New multiplication breakthrough

After weeks of trying everything from flashcards to speedsheets, Mathblaster to recitation, I think that Ian and I finally hit on something that works! Yesterday he came over to sit on my lap, after playing an online math game (and having plenty of trouble). I held up my hand, and ticked off one finger at a time as we counted by threes. “Three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen!” We did that several times, then I changed my approach. I held up one finger and said, “One times three is:” I had to make him wait until I finished speaking before giving me the answer. (He was stuck on counting by threes and didn’t want to wait.) After we went through the first five factors that way a few times, I began to mix them up (at his suggestion). Lo and behold, it worked! He knew them! The whole process took less than five minutes. Today we will learn up to 3×10 if all goes well, and add on 11 and 12 tomorrow for good measure.¬†Prayerfully, we can learn a family a week using this method, and finally get back into his second grade math books. (We’ve been on hiatus while we focused on multiplication tables.) Hooray for something that works for us!!


What works for your kids? How did you tackle learning multiplication tables in a homeschool setting?

7 responses to “New multiplication breakthrough

  1. Though most lessons were Mom’s to teach, Dad decided, for whatever reason, that teaching the memorization of multiplacation tables would fall under his domain.
    From what I recall, the method involved my simply writing the whole thing down, 1×1 through 12×12 (after each section had been thoroughly reviewed in this manner on its own, of course), until I could do it without having to stop and double-check anything along the way. Then, of course, he would quiz me on various equations at random.
    Didn’t rank too high on the buckets-o’-fun scale, but I guess it did its job. Even though I’m out of practice, most of the numbers will still come to me more or less instanteously.

  2. That’s okay, at least you remember them! I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? My niece told me this morning that she didn’t like math, and I said, “It doesn’t matter; you have to learn it anyway!” I will do whatever it takes to get these multiplication tables into my son’s head. I hope my way works, because it is cuddly and more fun, but I don’t want him to rely on looking at his fingers, so I will need to try some of the old facts without that from time to time. Thanks for the tip! I will resort to your dad’s method, if need be.

  3. How great that you two found something that clicked. I know that must be such a relief, and to you both! I had such trouble with math growing up, all the way into adulthood. It’s refreshing to see a mom so dedicated to helping her son excell at math. Math makes life easier in all aspects, I think. Keep at it! This was so inspirational to read!!

    • Thanks! We had another great day homeschooling. I didn’t get as far as I wanted with the factors; we only made it to 3×7 today, but I really wanted to reinforce everything he learned yesterday, and I figured that a solid foundation was more important than moving quickly. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. YAY!!! I’m so excited for you two. Learning math in a “cuddly” way will bring back fond memories for him and hopefully he will learn to love it instead of hate it. I can’t remember the way Dad taught it to me, but I don’t remember despising math class unless he was at work and couldn’t explain to me what was going on. I usually saved that subject for last. Anyway, I hope it works out for you guys and that your little guy will someday love it as much as you and your husband do.

    • Kimmy, you’re always so full of life and encouragement! Thanks for the comment; I really do think we are going to like this new method. It’s worked better than anything else so far – I mean, he is actually memorizing the answers! He doesn’t even have to count by threes to get there. He definitely has the mind for math; he just needs an attitude for it.

  5. Pingback: Multiplication Breakthrough, 3 years later | Full Circle Homeschooling

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