Best of the Web: How to overcome your maths anxiety to help your kids, and more

Why a fear of maths could really be maths anxiety, ferrying kids around in the car can be a time to connect, and how children are making us more eco-conscious.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

Maths anxiety: what is it, what causes it and how it can be overcome

(Gemma Conroy, ABC Science)

Ever feel put on the spot when your child asks you to help with their maths homework? That sinking feeling in your stomach when you’re not quite sure you got the answer for the equation correct — when you know you know it? It could be maths anxiety.

Different from the learning disability dyscalculia, maths anxiety is a psychological hurdle, rather than a neurological one.

‘Often the seeds of maths anxiety are sown during primary school, with some studies finding that it can start in kids as young as six years old,’ advises Dr Sarah Buckley from the Australian Council for Educational Research.

But it is possible to overcome maths anxiety, says maths guru Eddie Woo, the famed maths educator and leader in the NSW Department of Education’s Mathematics Growth Team. As Eddie says, ‘… there’s a connection between mathematics and everything you can possibly imagine. For instance, many of the fundamental principles of music – such as timing and rhythm — are deeply rooted in maths.’

Read our profile on Eddie Woo and his inspirational story.

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I am a taxi service for my teens – and I love it

(Adrian Chiles, The Guardian)

Recalling the time he went to his daughters’ school for a talk on  raising teenagers, the author remembers the psychologist speaker bemoaning today’s teen as having a ‘historically low sense of responsibility, which would be bad enough if it wasn’t accompanied by their correspondingly high sense of entitlement.’

So much for the despair. What really struck the author that night was another message from the speaker: don’t underestimate the importance of the time you have with you teenager in the car. Increasingly it’ll be the only time you get them to yourself.

For parents who are tired of ferrying their teens to social or sports events, the article is a reminder of how the safe space of a car can be a time to connect with your kids. Rather than a chore, being a taxi driver for them can be cherished time, and importantly, the chance for proper conversations.

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Children are making their families more eco-friendly. And brands are noticing

(Shaheen Hosany, World Economic Forum)

Remember the climate change protests when school students took to the streets? Our children care and want to be heard, and it seems in doing so, they are making their families more environmentally conscious too.

Research shows that it’s primarily parents and caregivers teaching children about sustainability, but schools are also one of the most important places children pick up ideas about the environment.

The author says that ‘… brands are beginning to note how children are encouraging their parents to be greener through pushing them to recycle, cycle or scoot short distances, and compost.’

International rands like Lego are listening to children and now have plans to make all their packaging recyclable by 2025.

Getting children involved ‘… will feed back to their families, helping to create green traditions that can hopefully last a lifetime.’

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