It is important for children to understand that the opposite of fact is not fiction. Fiction is something someone made up – usually a story – to appear believable or to make a point. The opposite of fact is in fact taste, preference, or perception; in other words, an individual’s point of view or opinion about a topic to which there is no right or wrong answer.

Your child’s answer to the question; ‘Why does math matter?’ might be a different opinion from her friend’s, but it is no less valid. The real question for the child is this: “Is it my Justified Belief?” If a child writes that they believe math matters because it is a vital skill for their career, the question they should be asked is this: “How can they justify that opinion to themselves first and then others?” In other words, is their opinion authentic? Have they done the work to figure out the truth supporting their answer, do they believe it or have they just written about a vague feeling they have? 

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Excerpted from my book Hybrid Learning.