HELP! I am a homeschool mama to a crowd of learners...and am having a challenge with my 10 yo son and math. Specifically the dreaded times table ( du du du DUN)
I was a good public school student, and I learned my times table by rote in 4th grade. I can chant it to him without having to "think" about 6x7 is 42. He is NOT like me. Which is ok, but I need to find someway to help him.
He gets all the answers right, but it takes SO LONG - up to three hours to work a page of 50 problems. And he understands the concept of multiplication, that three sets of four is twelve.
I've tried printing out a times table grid for him to fill in - everyday for weeks. We've colored the different facts, to see that there are many ways to make 12 or 24 for instance. I've tried the poster with one number and all its factors. I've tried skip counting - which he hates. I have a set of unit blocks and the colored rods, but haven't found a way to make this help him, although it did work for addition and subtraction and place value.
Math has not ever been something he loves, but this is bringing us both near tears, and that's NOT the emotion I want to associate with learning at home.
I think memorizing the times table is important for speed and ease of the later higher math we will be covering, and am willing to take as long as he needs to be able to access the multiplication facts quickly and correctly. But I am hoping we can not need a few years to do this.
Sorry this is long, and thanks for reading.
Milo
....living, learning and loving everyday with the Sweet Pea Bridgade
One tangent thought - if he understands the multiplication process, it's not really necessary to be doing lots of problems for practice it. It's pretty simple stuff, but all that repetition can make math seem tedious and boring. When I took my son to a math tutoring center at around 10 yrs. of age, the owner of the center told me she spent most of her time trying to undo the negative impressions children had developed from all the unnecessary drilling and worksheets they'd had to do in school. But as for learning multiplication facts, you might look into the game, TimezAttack. And if you scroll down to the "M" section in my list of math links, you'll find lots of online games and other helps about learning multiplication facts. And I think it might actually be helpful to take a break from a focus on it, because, as with other things, they might start to gently fall into place when his mind is a little more eased up from it. He has plenty of time to learn them, so there's no need for him to have to feel stressed over it. - Lillian
Is he good at skip counting? Not just by 2s, 5s, and 10s, but also 2s, 4s. 6s. etc... That can help SO much.
There are also some good multiplication songs available on iTunes, and I've seen some cool electronic math games on Amazon (some handheld, some video games with mats and movements).
He hates skip counting. His older brother ( who loves math ) used to skip count out loud to amuse himself or for encouragement when he got frustrated. My 10 year old doesn't see the appeal of the patterns in it.
....living, learning and loving everyday with the Sweet Pea Bridgade
My eight year old has always been very good with math. It was his favorite subject. When we hit mulitiplication last week, he immediately decided that it was stupid and he wanted no part of it. We are still struggling with it but we're not doing well. I think the program he is using is skipping something. They did a great explanation of 3 sets of 4 and things like that. But then the next lesson jumped in to things like 9 X 9. There was no building up to it. I can't figure out how to present it other than just by memorization which he has never done before. So I'm all ears for suggestions. I did try the TimezAttack but I couldn't get it to load properly.
Kathi
:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
We're doing multiplication with my 9yo! Here's what I did, and she LOVED it.
Print out the times table square, point out there are 100 facts to learn...but they don't have to learn 100 facts!
Ask what they know. They know the zeros, the ones, probably most of the twos, fives are easy peasy, and tens are no sweat. With a black crayon, x those out.
Now find the 'matching' ones and explain the commutative property means you can switch the numbers and get the same result. So 2x3 is the same as 3x2, so you can cross out one of those as well. Do that for all the remaining products, you should be x'ing out half of what is left.
When we did this, she realized she only had 21 to learn, and of those the 9s are super easy (finger count those, it's awesomely simple) and the rest (about 16) are pure memory. Not bad at ALL!
GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first! Humanist Woman Wife , & Friend Plus Mama to 6 (3 mos, 2, 9, 13, 17, 20)
the best way for kids to get quicker with math facts is for them to need to know them. If he understands the concept of multiplication, I would just move on. Eventually he will realize that he needs to speed up and will.
Or bribery. Seriously, have you considered saying that he needs to do x amount of problems and has y amount of time. If he finisheds in less time then he can do what he wants (with DS this is always video games) until the time is up. If he takes the whole time doing his problems, that's just the way it is.
That said, if he is taking that long to do "only" 50 problems... how is he getting his answers? Because addressing that may also be an issue (related to how well he does understand things). One thing that helped DS was to memorize *some* facts and realize that he could always go from there. So, if he couldn't remember 6x7 think "well, I know 6x5 and 6x2 so..." My concern with him taking 3 hours for 50 problems (if they are just simple multiplication, that should be taking less than 5 minutes, imo) is that maybe he doesn't truly understand it.
