Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Confidence with Maths

The one subject I was most apprehensive of helping Charlotte with was mathematics.  When she was still at school, I was aware of her struggles with the subject but she wouldn't allow me or her father to help with her homework.  As far as she was concerned, what could we possibly know?  Once out of the state education system, she had no option but to rely on me for her learning. 

As her grasp on the subject was so poor, I decided that we would go right back to the beginning (a very good place to start!) and learn the times-tables thoroughly.  Thank goodness for my 1950s rote style of learning because this is one area I am firmly grounded in.  It was difficult for Charlotte at first, but with repetition on a small but often basis, she is now fairly competent with the tables and is able to learn further operations, of which the times-tables are a basis.  We have already covered a good deal of geometry, fractions and decimals. 

I was gratified when she told me that she could now do so much more mathematics than she could when she was at school.  I don't mean to debase the state education system but, for children like Charlotte who take longer to grasp a subject like mathematics, it is easy for them to get left behind while the more apt pupils are able to keep up.  Learning at home means that we are not restricted by time deadlines.  We are able to go over each topic until she understands it.  As a parent, the best thing for me is to see her confidence grow as she becomes more able in doing her work.  "I can't do that," has now become, "I never used to be able to do that." 

I take nothing for granted and face each day as it comes, but I have a feeling that we're on the right track!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Alcohol and teenagers

Where are your kids tonight?
I'm so proud of our daughter - proud of her in many ways, but especially for her courage and commitment to stand by her beliefs.  She's 14 years old now and, about a year ago, most of her friends began to drink and smoke.  To our dismay, her two best friends were included.  She'd been friends with these girls from primary school and spent most evenings in their company.

Gradually, Charlotte stopped going out in the evenings and began to spend most of her time at home.  Her dad and I worried about this.  We asked her if there was anything wrong.  She told us that her friends were spending their nights drinking alcohol in secluded places around the town, and she didn't want to join in.  Our minds were put at rest.  Thank goodness our daughter has the sense and the courage not to get involved.  It may have set her apart from the rest, but at least we know where she spends her time in the evenings and that she's safe and happy, and she has other friends who take a similar view.

A few months ago, Charlotte met one of her 'then' best friends.  Charlotte asked her if she wanted to come back to the house with her.  The friend told her that she didn't want to.  Charlotte asked her why.  "Because you're different from us," the girl replied.  Thank goodness for that difference.

 For advice on talking to your child about alcohol go to

Go here for advice on resisting peer pressure.