Maths is not my strongest subject. I tend to pass over the support for maths homework to Julian so when I was approached by Matr, a one-to-one online maths company to see if I would like to try out the program, it was out of interest not just for Dylan but for myself too. I thought it would be nice to be involved in the maths work for a change and maybe help both of us along the way.
Dylan is 9 (turning 10 in May) and has struggled with his academics as a result of his dyslexia over the years. Thankfully with the support of some amazing teachers and the correct resources he is coping much better. My initial concern when agreeing to take part in the program, was that he may struggle and it could put him back a step to two with his confidence. We agreed that if he felt uncomfortable with it or it was causing him any upset we would reconsider carrying on the program, but as it turned out it was quite the opposite.
I spoke to Matr about all this before the course started. They were very understanding and helpful when setting everything up. They were also very flexible about times and dates for the lessons. We picked 6pm as it meant I had support from Julian in getting Matilda to bed and I could keep myself free if Dylan needed my help.
At the moment the program is only available on the laptop or desktop with google chrome as a browser, it does not work on mobiles or tablets. This didn’t cause us any issues but I think it’s worth mentioning as I know some people only have tablets. You will also need a headset to be setup for the program.
The first lesson
I made sure we were all set up and ready to go ten minutes before the lesson start time. Dylan was slightly apprehensive but before the lesson actually starts you have an opportunity to get used to finding and using the icons, writing and typing in the relevant boxes and try some maths questions to get you started. When you have completed this part it takes you to the home screen and it has a countdown clock to let you know when the tutor will be online.
Dylan is used to using a head set and was quite comfortable when the teacher came through to start the lesson. If you have a child that has never used one before they may find it a little strange initially but sure after a few minutes they will get used to it. The teacher was lovely, incredibly calm and patient and took time to firstly make sure Dylan was comfortable in finding his way around the screen and whilst doing that she took time to find out about some of his interests. The lesson lasts around 50 mins and if any time Dylan wanted a break of anything he just had to say. I pottered about in the background and let him get on with the lesson and just on occasion had a look to see what they were doing. The lesson was mainly based around place values. Dylan managed well and it was nice to hear him relaxed and chatting to the tutor. At the end of the lesson the tutor summed things up by asking what he had learnt today. After they said goodbye he could do what they called a ten minute cool down exercise which we did together and talked about what he had learnt.
The Second lesson
I felt we were more prepared for this lesson. We knew how it would work and I was confident it was all set up properly on the computer for Dylan to get started. As with the first lesson we had a warm up exercise and when complete the countdown clock came up so we knew how long it would take for the tutor to come on line. The tutor came on at the exact expected time and spent a few minutes asking Dylan about his week and helping him relax into the lesson. They recapped what they had covered last week. This week amongst things they looked at rounding numbers, application and sequences. Dylan enjoyed the lesson and said it flew by quickly. The lesson was again finished with summing everything up and a ten minute cool down.
The third lesson
The third and final lesson for us. Dylan was tired this week, last week of school term and a cold hanging on but he was still keen to get started and the tutor was really patient when he was struggling at times tonight. She repeated parts he was struggling with and even though you have a set length of time for the lesson, at no point did she push him. They expanded on areas covered in the past two lessons and it was obvious how much Dylan had picked up and progressed from the first lesson.
Final thoughts on the Matr program
This was a totally new experience for us and I did wonder how we would both manage it. At no point either before, during or after the lessons did Dylan moan, or show any concerns for the extra maths. In fact after the first lesson he was quiet excited about it and thought it was a different ‘cool’ way to learn maths. He progressed quickly with the lessons and it’s helped with supporting his maths at school. I would definitely recommend it for children at any level as the instructors can set the lessons around the level the children are at.
Matr gives primary school aged children in the UK online one-to-one maths tuition. The tutors are maths experts trained to teach KS2 national curriculum from 7 to 11 year olds. Matr have also written this piece explaining how the program works which I would recommend having a look over for more advise. It was definitely a thumbs up from Dylan, thanks for having us on board to have such a positive maths experience, Matr.