Maths - the mother of confidence and learning

If you feel you can't afford to leave your child's maths education solely in the hands of an under resourced school you're not alone.

A child's academic success at school has less to do with ability and more to do with confidence.

Maths tutoring options range from personal one to one tutoring where you need to find (and vet) the tutor yourself, to organisations such as Kumon which provides group face to face tutoring, to computer based programs with face to face assistance such as MathsPower.

So we decided to find out more from Felicity Tannous a teacher and education experts with MathsPower, an Australian Government endorsed supplier.

Maths learning and our understanding (or not) of a mathematical concept, according to Felicity, is the greatest factor responsible for telling our sub-conscious minds that we are smart or not.

Once we have just one or two math concepts we are unsure of, we begin to lose confidence and from there it is a downhill snowballing spiral, compounded by the fact that we needed those concepts as building blocks for the next maths concepts to be learned.

To get a child back on track (or to prevent them from ever getting off track with maths and losing confidence and ability) it is imperative that parents become aware of their child's exact level of understanding in mathematics at any given moment.

So many parents shudder when they think of their own maths confidence disasters or how out of touch they are with maths concepts which haven't been practised for a long time.

"At MathsPOWER we find the point, for each and every child, at which their sub-conscious began losing the confidence. We do this by isolating the mathematical concepts that were not fully understood through our Free online maths quiz and assessment. When there are no problems, that too is really evident and it shows exactly where they are at, and from where their learning needs to start. This is a free service of which every parent should take full advantage", says Felicity.

"There's no need to put the child through the embarrassment of being taken somewhere to be assessed, it's all done online in a nice, easy, friendly and simple way."  Felicity says.

And Felicity beileves these building block concepts are then best taught with a computer-based teacher, as there is no pressure on the child.

"No-one is looking over the child's shoulder to add to the child's apprehensiveness or lack of confidence. These lessons must have full verbal teacher instruction with simultaneous highlighted full-screen graphics. Once the child has finished the lesson, the concepts need to be immediately reinforced with the relevant, concrete and tactile activity and maths worksheet".

Felicity says giving children 'click and enter' activities on the computer is no where near enough to consolidate understanding.

"Particularly as most of the working out and setting out has been done for them. This is where we hear so many parents say, "I've bought program after program for my child and nothing worked prior to this one", because parents make the mistake of thinking the ones where the kids just click here or click there and hit enter, will be the fun way of learning, when in fact, children become quite bored with that after a very short while. Kids thrive on structure and knowing that THEY are achieving".

Of course, the best way to ensure a child'ss academic success is to start them young and never let them lose confidence. Felicity's own children along with thousands of others started the K-1 Maths Power module at the age of three and a half years old.

"They are brimming with confidence, ability and have never struck a problem. With the teacher in the computer the child has a chance to rewind the teacher without anyone knowing. They love it and ask to do it! As a working Mum, it frees up so much of my time as they each know which lesson they are up to and I know that Maths is one area where they are set for life, and as a result, they'll also be set in so many other areas, especially confidence. That's a big weight off my shoulders."

Felicity Tannous is a eacher and education expert of  Other maths tutoring programs may also be suitable for your child - try and