Summer is a great time for math fact practice!

Teaching Tip 

Summer is a great time to work on math fact practice.

Summer is a good time to work on firming up needed skills. Math fact practice is an easy skill to work into your summer. It is important for kiddos to memorize their addition facts and their multiplication facts. Once children know their addition and multiplication facts, they often automatically know their subtraction and division facts.

When should children learn their math facts?

Public schools often have little ones learning their addition facts as early as first grade. They typically have students learning their multiplication facts as early as third grade. I tend to be on the later side for working on memorization of facts. I usually wait until the end of second grade or third grade to make sure kiddos have their addition facts down. I’ll wait until the end of fourth or even fifth grade for drill of multiplication facts.

Why wait to drill the math facts?

I tend to wait for several reasons. First, I want to give the child every chance to learn these facts on his/her own through the math curriculum. Second, I want the child to see the need for learning the facts to solve math problems more quickly. Third, I want the child to understand the “why” behind the “how,” or the meaning of what he/she is memorizing. Whenever your child learns his/her facts, summer is a great time to work on this important area.

How can you make easy flashcards for drilling your child?

One easy way to do this is to cut index cards in half. Use the cut cards to make a set of addition cards for the 0’s. Make separate cards for 0+1, 0+2, 0+3, 0+4, 0+5, 0+6… all the way up to 0+12. Use a black marker on a white card to write the facts. Then, use a pencil to very lightly write the answer on the back of the card. To conceal the answer better, you can put a small piece of masking tape on the back of the card. Then, write the answer lightly in pencil on top of the tape. After your child has learned the 0’s set, make a set of cards like this for the 1’s. Continue making sets of cards for the 2’s, 3’s, and so on…up through the 12’s.

What simple process can you use to help your child learn the facts?

Set a time limit that your child must meet to “pass” the set of cards. 15-20 seconds is a good range, depending on the child. Time your child in passing the 0’s. Give an appropriate small reward once the child passes the 0’s. Then, move on to the 1’s. This same process works well for memorizing multiplication facts. Have the child practice only one set of cards each day and come to you when ready to test.

How can you motivate your child to learn the facts?

We paid our kiddos a quarter each time they passed a set of cards. We gave them a dollar upon completion of all 12 sets of cards. You can structure this any way that works for you.

What are the benefits of this method of fact memorization?

This method of memorization has several benefits. Memorizing a small set of cards at a time that follow a pattern is so helpful. Plus, the black writing on the white card really impresses the fact’s image in the child’s memory bank. Once the cards are made, you can save them for future kiddos! Try partnering with your child in this and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Summer – a great time to work on math multiplication facts!

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.

In Closing

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!

In Christ,

Julie

Math depends on the teacher and not the textbook

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than upon the textbook and few subjects are worse taught ; chiefly because teachers have seldom time to give the inspiring ideas … which should quicken imagination.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 1, p. 233)

Use a markerboard to ease writing frustrations in math!

Teaching Tip:

What is one way to ease writing frustrations?

Do your kiddos get frustrated or weary with writing? As the school year is underway, I am reminded of an important tool I use often to ease writing frustrations. We use a 9″ x 12″ dry-erase lapboard and dry erase marker regularly throughout our school day. Writing on a markerboard is a welcome change from writing with a pencil on paper. Lapboards are easy to erase and can be written on much larger than on regular paper. Using a lapboard also helps kiddos focus on a small portion of writing at a time.

How does using a markerboard help ease writing frustrations during math?

Think of some of the frustrations that come with math time. Rushing through problems, making silly mistakes, feeling overwhelmed with too many problems, and messy writing are frustrations that spring to mind. Using a markerboard and a dry erase marker to do the textbook problems can really help with many of the math frustrations. On a markerboard, kiddos can see the problem written larger and have more room to work. They get a break from using a pencil and are able to write larger. They can erase mistakes easily and focus on only one problem at a time. My boys love flashing the markerboard to me, so I can check it quickly. Then, they love erasing the markerboard in a flash after I tell them they have the problem right!

What other subjects work well on a markerboard?

Using a markerboard and a dry erase marker to diagram sentences can really help with grammar frustrations. Diagramming goes quickly on a markerboard, plus it is very visual representation! Having your child write spelling words or studied dictation passages on a markerboard works great too. Writing Drawn into the Heart of Reading responses on a markerboard for your child to copy later is another great use. Listing writing ideas as your child brainstorms them for writing sessions works well too. Writing a numbered lists of school tasks for your child to check off as he works independently is another way we use a markerboard.

Try using a markerboard to make writing more fun.

Once you begin thinking of ways to use a markerboard during your school day, you will find endless uses for it. So try this great tool today! See if it helps ease writing frustrations and make writing more fun at your house. I know it has at mine!

Blessings,

Carrie

Does your child waste time during math?

Teaching Tip: 

Does your child waste time during math?

As I’ve been thinking about math these last few weeks, I wanted to share a tip that is really needed in this area. The tip is what Charlotte Mason so eloquently refers to as “not letting a child become stupid over his lessons.” In modern day terms, this equates to not letting a child daydream, stare into space, or waste time over his lesson. As parents it is our job to be there during subjects that lead to much wasted time. This is especially true for subjects that can be linked to long pauses between working moments. Math is one of those subjects.

How can you help your child stay focused during math time?

Partnering with your child to talk through math problems is a great way to keep your child focused. Discussing how to solve the problems will keep your child interacting with the text. Pointing out errors immediately and helping your child fix mistakes before they are repeated will move your math time along quickly. Leaving a child to work on his own often means the math lesson will go on much longer than needed! It also means your child could become really frustrated by the lack of forward motion or the sheer volume of problems to be completed.

Staying nearby to help is an easy way to keep math time productive.

Stay nearby to keep math sessions focused and productive. If you catch your child wasting time and staring into space, it often means he needs you to help and redirect. Watch your child during math, and if he “becomes stupid over his lessons,” jump in and move it along. Try this tip and see if your day goes better! I know my days go better when I keep this tip in mind.

Blessings,
Carrie