was the teacher, who would teach me all I needed for my University entry. My heart sank, I told Dad, He tried to have me placed in another class, but “no that wasn’t possible Mr P’’.  A tutor.  It helped a little.  So between my Dad trying to teach me, a friend and my tutor, I achieved a lousy HSC score and I deemed myself useless at Maths.
And then I started my  Nursing career . Before we were let loose on the wards!!, we had preliminary training school -PTS. One of the topics was Maths and another Chemistry. My head said how can I pass these.  I needed to achieve an 80% pass in them both. I did -with lots of hard study.
Then I realised many drugs and IV drips, need to be dispensed using various Maths Formulas. Machines do it for you now, but I am pleased I can still work that formula out just incase.
Body fluids needed to be measured and estimated.
In Delivery suite, I needed to count the hours of Labour and then break them into 1st, 2nd and 3rd stages using a 24 hr clock.
I needed to know statistics as these are spouted by learned Drs regularly.
In Nicu, I needed to use micro measures. Everything is triple checked as the doses are so very small.
So I thought I would never use Maths, and actually I have used various areas of Maths extensively.
It is Ok to ask someone to help me work out a formula a few times, but I needed to really understand it myself, because I was accountable for every Dose of anything I gave to a patient.
So what has this to do with Homeschooling  well.....We have had an interesting  journey with Maths in our family. Maybe many other families have similar stories.
As some of you know our older children attended the local Catholic schools. I was super diligent with their Maths homework, making sure they were learning and understanding.
Each of them had grasped Maths in different ways.
Louise was good at Maths until she had a Maths teacher who she didn't gel with, no amount of Coaching would help her. My heart sank again, the system has failed her, like it did me, What can I do to help her....
When she was choosing her subjects for Year 11 & 12, she said "I won't be doing Maths". It isn't compulsory in Year 11 & 12- (although in Australia Religion is compulsory in Catholic and Christian Schools).
It wasn't until she began her Uni degree- Teaching- that she needed to know how to teach Maths in various different ways. So all of a sudden Maths was important to her. By now she owned it.
Kristie &  Kieran were quite good at Maths. I was relieved. Kristie got good grades and enjoyed learning new concepts. She was homeschooled in high school and eventually achieved Maths to Algebra II. It was by this stage a struggle, but she was determined to get the certificate!
Kieran had an amazing aptitude to Maths and was always quite clever with it. He was very self directed when we homeschooled him. After returning to the school system he achieved a considerable score in his HSC.
Brid is a different story again. I remember the older Children being quite noisy when I was trying to teach Brid a new concept. Division !!! We eventually went into my bedroom and worked on the topic together. It was quieter in there.
Once she got the concept she was pretty pleased with herself and wanted to share her findings with her siblings.
We have used Tradition teaching Methods with Brid using bought curricula. We have recently, started using Maths Online. We liked what we saw, and Brid gained great scores. It certainly enforced what she had learnt with another curriculum we were using.
The timetables and numbers skills have been great for her. Timetables have been an issue for her, so the fun she has with her Dad, beating each others 'best', has improved this area of her maths.
We will continue to use a curricula for this area of learning.
Dermot is rather good at Maths. He can’t understand my anxiety. He has always helped the Children and occasionally helped Brid if I can't. I have worked alongside Brid to encourage and assist her in every way I can.
So what has been your Maths Journey, has it influenced your children and their enjoyment with Maths? Yes here in Australia, we call it Maths.
Although I was not the best Mathematician, it made me very careful working out formulas and dispensing any medication.
I wonder what Brid will do with her Maths?


  1. This is really interesting, Leanne. Do you think God prepared you for the Maths you needed for nursing? I wonder how God is leading our children in their different ways.

    Megan had a similar experience to Louise. She gained her Maths credit, during her uni course, and she did surprisingly well! I have to admit that, as a high school Maths teacher, I'm a real dunce! Nothing for it but to trust in God to provide:)

  2. Hi Vicki, I wondered that as well about God preparing me as I was writing this.
    Thanks for popping by.
    How old is Megan? Louise is 23
    God Bless

  3. Leanne - can I link to this post for Math Monday? I'm finding your posts and Sue's very interesting and worth sharing.

  4. Faith, I would be honoured to be linked to Monday Maths. God Bless

  5. You said, "So all of a sudden Maths was important to her. By now she owned it."

    I love this, Leanne! It makes such a difference when a child sees a need and wants to learn something. Struggling along with something that is difficult doesn't seem worthwhile when a child thinks she will never use it. 'Just in case' isn't much help either. I guess it is never too late to go back and fill in the gaps.

    But it is less stressful when a child has a natural liking and ability for maths!

    I can't understand what is wrong with the word 'maths'. Just short for MATHematicS, hey? I love all these differences. Makes life interesting!!
    Great post, Leanne!

  6. Hi Sue, I read Faiths post on monday Maths. She made reference to us Aussies and Maths. It gave me a giggle.
    I have a funny story. I was the Maths genius yesterday. Seeing how to work a Geometry poblem where Dermot couldn't. my ego for that split second was elevated. ( He happened to be looking to much into the problem).
    God Bless