There is one math concept that seems to trouble most homeschoolers.
Surprisingly, it’s NOT Algebra, it is multiplication. I remember learning to multiply when I was in third grade. I skip counted while playing hopscotch, used flash cards after school, took a lot of speed drills, and cried. A lot. I hated to multiply, and I never thought I would never remember all those facts.
That’s why I feel for my kids. Over 13 years I’ve taught 5 kids multiplication, and it always seems to be the same as when I was a kid. We skip count, do practice drills, use flash cards, and stress just a wee little bit over all those facts. I mean let’s face it: The rest of their upper level math skills hang on their ability to multiply, quickly and easily. No pressure or anything, right?
Since we always encounter the same things, I’ve had to become very resourceful. We have found some of the very best helps for kids to learn their times tables that I could possibly ever hope for. Some, I wish I’d had when I was 8!
Yes, really, an actual video game! Best of all, the basic version is totally FREE. If you upgrade to the premium version (which we did at Christmas time!) it unlocks 7 worlds that they can go through in addition to the Castle, which is the free world.
No matter whether you get the paid version or not, your kids will be able to learn ALL of their math facts with Timez Attack. My kids jump on this game right after breakfast frequently, and I have to tell them to go get dressed and make their beds first. That’s how cool it is! And this is the one resource I wished we’d had when our bigger kids were little. They totally missed out on TimezAttack! UPDATE 10/12/16: BigBrainz has discontinued sales of home use downloads. They are still offering the free version to download. If you have previously purchased this product, you will still receive support from them if needed. I am SO sad about this! -Dawn
Xtra Math is a good, quick daily solution for practicing math facts. students spend less than 10 minutes each day working through the facts they have yet to master. Once mastered, they can move on. It’s fun and it’s fast.
Skip counting is the basic way to learn multiplication.
Everyone knows that, but not everyone can SING their 3’s, 7’s or 9’s… but my kids can! I discovered One Hundred Sheep when my 17-year old was a second grader. We had tried two other skip counting tapes (yes, before CD’s were everywhere, lol). One was from Math-U-See (Mack the Muskrat, or something like that) and it was awful. We used Math-U-See curriculum, but that tape? Oh boy. NOT a keeper.
Another CD we tried was one that just set the problems to music, “Two times two is four, two times two is four”… my kids couldn’t stand it and neither could I. Then we got the One Hundred Sheep CD.
Each skip counting song is actually a different SONG, with a catchy tune, and a vocalist who can sing! All of my kids have enjoyed it. We had the tape originally, and I lent it to a friend about 6 years ago and never saw it again. I finally tracked it down and bought the CD when the boys were starting homeschooling. We love it and I think you will too.
Some kids need that tactile input, and some need visual.
Learning Wrap-Ups provide BOTH in a fast paced way. They just wrap the thread around the plastic board, from left to right, then flip it over and they can check their answers on their own! These are great for taking in the car when you need to run errands and have to bring the kids along. We have several sets of them!
Last but definitely NOT least, Donna Young’s resources are fantastic. Donna has this amazing website just chock FULL of printables for homeschoolers! Two of my favorite helps for multiplication are her free Tri-Flash Cards, and the multiplication charts. We have printed sets of the Tri-Flash Cards for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division and used them until they were worn out! I keep the multiplication charts and 100’s charts in plastic sheet protectors, and the kids practice with them using dry erase markers. If you have never explored over at DonnaYoung.org, go there now!
Multiplication can be tricky because there are so many facts to learn. Isn’t it great that we have access to so many different study helps?
Do you have any great ways to help your kids learn their math facts? Please share them in the comments!!