What were your feelings towards numbers?
I quite enjoyed Maths at school. I did an A level in the early 80’s and used maths when completing my Education with a Physics degree at Cambridge. I went on to teach the subject, but after having three children I moved onto working with pre-school children, and those with special needs. So after that I never really got much further than counting to 10.
I lost confidence and by the time my children were doing maths at school, found it difficult to help them much beyond primary age. I relied more on checking with pen and paper whereas I used to have confidence just working things out in my head. I also felt that I couldn’t help my children, as I didn’t recognise some of the wording or methods they were using. I probably avoided helping them with maths homework once they did their GCSEs and A-levels, which wasn't the case when they were at primary school.
Why did you want to improve your number skills?
My eldest son became a secondary maths teacher and when he began to talk about the syllabus I remembered my previous enjoyment of the subject, but although I recognised the terms, I had forgotten a lot of it, but didn't want to admit this. So, I began doing the online National Numeracy Challenge on my own at the computer, building up my confidence and gradually improving.
My biggest concern was that as I was over 50 I just wouldn’t remember what I was learning and would find going back to such work too difficult.
How do you feel now?
I was so pleased to complete the online assessment and find that I could get back my enthusiasm and love for numbers even at my age! I use maths in a lot of areas of my life including managing finances, shopping, measuring, baking and at work, so it was important for me to change my attitude.
It has helped me achieve a sense of confidence and reassured me that I hadn’t forgotten everything.
I also remembered just how much I enjoy the subject and problem-solving. Thanks to the Challenge I can tackle more everyday numeracy problems, and have fun doing it!
Should more people check to see if they have got the Essentials of Numeracy?
Absolutely, yes. When taking the Challenge I could work around my schedule and log on anytime. I could measure my progress and see how I was performing. I can now provide encouragement to the parents I work with in a parenting group and say that it is never too late to improve!