Have you considered doing a very short amount daily? How about an online timed thing instead (math facts in a flash or the like)?
Assuming, of course, that he does get the concepts and just needs motivation to really get them down cold.
(fyi, the rocket game is really fast. I had trouble with it. : But I did improve my time the second round!)
THANKS for the links! My son is kind of in the same boat as OP. We will definitely be trying these games tomorrow. (Well of course I had to test-drive the penguin game a few times tonight...)
I found the most amazing thing to be a cheap program called Times Tales.
It's weird, but so incredibly effective. Ds was 8 when we used it. We spent about 2 weeks on it and he loved every minute. He is now 9.5 and still remembers ALL of it.
It focuses on the "hard" tables (3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s) and uses picture association.
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Another pitch to try a variety of creative and fun ways to memorize the timestables, but not to hold your son's math education hostage to them. Move on in math as well. If you don't think he's ready for what's coming up in whatever curriculum you're using, make a diversion into something like Hands-On Equations, Games for Math, Key To Geometry, fractals, probability and Calculus for Kids. Real mathematics is so much more than arithmetic and some of the best mathematicians barely survived their arithmetic education. Don't let it be an unyeilding obstacle to the more interesting stuff.
Miranda
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Try counting up - it is slow, but I am not overly sure that matters in the long run.
Example: he knows 5x6 is 30. He knows 5x6 means 5 groups of six. He should be able to realise that 6x6 is 5x6 plus another group of 6! So....36.
7x6 = 5x6 plus 2 more groups of 6 (2x6). 30+12.
I think taking a break from multiplying if is causing you frustration might be a good idea. Here is a site with some cool math to play with while on break
Traditionally, there is a lot of heavy duty arithmetic from 9-12 and a lot of it is rather dull, and involves huge amounts of paper. Adding and subtracting big number, multiply and dividing big numbers, decimals....shudder. Sometimes breaking overwhelming projects (and learning the multiplications tables is a big task!) into smaller more manageable parts is the way to go. You can build on success and the whole thing might be less frustrating.
Timez Attack, via bigbrainz.com really helps with speed in a fun way because of the game clock. It will also return to the problems your son has trouble with until he gets them down. We are using it for my son and he loves it. There is a free version and a version with more graphics settings for like $40.
Katie, mama to one big boy (6/03) and one little boy (12/08). It is never the wrong time to do the right thing.
The schoolhouse rock songs helped my DS - multiplication tables is actually one of the easiest things he's learned, since it's just memory, and my son does struggle with math a lot.
We used doubles twice for the x4 problems and then the 9 trick for the 9 problems. 5's we used skip counting. We used a few rhymes for some of the hard ones, like this one I found online:
My ds hates timed tests, found TimezAttack too crazy, but absolutely loves Personal Math Trainer. He willingly subjects himself to multiple timed tests every day for fun.
Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.
Another pitch to try a variety of creative and fun ways to memorize the timestables, but not to hold your son's math education hostage to them. Move on in math as well. If you don't think he's ready for what's coming up in whatever curriculum you're using, make a diversion into something like Hands-On Equations, Games for Math, Key To Geometry, fractals, probability and Calculus for Kids. Real mathematics is so much more than arithmetic and some of the best mathematicians barely survived their arithmetic education. Don't let it be an unyeilding obstacle to the more interesting stuff.
Miranda
I second this advice - my 10yo daughter has the same issues - she can eventually figure out the problem, but the recall of mult. tables is not good or fast. We still practice them, but we do other math and just keep going (we are in Right Start level E). I don't want her to think that mult. tables is all of mathematics. We don't so a ton of problems for each concept so it doesn't take her forever to finish if there is a lot of multiplication in the lesson.
One thing that has restored us and encouraged us (and I needed it as well) is reading math "living books" - like the Murderous Maths series and now Penrose the Mathematical Cat.
Thank you ALL for all the links and encouragement. We did take a break from the math ( and all school ) for an extra long weekend while Daddy was home from work, and then I found an online freebie that gives 5 minute drills on multilplication, with several levels. He has voluntarily been practicing for 15 or 20 minutes a day, with no whining and we are both much happier! The game keeps track of your score, and repeats any missed problems. He is proud to report his score to me each time.
And we have moved on to talk about money and time, very hands on, during our seatwork time.
Anyway, thanks again.
Milo
....living, learning and loving everyday with the Sweet Pea Bridgade