# Learning from Correcting Math Homework

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Dd is finishing up BA 3a, and I've loved some of the helpful BA discussions around here lately about helping kids learn to problem solve!

So how do you keep that problem solving mentality going when it comes to correcting their work? Esp. if they tend toward perfectionism and take your identifying a mistake personally :). Do you tell them the right answer and help them figure out how to get there? I usually just say we need to look at this problem again, try to affirm what I can see she was thinking, or let her lead me through what she did, then offer a clue/suggestion to see if she can find her mistake, without telling her the answer we're shooting for.

But I have no idea if that's the best way!

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I've done two strategies. Although we use BA, we also use MM. With that if there is an error, I'll point to a group of 2-4 problems and say, "One of these isn't quite right. Can you find it and fix it?" It sets it up as a puzzle for him that way. This works well for problems that are fairly quick to check the work on.

The other way is for simple calculation errors. If he is working on a problem and has the process correct but makes a calculation error, I'll point to the part with the error and ask a question that *does* give the answer he has. As a very simple example, if he wrote 4+7=10, I'd point to 4+7=10 and ask, "What is 4+6?" That usually lets him see his own error without me having to say, "You did this wrong!"

Depending on what type of problem has an error, neither of those may be appropriate. In that case you could have her talk you through how she arrived at the answer. If she repeats the error, ask her questions about that step that help her see that it's incorrect and how to do it correctly. That sounds like what you're doing. If she takes offense at it, maybe have her also talk you though correct answers, too. That can be a good way to check understanding--just make sure she knows that she doesn't have to be looking for the "wrong part" if there is no "wrong part."

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If she takes offense at it, maybe have her also talk you though correct answers, too. That can be a good way to check understanding--just make sure she knows that she doesn't have to be looking for the "wrong part" if there is no "wrong part."

I love this suggestion, Silver. What a burden removed for our kids to not always be looking for the "wrong part"!

CardinalAlt, what you're doing sounds great. I think not telling the answer helps to preserve the spirit of inquiry and problem-solving that Beast is trying to foster. But if your daughter really doesn't like you telling her she's wrong, you could always have her check her own work using the answer key. It might help change how she views your input--the two of you could be a team figuring out what went wrong rather than you being the mistake-finder.

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I agree with Kate, Silver, I definitely will try asking my daughter to show me a problem she was really excited to solve, and walk me thru it. She loves playing teacher :)

Kate, I really like the idea of letting her check her own work, at least sometimes, just to change things up a little, shift the balance of power a little more to her side...

Thanks to both of you!

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