I’ve got a math confession to make. My ten year old, fifth grade daughter does **not **know her multiplication facts. And that may be partly my own fault. I never pressed her to memorize them. I kept hoping that it would click and she would just **know **them. But there’s no clicking yet. In fact, even some of the more “easy” math facts still give her problems.

I thought it was like so many other things — potty training and reading, for example. The child has got to be **ready **or the teaching just won’t “take.” I *still *think that, and I’m not *stressed *about the times tables, but her lack of fluency is having a negative impact on our math studies. Sprite gets so bogged down in 7×6 that she forgets the broader point of the word problem we’re working on.

When Sprite was tested in the spring, her computation (called numerical operations) score was a full *two grades lower* than her math reasoning. I felt good about it, actually, since her computation score was right **on **grade level. I know better than to hold back on the advanced math *reasoning *just because arithmetic skills are lagging. We just do both side by side, stretching her mind with tough math ideas **as **we drill the basics.

So with all that said, one of my goals for math right now is the multiplication facts. She’s **got **to master these! (Prayers, ideas, links, and advice are all welcome!) I’ve got to come up with some sort of system with lots and lots of review, something like Spelling Power for multiplication.

This week we worked on x8 and x9, some of the tougher ones. We played a game from the wonderful, free materials at Public Schools of NC Mathematics Instructional Resources. There’s a x8 game in this section —

Resources for Mathematics: Grade Four (2003 SCS), Week by Week Essentials, Weeks 1-4 .

(It still amazes me how playing a **game **makes Sprite excited to do math. She *never *says, “Aww.. this is just a sneaky way to get me to practice my x8 facts!”)

Also, I gave her a x8 math facts chart for reference and told her she had to make her own minibook reference. Sprite chose lots of small matchbooks inside a single fold.

That day, she could call out all the x8 math facts. Victory! Two days later, most of it was forgotten. Sigh… It’s going to take a lot more than a single lesson to master these facts.

Wit and Whimsy says

I envy your calm regarding math facts! My son is 9 (4th grade) and we haven’t even begun multiplication. Computation is a thorn in his side, although he loves math projects and gets concepts easily. What’s your calm mom secret?! 🙂

.-= Wit and Whimsy´s last blog ..The Pet Saga =-.

Anne says

I had a child who struggled with X’s tables until we purchased this book! For her, learning the stories made it much easier!

http://www.amazon.com/Memorize-Minutes-Tables-Alan-Walker/dp/0965176967/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256020436&sr=8-8

.-= Anne´s last blog ..Face*book =-.

Drue says

My son and I are going through a similar situation. He hates any kind of drill, brought him to tears to be timed or rushed, so I backed off. He has no problem with the concepts of higher math but his slowness in recalling facts frustrates him but still not enough to spurn him on to commit them to memory. (At this point when he gets stuck he just stares off into space without endeavoring to find the answer or calculate it another way) We had some good success with Times Tales, a very good mnemonic program that helps with the higher numbers that many kids struggle with. In this case, my not following up every day with some sort of drill or flashcards has reduced his retention. I am still of a mind that every day usage and games will eventually wend their way into his mind. You can also use the free version of Timez Attack, a computer game where they advance through the levels by mastering the math. My daughter 7 loved Timez Attack and far surpasses her 9 yr. old brother in retention.

Michelle says

You might want to try Math Wrap Ups. These are great drill manipulatives: http://www.amazon.com/WRAP-UP-BASIC-MATH-INTRO-KIT/dp/B00006667A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1256025289&sr=8-1

They can also be bought separately. Here’s the one for multiplication: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Wrap-Ups-Multiplication-Wrap-Ups/dp/B0007P95JA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1256025289&sr=8-2

All the best. 🙂

.-= Michelle´s last blog ..Moving from Well-Trained Mind to Charlotte Mason =-.

Barbara says

Jimmie,

I have struggled with my son over math facts. He is 11 and still does not know all his facts. We work on it, but continue with other math concepts which he seems to understand and enjoy. We did buy the Math in Minutes book this year and he seems to like them and they are helping a lot. If it makes you feel better, I never really memorized the multiplication facts and I have a college degree! Sometimes my older son has to help me with the nines!!

.-= Barbara´s last blog ..Animal School =-.

Jolanthe says

Going to check out that link that Anne suggested. 🙂 We’re using a few different things too, but that whole ‘consistency’ on MY part is a pesky little issue {cough.cough}.

