I hope we won’t be marked down as subversive or silly

NEWS COMMENT: A respectful salute to the new guards at the palace

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I know I’ve mentioned supporting my children’s homework before, but I just have to share my anxiety again.

All parents will know what it’s like, sitting down to do maths homework with a child only to discover that the way you learned maths is now classed as archaic and there are all sorts of new confounded rules to get two plus two to equal four.

I’m not saying these methods are better or worse than the way I was taught – they’re just trickier for me as they are far removed from the models that I had drummed into me.

It’ll be very interesting to look at this primary generation in 20 years’ time and see if they are as frightened of maths as my generation appears to be. The majority of my contemporaries talk about maths with a shudder and a grimace.

Maybe these new strategies will pay off and, in time, accountancy and statistics will seem impossibly sexy careers.

I try to restrict my homework help to the English side of the curriculum. That said, my results in an online Year Six test about grammar and punctuation were not what I would have desired.

It seems that I can pretty much ‘do’ the grammar, but don’t know the correct terminology for doing it (a gerund is not a slimy being at the bottom of a Tolkien hole, it’s a word ending in ing).

But now I have a sheet of paper on the kitchen table, glaring at me in a baleful manner. This is the second homework in two weeks to which I have to actively contribute.

The paper is split into halves. My 10-year-old daughter writes thoughts on a subject matter on one side and then I do the same on the other.

Last week our theme was something like the meaning of life – for which I got a massive 42. She was rather cross, but I made up for it by writing some pithy quotes, the kind that your distant relatives paste on Facebook from some sickly quote-generating website.

But this week I have to write about hope. I’ve been ordering my thoughts into a long line and striking off ones which seem too cheesy or trite. And what I am left with? That I hope I can come up with something that won’t get the Compton family marked down as being subversive or silly.