Helping Maths Anxiety
I blogged the other day about my self-revelation that Betsy has probably been suffering from maths anxiety for her whole school life; I did make a basic parent error of not checking with her before posting and I’m not sure that she is completely ok with me, not only diagnosing her as having Maths problems, but telling the world. I did try to reassure her that I’d pointed out she had been successful (she passed her IGCSE), and that as she was my only consistent blog reader anyway, (woe is me), no one else would probably see it, but I am still not sure it was my smartest move! A wise ‘new blogger’ would learn from this and move to less personal topics to explore. Wisdom has never been my strong point though! I figure that having raised the problem of maths anxiety (though that was actually Jenni Murray’s fault for podcasting about it) I now need to focus on exploring the solutions.
Helping Children with Maths Anxiety
I was listening to Jenni Murray exploring Maths' anxiety in a parenting podcast yesterday on Woman's hour along with Lucy Rycroft-Smith, a research officer at Cambridge University's Faculty of Education and its centre for Neuroscience. It was stated that on the podcast one in ten students between 8 and 13 years old suffer from Maths' Anxiety. This can lead to a feeling of rage, despair and affect the very essence of a child's sense of self-worth. Jenni informed me, via the airwaves, that she will no longer feel guilty for saying that she hated Maths at school, the message being that she had an unacknowledged anxiety that had affected her ability to do well.
It was an interesting topic for me to listen to, especially as Maths is not my youngest daughter Betsy's favourite subject. (Understatement!) I got thinking about her own educational experience and how her attitude towards Maths has been affected by her family, friends and teachers. Actually that's not quite true, let's be honest, it mainly got me thinking about how I had affected her attitude towards Maths.
A Perfect Brunch
It's become a bit of a family tradition that when our family is all in Bangkok together Saint Mick treats us to a delicious brunch. Nice. The splendid Sheraton Grande on Sukhumvit in Bangkok is our preferred eatery, but I have to say, though, that of late the experience is starting to feel just a little surreal. Whilst we are inside the hotel, living the high life, enjoying the jazz and sampling the delights, the sky-train is literally a stones throw away outside and you don't need to look very far to see plenty of poverty.
I haven't read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for a long time, but I'm sure there is a scene in it of the 'haves' living their privileged, five star lifestyle - enjoying forbidden fruits in a hidden location, whilst everyone else, the 'have not's, go without. The brunch feels just a little bit like that. I felt the same the first time I went in a Business Class Lounge in an airport. Sectioned off, exclusive and completely undeserving - I guess the metaphor can extend infinitum.
Typical me that I can't even enjoy a brunch without a healthy dose of guilt and angst. Yet, full of contradictions as ever, I still tuck in. At the Sheraton the desserts are exquisite, the lattes and teas scrumptious and the elephant (someone dressed up in an elephant suit for the kids) as entertaining as ever, I wonder how many incarnations of the elephant we've encountered over the last dozen years or so? Brunches are definitely a treat which I really look forward to, yet despite this, I'm not sure if they are my favourite style of dining,
Last Day of School
I've just returned home from dropping my youngest daughter, Betsy, and husband off at school. I only went so that I could borrow the car; it was nothing to do with it being Betsy's last official day in Year 13. I definitely didn't take them because I wanted to see her heading off down the school corridor one last time as an official school student - that would be silly. After all it isn't such a big deal that is her last day of school!
Betsy clearly read too much into my lingering hug and last school photo shoot moments with her 'Oh mum, I didn't expect you to be this nostalgic' comment. Waving her off didn't at all remind me of her first day in Nursery, where I would stand round the corner peeping to make sure that she was ok and was getting her fair share of play on the playground tricycles.
There have been loads of 'it's the last time you'll do this at school' moments lately. One was just yesterday when we watched Betsy sing a duet and take part in her last school choir performance. She was MC so it was also Betsy's last time speaking in front of students, teachers and parents. My only involvement was to watch, take too much video footage on my phone and irritate her by giving her the over-the-years-oft-repeated public speaking advice. I'm sure you'll appreciate I wasn't at all nervous for her! I'd no need to be, she was great.
Book Review of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
I have just finished reading Paula Hawkins' Into the Water; thriller of the year according to the badge on the front cover of my copy. I think it certainly must be one of the bestsellers of the year as it is dominating the shelves of high street, shopping mall and airport bookshops. It's definitely good and I would recommend unreservedly for thriller and crime writer lovers.
What the book reminded me of was a very complex episode of A Midsomer Murders (which it actually, a bit cheesily to my mind, cites) or, being generous, a well constructed episode of Morse. The plot is complex and and tied together effectively, but there wasn't a lot of suspense and it never really felt like a 'whodunnit', though it was. It's told in short chapters and pulls in all the different characters' roles in the unravelling of the crime to a satisfactory conclusion. To be fair, it's really well constructed, but I do struggle with intricate plot lines. Even the later Harry Potter books had me pretty confused.
I only started reading crime and thriller books when I became a librarian, (I needed to keep up to date) and now I'm not a librarian anymore I don't 'have to'. Thrillers are probably not my thing, but I was swayed by all the hype of Into the Water and did enjoy The Girl on the Train. Generally speaking I do find the writing sparse and a bit too plain for my taste. Also, the jump between the first and third person is a bit jarring, although perhaps necessary to create character understanding whilst getting the plot moving forward. Having said all that, what wouldn't I give to be able to write anything even a teeny fraction as good!