So I normally get up at 4am to work while it’s quiet, but this morning I was woken at 2am by our new and apparently loud and sleepless neighbors. It was a shock because the house next door has been empty for over a year and we are an end terrace and our previous neighbors were elderly and never made a sound, so we got used to never hearing any neighbors either side. The joy of terraced house living in Britain! I’m sure by the end of today they will have heard us plenty back. And if they were planning on sleeping in, then good luck to ’em.

Throughout my eldest son’s education, I’ve been perpetually stumped and confused about the way math is taught and learned here. It wouldn’t be an issue if Sam didn’t struggle with it. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very bright boy and does well in school, but math has always been the one subject he’s needed extra help with. He’s aways been in those booster classes in school and he needed extra time at home to do his homework. When he was in First school, I attended a class for parents to learn the methods of teaching that their children are taught at school so that I could be better at helping him. It was interesting and useful but I still didn’t quite understand the method for teaching math and I still struggled when I tried to ‘help’ him with his homework. Nowadays he won’t let me help him and all of his math homework is done online. I find this incredibly strange and cannot for the life of me understand why this is. Is it to save on paper? Is it because the teachers only want to see their answers? I’m sure there must be a very good reason for this but as a parent, it doesn’t make sense. In addition, I am NOT a whizz at math nor is my husband. We’ve debated about hiring a tutor to come to the house to help him and during our last musing on this, I said “Too bad we don’t live near my Dad. He’s a mathemetician and retired teacher. He could have tutored him.” My husband and I then both realised that this could be an actual possibility, if my Dad was willing, by doing the tutoring via Skype. Sam could use my Ipad and I could sit next to him and help with any technical glitches on the Skype end and my Dad and Sam could have a math tutor session. We asked my Dad and he agreed. I am thrilled about this (Sam less so) and am hopeful this will
A.) get Sam more interested in Math
B.) help him understand it more and get better at it and
C.) be a way for an American grandfather and a British grandson who live over 4 thousand miles away from each other and only see each other once every 6 years to bond and be close to one another.

So far, we haven’t worked out the best way to go about this because of the lack of use of text books in middle schools here. Everything is done online (perhaps this will turn out to be an advantage doing the tutoring this way?) They’ve had two sessions talking about math, about numbers and number patterns and times tables. I think it’s going well. My Dad is currently looking over the math website they use for homework. I’ve given him the log in details so hopefully he’ll be able to help him even more now. I’m not quite sure what to expect and I don’t want to put pressure on either one of them, but it’s worth a shot and if anything, it will be a nice thing for them both to see each other via Skype on a regular basis.

Has anyone else attemped this type of Skype tutoring? I’d love to hear your exprience with it.

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