Where’s the brain food?


This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post tackles brain food. For more info about my book Homemade Kids with lots of ideas about parenting, click here.

“Where’s the brain food?” that was Lola’s plea over the weekend – heartfelt too, as she is revising for her first ever go at a GCSE. Personally I’m in awe of the fact she’s only 13, and this is a maths GCSE. But the rest of her class is doing the same. It seems that state schools often enter able students early for maths.

Brainfood good luck basket – pomegranates, nuts, dried pawpaw & a Hershey’s bar.

My plan today is to make her a snack basket of walnuts, brazil nuts, figs, pomegranates and anything else that strikes me as being possibly brain food. She has also requested mackerel (see pic, count slowly) and bananas. Clearly knows her food groups too…

I think it might be me who needs the brain food: my 10 year old has just worked out that I’m not that great at my times tables. Two sneaky questions of what’s 12×7? OK then, what’s 8 x7? on the way to school (normally I do the asking) caught me opening and shutting my mouth like a drowning fish.

Great opportunity though to ‘fess up and say my maths O level was a D – in other words not a pass, with some serious career consequences. I was lucky to get a university place, and despite teaching journalism at uni now, I do not have the right grades to train as a teacher for primary or secondary school students. I know at least three grownup mums who decided to go into school administration, but found they had to take a maths GCSE to do so. All found this a very testing experience, and they didn’t much like the homework or exams either. Just in case their example inspires you, here are some links, A from the BBC or B look interesting.

Despite my friends brave example I’m not going to have a go at maths again, I’m simply too fearful that I’d fail. After all I’ve just used my fingers to work out that the answers are 84 and 56. They are, aren’t they?

Over to you
Do you know your tables well enough to rattle off the answer, or does it take a few moments to get there? How do you give your children confidence to do maths – or to do the subjects that you know you’re not much good at? Do share, it’s always helpful to find out new ways to learn tough stuff.

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4 Comments on “Where’s the brain food?”

  1. hedgehoghugh Says:

    maths is fun – a game we play at the dinner table – now that is brain food for you. Any food is brain food if it has a good story attached to it … remember that spinach makes you strong and carrots help you see in the dark … so, make up a story about the qualities the food possesses.

  2. Pete May Says:

    Mr Micawber taught me everything i need to know about maths…

  3. nicola baird Says:

    Pete do you mean annual expenditure shouldn’t result in misery, it should be happiness because you’ve kept to your budget? If so, definitely a useful tip from you and Mr Dickens! N x

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