How to rapidly upskill parents in supporting with maths at home – guidance from Third Space Learning
At Third Space Learning, our single minded focus is on narrowing the attainment gap in maths.
We know the most effective way to do this is through our online 1-to-1 maths tuition powered by cutting edge technology that can connect any pupil to their tutor, together with our bespoke curriculum of maths lessons that mirrors what children are learning in class.
Schools use our online tuition for their target pupils and we teach approximately 20,000 pupils every year. It’s very effective – less than 1 hour a week for 14 weeks is proven to increase maths attainment by 7 months – but it is a support aid for teachers designed for target groups, and not for every single child.
To help support schools with those pupils who don’t receive the 1-to-1 intervention, for many years now we have been providing:
- maths teaching resources
- online teacher CPD
- SLT guides to the curriculum or new government changes
- teaching tips, advice and guidance for teachers and school leaders.
Much of this is provided free to schools, as part of our commitment to narrowing the maths attainment gap.
Help for parents with children’s maths home learning
What we haven’t provided much of till now is support specifically for parents.
All this has changed during recent school closures as we’ve realised that parental support is the best support children are going to get until lockdowns ease.
So over the course of the last couple of months we’ve had to rapidly break down the maths curriculum into the key maths topics that we know parents need help on AND crucially, the maths topics that we think are best suited to being taught or scaffolded by a parent.
We’ve had to take quite a robust view about what is and isn’t appropriate for parents to teach their children doing this period. For example some topics such as algebra or proportion we think should be left to teachers to teach unless a parent is very confident – there are just too many complex misconceptions that can arise.
Here are the pages we’ve created for parents to support with maths and the topics we’ve deemed most suitable for home learning.
Year group guides
First of all we’ve created basic year group guides to the national curriculum for parents who may not be familiar with what is taught in each year. By the end of each article, any parent reading these will at least be familiar with the term place value or position and direction, what sorts of questions their child should be able to answer at this age, and so roughly whether their child is working at the right level for their age.
Home learning resources and worksheets
We know that our maths hub is not the only place that parents can find maths resources to support their child’s learning at home. However, a lot of other resource websites are frankly very difficult to navigate, especially if you don’t really know what you’re looking for.
With this in mind we’ve tried to bundle up all our resources that are most suitable for parents to use with their children as home learning packs; these are the ones that require minimal additional instruction and children can just work through by themselves.
We’ve also broken them down by year too:
Unfortunately children’s gaps in maths don’t always occur just as they should at the right time for their year group. So as a parent supporting your child with a particular topic you often need to know what comes before this stage of their learning or after it. It also helps to understand exactly how children are taught maths according to the new curriculum so you don’t end up confusing them further.
We’ve created a number of ‘topic guides’ for parents to help with home learning. Examples include
Primary maths dictionary
We haven’t yet been able to cover every topic in the primary maths curriculum in the sort of depth we’d like to yet, but we’re on the way there. As a back-up for parents we also have our primary maths dictionary of terms that parents need to know from bodmas to equivalent fractions or highest common factors. This has proved a very helpful ready reckoner for parents just to check up on something and get some sample questions (and answers of course!) to understand its relevance in maths teaching.
Finally, it should be said that although there are some parents who will be grasping the nettle of home schooling in maths with great alacrity there will be others tearing their hair out, exhausted and despondent.
We are the first to acknowledge that learning from home is not the same as learning in school. We’re providing this maths guidance to parents who want it but for those who don’t, even just taking ten minutes here and there for some maths games or activities will keep things ticking over before children are back in class. Something is always better than nothing.