Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Multiplication Help

Hi! Sorry I've been MIA. Funny how sometimes I blog several times a week and other times I feel I have nothing to say.

My daughter Taevy is having a HORRIBLE time memorizing her multiplication facts. She understands the concept of multiplication, but is stuck counting up to the answer rather than doing the more common thing--memorizing. I've read that lots of ADHD kiddos do this.

Taevy has an exceptional memory. She has a very sharp mind. There is no lack of intelligence. But memorizing multiplication facts is not on her to do list!

We've tried games like "Multiplication War." We've tried LOTS of drilling--oral and written. We've tried simply writing the tables out over and over. She can get right answers, but only after she counts up (combination of skip-counting and one at a time counting). She eventually gets right answers, so she feels no need to memorize. However, the length of time it takes her to get correct answers isn't going to cut it as she gets older. I feel that she needs to memorize these facts.

I keep thinking about the kids in Ghana that memorize multiplication facts very early in their education but often times have no concept of what multiplication is. They just know the right answer. I've got a kid who understands the concept but won't memorize the answers!

Maybe with Kendi and Bright I'll teach them to memorize their multiplication tables in Kindergarten and explain what it's all about when they are older (sort of like we have kids memorize the alphabet long before we teach them how to understand letters/letter sounds)!

If you have a multiplication trip, please share!


hnracademy 4:54 PM  

My advice, skip it. No really. I got a minor in math in college, and you know what, I still didn't have all of them memorized! Upper level math is much more about understanding concepts than about whether or not you have your math facts down cold.

Now if you want to give her lots of opportunity to use the facts so that she has a reason to know them, you might try times attack (free on-line game). I did have my dd play the game until she knew them all, but that was a couple of years ago, and now she still has a few that she has to figure out (or yell at mom and ask).

Really, if she understands how to get the answer, math facts are like spelling. We have spell check and we have calculators. Don't worry about it.

exmish 5:00 PM  

We have used a book called "Memorize in Minutes: The Times Tables" where it turns every problem into a story that the kids can remember - if she's more a verbal kid, maybe those numbers would help.

Or you could just opt not to worry about how quickly she can multiply and trust that as long as she's coming to the right answers, the speed may not matter all that much. :D

How about Schoolhouse Rock, too?

Just some ideas! :)

Heather 5:02 PM  

Ugh. I hear ya. Mary does about 10 pages of adddition and subtraction 5 days a week, plus flash cards. She gets it, but still has to count to get the answers out with her fingers. Drives me NUTS. I'm dreading moving on to multiplication. Can't wait to hear some ideas on here though!

flacius1551 5:13 PM  

If she likes to sing, you could sing the multiplication tables together. There are a lot of multiplication songs on the web.

Spike and Tuna Jones 5:23 PM  

With my children we stopped all other math until the new and most trying concept was learned. Litterally. I only did facts until they were mastered. For my youngest we used an online game. I also have MasterPak 1 and 2. We played card games, anything that triggered learning for that child. But I DID NOT go on until the light bulb went on and they knew them. Oh, for my youngest, we used rewards. BIG rewards because she struggled so greatly. We knew she tried hard but couldn't get it right away. She responded well to the reward.

Good luck with this and don't stress. As I told my kids, you never stop learning... even Math.

noranott 6:08 PM  

Oh gosh. I never did memorize my multiplication tables! We had a horrible computer program called "Math Blaster" that my mom made me play for hours. I'm sorry, I can't help you. Take heart, though- I have a graduate degree and a good job, and I still have to count up!

Faith and Mark 6:22 PM  

No tips, but I & my sister are horrible at multiplication. Neither of us have ADHD, we just aren't math people. I still to this day skip count or take a long time to figure it out in my head. I think some people are better at it than others. Just keep working at it. If she understands the concept and knows how to skip count, then the rest may come.
(or she could just be like me, and I turned out okay;)

Cat 6:40 PM  

email me at cat dot brainerd at gmail.com (no spaces). I have some ideas! One idea is easier to explain via email, but also check out "Timez Attack" (just google it and you can download the free version). My girls have come LEAPS and bounds with that. It's a cute game that basically forces drill.

A. Gillispie 9:47 PM  

Thanks for all the comments! I had no idea it was so common for folks to have difficulty memorizing their multiplication facts. Good to hear from those that don't have them memorized but have still succeeded in life!

The other day I asked my hubby what he thought we should do. Ironically, it was basically the same as one of you suggested--make sure she has her 5's, 9's, and doubles. Let her go to highest fact she knows and count up from there, and stop worrying about it.

I guess we'll just keep multiplication practice as a regular part of our schedule and keep going forward with other math concepts.

Danielle 10:50 PM  

Many times when Danny is struggling with something (anything from reading to drinking from a cup), we take a break from it and come back to it in a couple months. That is the beauty of homeschooling...she doesn't have to learn on someone else's schedule!

Also, my friend runs a website with a huge variety of FREE worksheets if you ever need them. And you can change which problems are on the page by hitting refresh and printing a new one. If you ever need it, you can find those at www.handwritingforkids.com.

Lots of luck to both of you. I loved memorization but hated math facts with an undying passion, so I feel her pain!

Renee 12:41 PM  

We use a program called Math-It. I just looked at CBD and it has gotten pricey. Yikes http://www.christianbook.com/basic-math-it-elmer-brooks/pd/934928?event=CF

I think your plan sounds like a good one. Memorizing those facts and then using them will go a long way.

The Last Crusade 1:28 PM  

My brother was also homeschooled, had adhd and couldn't (absolutely did NOT want to) memorize them. My mom just had him chant each set (reading them from a paper) about 5 times everyday. He finally accidentally memorized them all.

mrsbroccoliguy 8:24 PM  

My ADHD girl also has a very hard time with math facts... adding, multiplying, all of them. Last year she HAD to memorize them for weekly tests so I got this CD "Multiplication Unplugged" ... it has a song for every number up to 12 and teaches both skip-counting and the facts. Unfortunately, the part that stuck was the skip-counting. But, at least she CAN get the right answer, eventually. But I'd still love for her to really memorize the facts. Think I'll look into some of the tips people have left here!