Tackling maths with White Rose Maths

There are 100s of educational resources available to parents, and now more than ever, they are in high demand as many families face tackling home schooling their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maths can be one of those subjects that your child might lose patience and concentration with, especially if they’re finding tackling areas of it particularly difficult. Educate speaks to Craig Tilstone, a parent and a primary school teacher, to find out how White Rose Maths is assisting his family.

What age are your children that are using the programme?

My daughter is seven today!

Why did you choose to use White Rose Maths?

As maths lead at my school, I had some familiarity with White Rose materials, parts of which are often used by our staff to provide extension tasks, to bolster the textbook scheme we use. However, I have become familiar with the home learning materials as they have been suggested by the teachers of my two children.

What do you like most about the resources?

Above all, the structure of the lessons. I have found the ‘ping pong’ style of the delivery useful, as it breaks the learning down into small steps. One small element will be taught (and taught very clearly and concisely, with simple, effective animations) and then we are asked to pause the video and tackle a question relating to that small element. Then, when we return to the video, a small tweak, a small change – a variation – is made to the previous learning. We learn about that, we pause the video, we practise that, etc. I find this an extremely effective model, as do my children. It avoids cognitive overload.

Are there any areas of maths that the children have struggled with but thanks to these resources it has helped them? 

The lessons we have looked at so far (in Year 2) have all been about fractions – which as any teacher will tell you can be a tricky concept to convey! The lessons presented here are true ‘mastery’ lessons, which look at the concept in different ways, using different representations, different approaches. They look at a range of examples, and ‘strange’ examples, and non-examples, misconceptions. By the end of the lesson, the concept has been explored both at depth and with great clarity.

How often are you using the resources?

Every day, for as long as the lesson takes. This is the beauty of home schooling as opposed to whole class teaching, wherein a spectrum of attainment is present – you are able to go at exactly the right pace needed for your child. To dwell on the bits they find tricky and move quickly through the bits they find easy.

How has it made home schooling easier?

It’s like having a little teacher there with you! And not just any teacher – a highly-informed teacher, one who delivers the key messages in a crystal clear, easy-to-digest manner, using models and animations that make the concept a doddle to grasp. The website is beautifully easy to navigate, with each lesson containing a video, a worksheet and the answers. It really couldn’t be any more straightforward or accessible.

Would you recommend it to other families during this time? 

100%. We cannot know how long schools are going to remain shut – it could, of course, be quite some time yet. Using the White Rose home learning materials means your child is continuing to access high quality maths resources, and thus avoid returning to school with gaps. White Rose is, quite simply, helping to keep the ship afloat, and in my capacity as an educator, and in my role as a parent, I would like to thank them sincerely.

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