What parents say...

Thank you both so much for all the support you have give our Darcey.  she really has grown in her confidence with her maths and you have defo given her the foundations to grow.  She is very excited about starting senior school in September and I am sure we will be back in the future for more support for her or her younger sister.  Big, big hugs.
Heidi & Lee
“Thanks for all your hard work with Rebecca Kivlin. She has started Milton Cross this week. Rebecca is in the top set for maths and science, and the second group for everything else. Without coming to Love to Learn she would never have achieved this.  Thanks”    
Julie Powell
Firstly, I would like to thank yourselves and your staff for all your help and dedication to helping my daughter Saoirse with her maths.  She has shown an improvement with her confidence at attempting to handle the mathematics she is give by her school.  And I feel this is due to the staff at your centre, she had a very rough year in Year 4, with her very unsympathetic teacher and you all helped her through that.  For that I’m very grateful.
Mrs R Wall
Thank you very much for your help and support in helping Tomek achieve his goals in English
Monica (Tomek’s mum)
Thank you for all your support with our son, Thomas. His hand writing, spelling, maths and reading is progressing beautifully. I would highly recommend your setting to anyone who wishes to give their child a boost or to work on specific learning goals. It has been invaluable. All your tutors are warm, welcoming and professional and Thomas is always made to feel valued. Positive praise and lots of stickers, stamps, rewards, prizes and certificates give that extra special touch to reward and recognise the children’s efforts. Thomas is certainly always proud of his achievements from your centre.
Laura (Thomas’s mum)
GCSE Maths
Alex says ” I learned more in three months than my whole time in the maths classroom at school. I went from dreading it to feeling much better about being there.” This Summer he was overjoyed to find that he had gone from a Grade 2 in his mocks up to a Grade 4 (C) pass in his final exam.  
Alex
At the time of writing this testimonial, my daughter has had only 5 sessions and her confidence and ability has increased significantly!  (Now) she talks of enjoying maths and of her abilities in maths instead of her inabilities, participates more in maths lessons at school and is keen to do her maths homework, both from school and from the sessions.  As a parent I am thrilled that her confidence has grown significantly and would recommend I Love to Learn without hesitation.
S BondParentPortsmouth
I was told at school that Harrison had fallen about 2 years behind in reading, writing and spelling. Harrison took to it straight away.  He has made fantastic progress and is meeting all his targets.  He loves the points and prizes that he collects for working so he comes out buzzing after every session!
Mrs S McGee
We brought him to the centre in Year 6 because he just had no idea about maths.  This year won the ‘Most Improved in Maths’ certificate for his year.  He also came top of his class in 2 out of 3 maths exams.  Coming to here is the best thing we ever did!
Mr S White
Thank you for your lovely card.  You have helped with my creative writing and vocabulary.  I have grown in confidence and I appreciate your help.
Naomi

Is Maths Anxiety a Thing?

Did you hate maths at school? Do you feel you “can’t do maths?”  You may not be alone.

Recently researchers claimed that “Maths Anxiety” is real. One in 10 children suffer from despair and rage when faced with the subject, according to new research from Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education and its Centre for Neuroscience.  Click here to read more…..

Could this be just another made up term to excuse poor attainment or could working with numbers really be a cause of exceptional unhappiness for children?

As a tutor, I have certainly come across lots of students who ‘hate’ maths.  Some of them seem to have genuine problems with remembering and manipulating numbers.  Many of them, however, do seem to make remarkable progress when they realise they can do maths after all.

Tough maths

Why Maths?

Stress or anxiety about any subject is obviously an impediment to learning.  Is maths so different?  I suspect people learn to like or dislike maths for the same reasons.  When you are leaning maths the answers you give are either right or they are wrong, unlike other subjects perhaps, so if you are getting it wrong the feedback is rather immediate.  If students fear failure or ‘getting it wrong’ it could make early negative experiences particularly unpleasant and overwhelming.  So, for example, finding fractions difficult in primary school may lead to enough wrong answers and unhappiness to convince some children that maths is something they ‘can’t do.’

I always say that maths is like a house, you have to build the foundation first, before you build the walls.  If students have switched off at some point in their school careers, then they have not built a firm foundation.  All the maths they are taught after that will become much harder because they have not learned the basic skills, such as times tables or place value.  This can lead to students getting very stuck unless they find a way to fill in the gaps.

This is a serious problem as STEM (science technology engineering and maths) careers rely on high levels of maths fluency and attract higher than average salaries.

Stress Reduction

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Learning anything while being anxious is not helpful.  Increased levels of anxiety use up working memory and stop learning from taking place.  Most people find it much harder to remember appointments if they have an exceptionally stressed day at home or the office.

As a tutor, I always give students work that they can do (i.e. easy enough for them but not too easy) so that they get most of their answers right.  When they begin to feel relaxed, I can then start introducing new topics strengthening their weaker areas.

In addition, learning times table by rote, may seem old fashioned, but it makes maths so much easier.  Try reading a new language when you don’t know all the alphabet and have to look them up each time.  Much slower and much less fluent.  We try to do activities, such as lots of number bonds and tables, that don’t require much working memory and are highly repetitive.

The third approach is to change the mindset of anxious learners.  Maths is actually a subject that requires a lot of practice and repetition, but if people put in the hours almost everyone can improve.  A bit like jogging, everyone can do it, rather than fine art when you need a high level innate skill.  So rather than having a ‘fixed mindset’, i.e. some people can do maths and some people just can’t; students need to adopt a ‘growth mindset’ i.e. “I can do it if I try.”

Finally, parents can make maths more fun by putting away the study books and getting out some games.  Card games and dice games (yes the dreaded Monopoly) can make numbers relevant and fun.  At a younger age, using blocks such as lego can help with number, fractions, counting and shapes.  The abacus is an ancient tool which is still helpful today.

Learning to Love Maths

Anxiety about maths is certainly a problem for many people, but it can be overcome.  The more people worry about it, the bigger it can grow.  Sometimes a few deep breathes and a chance to express themselves, then reframe these fears, can make a big difference.

Many people have found that when they have come back to maths learning later in life they have actually enjoyed it!  Making maths fun can be a good way for both fearful parents and children to help each other overcome anxiety.

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