1.Be positive about Maths!  

Maths can sometimes have a reputation as a very tricky subject. Lots of adults, let alone children, believe they can’t do Maths, which simply isn’t true. Try to avoid comments such as ‘I could never do Maths’ or ‘I hated Maths at school’, as your child will pick up on these phrases. Instead try to be positive – ‘Maths was difficult to me too, but I learnt to persevere with it’. 

2. Weave Maths into different activities at home 

There’s the long running joke about ‘when will I ever need to know this’ in Maths lessons. It’s important that children understand that Maths is used in so many aspects of everyday life. When you set the alarm clock, talk about how you can work out if you’ll be getting enough sleep. When you’re shopping, ask if they can work out how much different items combined will be. When you’re cooking ask them to weigh the ingredients, or scale the recipe to suit the number of people needed. These simple activities illustrate just a few real life examples of the Maths they learn in the classroom.  

3.Use their interests to spark their Maths  

Children are more likely to learn when they’re interested. For example, if they’re football mad, you could ask them how many players would be left on the field if 2 players are shown the red card. If they love Lego, you could ask them to use blocks to help them count – if they start with 20 blocks and you take away 3, how many are left? 

4.Take Maths outdoors 

Whether it’s when you’re on a walk or just playing in the garden, there are plenty of ways to encourage your child to use Maths outside. You might count how many different animals you spot in nature, find out if there are more red cars or blue cars as you walk down the road or find out how many steps there are between different points. Or you could incorporate Maths into a game in the garden, counting throws of a ball, or the number of times to do activities in an obstacle course.   

5.Play games 

There are plenty of games you can play at home that require Maths skills. Be it calculating scores in a game like Scrabble, playing different types of card games, thinking about the strategies of games like connect four or noughts and crosses…all of these are wonderful ways to practice Maths skills.  

6.Sing songs 

There are plenty of songs that help with Maths. Be it counting songs like 10 green bottles, songs with shapes in, songs for learning times tables – there are many out there. Even children in the prep school use catchy songs in their lessons for helping to remember rules like ‘Keep Change Flip’ for dividing fractions! 

7.World records  

Research world records with your child and attempt to try some yourself. Or, ask your child to see how long it takes them to do different things – get dressed, clean their room, do 10 star jumps, write their name, draw circles, draw as many straight lines as they can, or play their favourite games. Get them to write down their answers and compare with how long it takes them the next time. Why not time how long it takes you to do the same things and compare?  

8.Maths stories  

Favourite stories and tales can be lovely ways to encourage talk around mathematical concepts and lead to further exploration. At Pennthorpe, we encourage the use of stories such a ‘One is snail, Ten is crab’ or ‘Ten Little Robots’ in Maths lessons as these stories really hook the children into their learning. Why not try finding the Maths in the stories your children read at home, from counting items in picture books, to exploring more advanced concepts like the mathematical problems posed in Alice in Wonderland!  

9.Remember to praise the effort 

Don’t worry if your child gets the answer wrong. Let them know it’s not a big deal. Try to praise their effort rather than them getting answers right. That way, they’ll get more confident at trying to solve things, even if they don’t come up with the right answer straight away. 

10.Use the resources available 

As a school we provide logins to MyMaths for all children from Years 1-8. MyMaths is a fantastic tool as not only are there questions set, there are also lessons that talk through the methods your child will have learnt at school! In the preprep all children have been given a login for the app ‘School Jam’, which provides activities and videos for completing at home. In Years 7 and 8 children have logins to Dr Frost Maths, a wonderful site full of exam style questions and video links explaining solutions. We also provide the Pennthorpe calculation policy, which shows the different methods we teach in class here.