We have a love/hate relationship with maths in this house. I have always liked maths and considered myself to be fairly good at it at A Level. I was rapidly disabused of this notion when I reached University and, although I was a Physics student, had to study pure maths for a year. It was then that I realised quite how complicated and abstract maths can be - give me pencil, ruler and trigonometry any day!
Maths is the one area of the school curriculum I get nervous about. It's not that I find it hard to understand or to teach, but it doesn't seem to flow out of life in quite the same way that other "subjects" do and we have always studied "maths" separately and quite methodically. It is the one subject area that my children will say they don't like and I do feel there is a connection here! I would love to have the courage to back off and see what they would learn naturally but I just don't think that everyday life throws up opportunities to practice trigonometry, algebra or graph-plotting. In an effort to lighten things up, in addition to following Mathletics, (my younger two) or a Year 7 school textbook (my eldest) I have introduced a page or two of Mathmagicians to our chapter book time. It has been quite successful. Today we read about Roman measuring techniques and the amazing aqueducts which they built, leading on to a discussion on siphons. Fortunately we have a plumber in at the moment to lend us hosepipe from the back of his car and it wasn't long before we were in the kitchen siphoning water from sink to bucket.
Each of the children had a go at sucking the water through the pipe and were thrilled with the water pouring through. I can still remember seeing a siphon working for the first time and, judging by the applause and laughter, my children will remember it too!