Why A Primary School Deputy Head Chose Matr For Her Children
- By Julia Silver  |
- 22 Jan 2020  |
- 3 min read
As a Deputy Headteacher and a mother of five school-age children, I know that finding the right way to help your child academically is so important.
I also know that it can be very hard to know what the right way is, since there are so many options out there and they all promise results.
Through Matr, I was able to support my 7, 10 and 11 year olds with maths learning that was pitched right to their level, and in a format that was 100% stress free. My 7 year old even made about 3 months progress in 3 weeks and more importantly, he gained confidence too!
How we got started with Matr
As a teacher, parents often ask me how they can help their children at home with maths. I decided to sign my own kids up to Matr because I wanted to be able to recommend something I’d personally tried and tested.
[Spoiler alert – I couldn’t recommend Matr as a home-based maths intervention tool more highly.]
I mentioned before that I have five children, and I decided to sign up my ten year old daughter first. She loved her first session, and loved the idea of learning with a tutor half way across the world. My eleven year old son was totally jealous (of extra maths lessons!) so I set him up with Matr as a SATs boost.
The teaching style is ‘maths mastery’ which most schools are now starting to adopt as the best way to teach maths for independence. It gives children a chance to think about maths in a much deeper way than we used to at school (no pages of sums here).
There are problem solving questions in every Matr lesson, and there’s lots of talking and reasoning that happens as well.
I’ve been developing a maths mastery curriculum at my school but the boys’ school isn’t quite there yet, so I was really pleased to give them this ‘upgrade’.
“We couldn’t have been more pleased”
But then, our 7 year old came home with the news that his teacher was leaving. He’s not the easiest in the classroom and I wasn’t confident he’d continue to make progress with a new teacher half way through the year.
Luckily, Matr have maths tuition programmes for children from Year 2 all the way to Year 7. So I picked up the phone to them and together with Sam, a member of their very dedicated team, we came up with a plan.
We took all the pre-paid sessions which I had invested in for the big two, and used them all for the 7 year old. At the same time, we decided that 55 minute sessions were too long for a Key Stage 1 child, so we also chose the shorter session of 25 minutes – which gave me double the number of sessions.
We scheduled these sessions for every week day at 5.30 pm for three full weeks. This volume and quality of maths support would usually cost me around £450 with a private tutor but because of Matr’s unique format, it cost one fifth of that.
Extra maths lessons every night should have been a struggle, but my son loved the whole experience of Matr and watched the clock before every lesson. No matter what was going on in the house, he never missed a slot! And of course, once we were happy that he would be fine, we went back to lessons for my ten and eleven year olds.
Having said that, it wasn’t all plain sailing. After three days, he admitted to me that he was struggling with the teacher. Sam at the Matr office changed the teacher within 24 hours and asked for our approval of the new candidate, Hindoli.
She was patient and attentive to our son’s progress and we couldn’t have been more pleased. We also struggled to get the timing right – 5.30pm is a crazy time of day in a family home. Sam helped me to adjust the timings until we got it right (I think we settled on 5.50pm).
Matr even had benefits I wasn’t expecting!
Whilst I appreciated all this flexibility, and stunning customer service, those are the kinds of things we’re coming to expect from online learning. However, there were a few advantages to the medium which I wouldn’t have thought of. For example, my son doesn’t sit still (though he does pay attention) and teachers tend to complain that his ‘acrobatics’ can be distracting in class.
Since his tutor was online and only looking at the maths on the screen, she didn’t even know he was clambering across the desk or balanced on the back of the chair. What a relief for him not to be told off for a change!
Another advantage I saw with the online set up was how confident and independent my son became with the routines of Matr. There are always ‘warm up’, and ‘cool down’ questions, on either side of the tutorial, and he got these all done without any fuss.
I think the thing that I enjoyed the most, as well as the spirit of responsibility which Matr enabled, was hearing my son and Hindoli talk through the maths together. The teacher’s questions were always clear and used correct maths language.
Hindoli prompted my son to reply in full sentences; challenging him to explain how he got to the answer and go through the process clearly. He was able to ask further questions and she had all the time to answer him. Just him. Not the child next to him who needed the bathroom, nor the three at the front who had finished their work.
That’s the beauty of one-to-one tuition. My son got all the attention, patience and encouragement he needed, and I had that wonderful feeling of having done right by him. And the beauty of Matr was that it didn’t break the bank.
The bottom line – as a parent AND a teacher
So will I be recommending Matr? As a mother as well as a Deputy Head I would recommend Matr without hesitation. Matr is an affordable, dependable and effective way to help children make progress in maths.
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