Dear Daughter: About Maths

Peaceful Hours no 65 Farmers wife letters Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter

I’m on a roll this year. Already another quilt block complete. I have two sewn up, but when I suggested that I use both with this letter, you sweetly declared that you’d prefer one square to one letter. No problem.

Every block pattern is measured and scaled up on to my square of freezer paper. Multiplying and dividing the lengths until I can replicate the pattern, just so. Then cut up, ready for the english paper piecing. It has to be precise. I number them so they’re sewn up in the same order. I enjoy this process as much as the stitching.

And here comes the topic of my letter to you: Maths. You chose your GCSE Options last week. By the end, there was a tough choice to make and you made it. One throw away comment was that it was a shame you couldn’t drop one of the compulsory core subjects. Maybe Maths. *internal gasp from your mother. reach for chair.*

pile of quilt blocks Dear Daughter Farmers wife lettersI let it pass. Not happening, so no need for us to discuss. At that moment.

It did surprise me though. You see, the idea of giving up Maths never occurred to me at your age. I kept up Maths all the way through my education, even on to my professional exams.

I am not a Maths genius, but I do love numbers. I love patterns. I love maths. Not all maths. A couple of areas never caught my imagination and I’ve not used them since school. The rest I like.  I see them as puzzles to be solved. From talking to people, I know that being faced with a Maths problem can be daunting. Instant block goes up. Where they see a problem, I see a challenge and the chance to solve it.

quilt blocks Dear Daughter Farmers wife letters

I’ve enjoyed helping you and your siblings with your homework (only KS2 examples blogged: here, here and here). It’s been fun to revisit areas of Maths that I’ve not used for a while. I’ve loved crafting ways (because it is creative) to show you how fun it can be. Sometimes waking you up in the morning, telling you about a fun way I’ve dreamt up to use the Maths we discussed the night before. Admittedly you don’t always share my enthusiasm at 6:30am*. In retrospect, it might not be the best time for the conversation, but I do get excited when I create a new way to play with the numbers and methods.

I often think that my love of numbers and words are about equal. (Strangely English was another subject that I kept up throughout school.) Both allow you to communicate your ideas. Prove your point and maybe that is why I like them so much. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing it all fit together.

Dear Daughter quilt square

I know you wouldn’t admit it, but I have seen you enjoy the chase of the answer. You race me when we work together. You, doing your homework. Me, so I can check your answers. I sense hope.

So I’m not going to give up persuading you. Not on my watch.

Maths.     Is.     Fun.

You are in top set maths. You can do it. You quickly grasp concepts and see the patterns, but you are not feeling the joy. Yet.  My job now is to carry on showing you the bigger picture. Then maybe you will see Maths as less of a problem and more of a puzzle to be solved.

(Maybe not so early in the morning. How about I give you half an hour to wake up?)

As ever

You loving Mother

PS. Have you noticed how the middle part of the quilt block looks like a cog. I didn’t notice until I stood back and looked at it. Sometimes its just easier to spot a pattern if you take a step back.

Dear Daughter quilt

* 6:30am is the time she wakes up on a school day. Ha! Hope you didn’t think I just woke her up early to talk Maths.

More Dear Daughter letters, with their quilt blocks, can be found here.

6 thoughts on “Dear Daughter: About Maths

  • Monday 25 January, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    My son doesnt want to craft or bake with me any more and i too WILL NOT GIVE UP! 6.30 though!!!!

    • Wednesday 27 January, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      That’s the time she gets up. I’m not sure she’d forgive me if I woke up extra early just to discuss maths!

  • Tuesday 26 January, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I hated maths at school, except algebra, which was definitely a puzzle to be solved. I’d have done anything to drop it for my GCSE’s.

    • Wednesday 27 January, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Seems to be a popular view. Algebra is fun. I hope I can keep all three of my children interested in maths, at least till GCSE. After that it’s their choice.

  • Wednesday 3 February, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Sometimes it’s easier to spot a pattern if you stand back. What a great quote that is, and not just for maths. I think you either love or hate maths. Personally I hate it, all apart from statistics, which surprised me by becoming something of an obsession for me during my psychology degree. Lovely quilting!

    • Thursday 4 February, 2016 at 11:23 am

      I’m glad you found one area of maths that you liked. The subject “maths” encompasses so many areas that hopefully every one can find at least one topic to like. I think that’s part of the reason that people dislike maths. It’s all put under the same umbrella and once the barriers go up, minds close to all maths topics. For example, encountering probability before algebra might be a positive experience for some students and make all the difference in their attitude to maths in general. Open minds. Of course, there is no denying that an inspiring teacher will make a huge difference.

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