Rescued by my mother - a maths professor's story

Rescued by my mother - a maths professor's story

I enjoyed listening to Radio 4's "The Life Scientific" this morning. Today Jim Al Khalili interviewed Professor Ian Stewart ,a mathematician and author who is currently involved in fascinating research into applying mathematics to problems in biology. You can listen to the whole interview on iPlayer here.

What really struck me was a lovely story about how at age 8 Professor Stewart was really struggling with maths and then:

- Here are his words:

I was very nearly put off when I was about 8, and rescued my mother. I'd been doing badly at maths. I'd been put down into one of the lower groups and I was getting bored. Then a friend of mine pushed me over in the playground and I broke my collar bone so I was stuck at home for five weeks. And my mother decided to stay at home and sort out my maths - so she got the text book and I had to dictate to her because my writing hand was broken. And after we'd done 400 problems, and I got 396 right she marched into the school saying there is nothing wrong with this child's maths - so they put me in the top group and I regained interest in the subject.

Professor Stewart's experience is not unique. In fact I also credit my mother's help as pivotal in helping my maths - I never got to Professor though!

What we parents can all take from this story is that we can help with maths, and make a big difference. Also not being great at maths at age 8 doesn't mean much in the bigger picture - and we should never give up.

We've designed Komodo around the role of the parent because you're the most important factor in home learning. With your encouragement and involvement, we can make a difference.


I'm Ged, Co-founder of Komodo, ex- maths teacher and dad. If you have any questions please get in touch.

About KomodoKomodo is a fun and effective way to boost primary maths skills. Designed for 5 to 11 year olds to use in the home, Komodo uses a little and often approach to learning maths (15 minutes, three to five times per week) that fits into the busy routine. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths - without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths - you can even try Komodo for free.

And now we've got Komodo English too - check it out here.

Related Posts

Why you shouldn't be afraid to overrate your child

There's an important discussion to be had here about pervasive gender stereotypes and how they limit girls' ability to fulfil their potential. But there's another really important take-home for parents, regardless of their children's gender: Don't be afraid to overrate your child

The year 1 phonics screening check - a guide for parents

In Year 1, all children in England take a phonics check. It's not a test, and it's nothing that parents or children can really prepare for. It simply allows schools to check that pupils have learned phonics to an appropriate standard for their age.