From Our House to Yours
Summer – a great time to work on math multiplication facts!
We’ve used Singapore Math’s levels from kindergarten through 6B with Heart of Dakota’s guides with all three of our sons. Each son has varying math abilities, but all benefited from Singapore Math. With multiplication fact memorization, I think it’s important to give time to see if kiddos get it on their own. If they do, there’s no need to practice them. In general, Singapore Math students memorize their facts later, but they understand the process better. One of my sons was able to memorize his multiplication facts just by working through Singapore Math. Another one of my sons memorized his facts with just the addition of flashcard practice. However, one son needed more help with his multiplication facts. We found summer a great time to work on this!
Skip Count Kid’s Bible Heroes Musical Multiplication Songs
The Skip Count Kid’s Bible Heroes Musical Multiplication Songs CD was inexpensive, easy, and fun. Now, these songs are even available on YouTube for free! My son really enjoyed these original songs. He even often sang or hummed them off and on throughout the day, just for fun! We began with the songs of the easier multiplication facts. The lower numbers were easier for him, and they were really just a confidence booster at the start. I made sure to have him follow along in the booklet. The booklet includes the lyrics to the songs, and you can print it by clicking here. I know the booklet looks antiquated. It doesn’t matter. The point is for children to visually be seeing the facts as they follow along in the booklet and sing. That connection helps with memorizing multiplication facts so much!
Moving on to the Harder Multiplication Facts
Once my son was confident in his easier multiplication facts, we moved on to the harder ones. On Mondays, he did the 6’s. Then on Tuesdays he did the 7’s. On Wednesdays, he did the 8’s. Then on Thursdays he did the 9’s. For Fridays, he could pick any of the songs he wanted to do just for fun. After he sang along with the songs following along in his booklet, he practiced their accompanying flashcards. So after singing the 6’s on Mondays, he did the 6’s flashcards. I did not time him, but rather focused on just encouraging him to move through them the best he could at first. Then, we focused on trying to go a little more quickly. Some kiddos are motivated by the timer with multiplication facts, and some aren’t. He wasn’t!
A Few Other Noteworthy Tips
A few other noteworthy tips – first, it takes time! Try not to get frustrated! Over the duration of the summer, my son got better and better at his facts. Yours will too! Second, consistency is key. So, doing this at least four times a week is important for carryover. Third, black and white flashcards are best. This helps kiddos focus on the numbers themselves, rather than on cutesy pictures or colors. Just like looking at stark white on black leaves an imprint that remains when you close your eyes, so do black and white flashcards. Fourth, when a child misses a fact, turn the card over and let him/her see the fact with the answer written out on the back. This further imprints the fact on the brain. (Saying it out loud helps too!) Finally, finger counting while skip counting is fine! They will give it up naturally eventually.
We did this routine for memorizing multiplication facts two summers in a row. The second summer we added the 11’s and 12’s. My son finally got his multiplication facts down pat! He will still occasionally hum the skip count tune or count quickly on his fingers to get to the answer. However, he gets the answers right consistently and quickly, usually in under 3 seconds. My favorite multiplication fact cards are the Trend cards. They are inexpensive, sturdy, big, black and white, and they have the answers with the facts on the backs. While you can do division cards too, we found the multiplication songs with the flashcards taught the division naturally already. Hope these tips help your kiddos with their multiplication facts too!