Should I just give my child the answer if he/she has no idea?

When working alongside children Pam and I rarely give the answer. We ask questions that help the child we are working with to come to a conclusion for him/herself. This takes time and needs to be done in a supportive environment, in order for the child to feel he/she has the time to really think.

One of the joys of Home Educating is that you have the time, plenty of time, which really means you can support your child’s maths learning.

Obviously there will be times when your child can see no way forward with a new concept or answering a problem.  That’s when questioning comes into its own.

How questions can support mathematical thinking.

If your child works things out for him/herself, even with your support, it will boost his/her self confidence. Once he/she starts to believe in his/her abilities in maths, then next time your child will be more confident to ‘have a go’.

The kind of questions you ask are important.  There has been much research on questioning.

Full paper about styles of questioning the article above was taken from

Sometimes though it is important just to give the answer and move on.  You will know with your child when it is the right time to do this. If your child has no idea how to move forward, even with your questioning support, then it is better just to give the solution.  That will mean you can move forward together.


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Anne and Pam are friends and colleagues with an obsession for improving maths attainment through raising self-esteem.

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