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Supporting Maths at Home for Older Pupils

Older children’s work at home is likely to be more closely linked to the mathematics recently studied in the classroom. When working with older children at home, parents and carers are often faced with an additional challenge – that of mathematical subject material that they themselves may not have used for many years, or methods with which they themselves are not familiar. For this reason, much of the evidence about supporting older children with mathematics is about structure, encouragement, and routines:

  • Create a daily routine for mathematical practice with your child and reinforce this with praise and rewards. This can increase the amount of time spent ​‘on task’ and improve the effectiveness of how that time is spent.5 You might want to consider linking this routine to the rhythm of a normal school day, but be realistic in what you can manage as a family.
  • Encourage your child to set goals, plan, and manage their time, effort, and emotions. This type of support can help children to regulate their own learning and will often be more valuable than direct help with mathematical tasks. As children become older, more independence can be expected but support will still be needed.
  • Having a place to study mathematics is helpful. This could be a desk in a bedroom or a place at the kitchen table. Ensure your child has the materials they need. Whatever they may tell you, a notebook and pen will always be needed for working out (even when tasks are online) and a ruler is incredibly usueful


Away from providing structure, there are some tips for engaging in mathematical content with older children at home:

  • Many children enjoy practising times tables either online or on paper. There is value in this: evidence shows that pupils need to develop a fluent recall of mathematical facts, and times tables are among the most important of these. Our Maths Challenge is designed to ensure that the children can recall and apply their tables knowledge at speed. Times Tables Rockstars is a great resource for practising times tables.
  • It can be difficult to learn new mathematical content away from the classroom, but research suggests that we should provide opportunities for children to retrieve the knowledge that they have previously learnt. Parents and carers could encourage the children to practice previously studied content, for example by teaching the adults the ‘new way’ of doing it.