You may have got by in the past by pretending that you’ve forgotten your glasses or that numbers are not ‘your thing’. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many adults don’t have the confidence or ability to attend to day-to-day tasks such as managing money and family budgets, giving appropriate medication dosages or following a recipe. Although your maths skills may not be up to scratch the good news is that it is never too late to learn!
We use maths all the time. Below are a couple of examples of everyday scenarios that you may come across in which having a basic understanding of maths will come in handy.
Grocery shopping – you probably have a maximum amount of money that you want to spend on your groceries each week. So that you don’t overspend you’ll need to know how to add and subtract numbers. Maths will also help you work out how much you can save by buying those items that are on special or that come in bulk.
Having a coffee with a friend at a cafe – you may split the bill after a catch up coffee or lunch out, but how to do you know if you’ve calculated the cost evenly between you and your friends? Maths will help you to divide the total amount of the bill between the number of people paying, making sure that you’ve all paid the same amount.
Cooking dinner – you have two friends coming over for dinner, making six people in total, but your recipe is only enough for four people, how do you ensure you’ll have enough food for everybody? Multiplication and fractions will help you increase the amounts of ingredients to make sure that you have enough food for all your dinner guests, ensuring that no one goes hungry!
Catching public transport – you have a job interview to go to in the city and need to catch a bus and do a bit of walking to get there. How do you know how long the trip will take you? Maths! By using maths you’ll be able to work out how long it will take you to get from your home to your job interview. You can also factor in some extra time so that you arrive a bit earlier to gather your thoughts before the interview.
Some tips to help you improve your maths skills
The first thing to do is to practice. The only way to learn maths concepts is to get involved in actually doing maths. Understanding maths concepts rather than just memorising the steps will help you to make connections with other maths concepts as well. Decide on a particular area you’d like to learn such as addition and practice simple problems as much as possible. Once you feel confident that you have a thorough understanding of the basics of how addition works move onto more complicated problems and different concepts.
Finding someone who you can do maths with will also help a great deal. You’ll be able to work out problems together, learn from each other and if you can explain how you solved a problem to them, it will also help you to remember.
The Skillswise website http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/maths has some helpful resources to get you started on your maths journey. They are a UK based organisation so they refer to pounds rather than dollars, but there’s information on everything from numbers, calculations, percentages and fractions, measuring, shapes and graphs.
As you can see, maths is used all the time. Once you have a good understanding of how maths works you can put your new skills into practice immediately. There will no longer be a need to make excuses about numbers not being your thing!
Learn Local organisations can help you improve your maths skills in a relaxed friendly environment! Find out more here: http://learnlocal.org.au/wycl/read-and-write/