Turn your child into a maths magician?

Getting It Right In Maths- The Parent Teacher Interview.
How many times have you come out of a Parent-Teacher interview frustrated because, even though a lot had been said, you still weren't really sure how your child was doing?
It is your right, not to mention your desire, as a parent to know how your child in doing in all school subjects, especially maths.

When did the levels and stages of maths become so hard to understand? The great thing about the Parent-Teacher Interview is that it is your chance to clear up any confusion, and to know where you can help your child...or so it should be.

The most appalling thing for me as a Year 8 teacher was how grateful the parents were to finally understand what the levels and stages meant, and that they now had concrete ways to help their child get better.

Appalling, why?

This is not supposed to be a giant complex secret. It should be clear;"this is where your child is at, these are their strengths and these are their weaknesses, here is where they should be at the end of the year, and here are the ways you can help them."

Doesn't seem so hard does it, but parents frequently leave interviews with no idea what to do next or why.

The most frequently asked question I heard from parents was: "What can I do to help my child, in a way that really counts?"

StayOnTrack is a result of these questions, with our worksheets you can be assured that your child is targeting basic facts in a way that is no longer happening in schools.

As a parent you can know that with regular use of StayOnTrack's worksheets, you are helping your child in a way that will directly help them excel in their mathematics.

Here are 15 questions to ask at the next Parent-Teacher Interview that will make it clear how your child is doing and what is happening in their mathematics:

  • What is my child's current stage/level and how does this compare to other students of the same age group/National Standards?

  • How is this stage/level decided? What tests are used and how long ago was the last test given?

  • What are students expected to know by the end of the year? (This could be a good time to set some realistic goals with the teacher-no more than 3 for your child. For example:One goal could be to learn their timetables-StayOnTrack can help your child achieve this.)

  • How will you, as the teacher, be assessing my child's progress towards these goals? How will I know how they are doing?

  • If my child is falling behind, how will I be notified? (You can only help with issues if you know about them. Unfortunately some parents are horrified to only find out that there is a problem at the end of the year, this is not good enough. Make sure the teacher knows you are keen to help and want to know if there are concerns.)

  • How are the maths lessons set out? How are maths lessons spread throughout the week? (we know that it is regular practice that makes children good at maths, it may be that there are days that do not have maths on them-these are good days to schedule extra practice.)

  • Are the children taught in groups or whole class lessons? What happens if my child is not confident but does not want to put their hand up and draw attention to themselves? (check out what the classroom procedures are for getting help if your child is too shy to put their hands up)

  • Is there regular basic facts practice, what is it? (A lot of teachers start their classes with basic facts games but be aware that your child many only answer once and then be out-these are fun for the children but do not necessarily teach new basic facts. StayOnTrack's 10-15 minute worksheets are targeted directly for basic facts as this is the foundation for all maths)

  • Is there different work for higher/lower ability children, find out which work your child is getting, and how the teacher decides when to change the level. (if your child is in a streamed class and has a different teacher for maths, then make an appointment to see that teacher, and ask them these questions.)

  • What happens if my child finishes early or struggles to complete the work? (Giving more of the same work only demotivates both the low and high ability child. Your teacher should have a plan in place for extension of the higher ability child, and face to face help for the lower level child.)

  • How many pieces of maths homework are given? Is homework used for assessment?(This can help you access whether more practice is needed. Maths homework can be great but is often completed in one sitting-this is not practice. It is constant practice that makes us great at anything, that is why StayOnTrack's worksheets require 10-15 minutes a day, this equals regular, short, meaningful practice of basic facts.)

  • What are the maths topics for the year? (this is great as a heads-up for you-can help you work ahead to revise or reinforce the work that is being done at school. It also lets you know whether you should feel concerned if you feel important topics are being left out-be aware that lots of schools work in 2-3 yearly cycles. Basic facts remains a constant however.)

  • Does my child stay on task or need frequent reminders? (this could be an issue as it may be that the work is too hard, or too easy and your child is becoming bored or disheartened. It is super important to know how the teacher is addressing this-have they considered that the work may be too easy/hard?)

  • How can I support my child's learning from home? Ask for concrete examples, especially in relation to any goals you may have set with the teacher.

    This is a good space to share about what you have been doing at home already, for example, "we have been working on our child's maths basic facts with StayOnTrack's Level 2 worksheets, 10-15 minutes every week night."
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  • What are my child's strengths in maths and in the class itself? How do they interact with others in the math's class?

  • Go into the interview positively-look not just for weaknesses but also for strengths. (be assured there are always both!)This is a great opportunity to find positive solutions and strategies to help strengthen your child and help their maths experience to be a happy and satisfying time.

    StayOnTrack Limited 2014