Most of our children need a little bit of help with their maths. But how can you possibly offer the best support if you don’t even know what they are doing in class? I didn’t, I confess, so I asked my three this morning. And here’s what they said:

  1. Year 11 – GCSE calculus, differentiation, tangents…
  2. Year 9 – Simultaneous equations solved as graphs
  3.  Year 3 – 3x table

Now tables are easy to support. Just 5 minutes per night (2×2 minute speed tests and the time it takes to get out the laptop) click on this brilliant link:

TABLES SPEED TESTS and scroll down to the set below the blue picture on the left (it doesn’t seem to work on iPads but works fine on any laptop or desktop pc).

But please don’t be put off by the more challenging maths content that older children are facing. Google is a wonderful tool – if you type in ‘How to solve simultaneous equations as graphs’ for instance, the brilliant BBC Bitesize site comes up with exactly what’s needed. This works for most new maths subjects so give it a try.

If you ask what your child is doing in maths this week, then when you have a quiet moment (as if! I know…) google it, or even better, have a few useful books to hand:

Age 7-11

The WHSmith Maths Challenge books are my favourites and there is one for each school year group. They are aimed at ‘able’ children! Love it! It’s best to have a set of 3 year groups at home – the right year for yours plus the year below and the year above. So then you can go back if something is proving tricky, or forwards to the next stage if you need to take the subject a little further.

WHSmith Maths Challenge  (this is just the year 5 one, you will need to move about their website to find the years you need)

Age 11+

Again, go for the WHSmith Maths Challenge books, I’ve got years 7 and 8 at home. Beyond that there is always BBC Bitesize and these two absolutely brilliant books from Edexel (click below). One teaches and the other tests and the page numbers even match. I have spent time with these at home, battling with subjects that are new to me. It’s a wonderful feeling when you crack the subject and then you can go through a few examples together later on. Let your child teach you and clarify where you are unsure – it is a tried and tested way to consolidate their learning.

Edexel Maths Revision Guide (there is a matching workbook too)

It is an empowering feeling when you know exactly what your child is studying at school and are in a position to help. Have fun going through examples with them and play the fool if it suits you – it won’t do any harm…