We love Times Tales, but one of our is soooooo S.L.O.W. when it comes to answering the facts. She starts thinking and then the mind wanders….sigh

Love to hear what you come up with, especially if it’s a magic CURE! I’m thinking of forgoing the typical math lessons for a week or two and just hammering home the basic facts.

.-= Jolanthe´s last blog ..A New Virus? =-.

Sarah at SmallWorld says

Oh, wow–I love that NC math site, thanks! We are still drilling X tables at grade 7. I have seen big progress every year, but my daughter still doesn’t have amazingly quick recall.

.-= Sarah at SmallWorld´s last blog ..Field Trip: Stones River National Battlefield =-.

kelli says

My daughter is 12 and struggles with her times tables–she has the upper one memorized from using “Times Tales” but it’s the “easy ones” that she has trouble with

Dana says

We had good luck with Times Tales too, and now they have the threes and fours. I know what you mean about the lack of mem. getting in the way of the big picture. That made us work extra hard on the facts, too!

.-= Dana´s last blog ..jayden’s seventh birthday =-.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom says

Jimmie,

I have one son that has so much trouble memorizing anything. (Sidenote: We are using Poetry Memorization from IEW this year in high school and he is LOVING it.)

Anyway, he was doing what your daughter is doing…bogging down when he needed to do things like find a common denominator. The *best* thing that helped him the most was lots of practice and he found Quarter Mile Math to be just the vehicle for practice. I assigned “computer time” for him one day a week during math so he could work exclusively with QMM. It was amazing how fast he caught on.

Math facts are so important and it really does cripple them if they don’t have them securely under their belt as they move through middle school math where the concepts are hard enough without struggling to pull up a math fact on top of that.

Hope you find something that helps.

Barb

.-= Barb-Harmony Art Mom´s last blog ..The Right Place….. =-.

Mia says

I know a little mnemonic rhyme that can help with one “8” fact, anyway – “5, 6, 7, 8 – fifty-six is seven times eight!”.

Honestly, if she just gets the basics now, you can always review until she graduates. I’m always forgetting my times tables, and I “re-learned” them just a few years ago with my oldest. However, I’m having to go through them again with my middle daughter. I have one more after her, so I think I’ll have them down pretty good by the time I’m 50! 😉

A few things we’ve used are cards or dice – draw two cards or roll two dice – and multiply them together. Have them say the problem both ways ( 8 x 7 and 7 x 8) and the division as well…I thought it might kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, but it did make the game quite a bit longer.

With the oldest, I also used the download and print multiplication books by Maria Miller of Homeschoolmath.net (Math Mammoth).

With our middle daughter, I have pretty much let her play Timez Attack. She gets so bored with flash cards. She’s very self-motivated and really gets a kick out of playing it. (Even our 4 y/o plays this game and, so far, has learned her 2’s times tables -even though she doesn’t know what it really means yet. lol!)

A wonderful math site I have found that has tips on how to learn the times tables is http://www.mathsisfun.com/tables.html – this would also be great for self-motivated kids. They also have some tips and tricks.

.-= Mia´s last blog ..Send in your post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling! =-.

Dana says

I didn’t read through all of the comments yet, but I HAD TO recommend this site: multiplication.com. It has lots of FUN games and my daughter actually LOVES to play them! On most games, you can even choose that you just want to work on the 8 facts, or whatever.

My dd is in the same position as yours – she still doesn’t have her facts down, but her understanding of math concepts is moving right along. But, it does slow us down! So, I’m so thankful I came across this site last week!!!

HTH!

Dana

.-= Dana´s last blog ..Favorite Co-op Class? =-.

Kris says

I love the match books idea! My younger two are having trouble remember the higher times tables, too, even with Times Tales, as Jolanthe said. I think match books would make a great review tool. Tell Sprite thanks for the idea. 😉

.-= Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers´s last blog ..Reveiw: JumpStart Pet Rescue =-.

Belinda says

I would like to encourage all the mothers out there that it really is NOT the end of the world if children don’t memorise their x-table. I did brilliantly with Math right through school and NEVER learnt my 3,4,6,7,8 x table “off by heart”. Oh, they tried to drill me (which I HATED). But my love for maths and solid understanding made me quick enough and I never suffered for that lack.

On saying that though – my 8 year old daughter was getting into x table and I was not wanting to “drill” her to memorise – but I also noticed that she was not getting quicker. I eventually saw that the reason was because her base was not solid. So I watched a demo DVD of Math-U-See and we decided to give this a go. We actually started with the grade 1 work (even though she is already on grade 3). This was brilliant because now that we went back to the basics I found she was missing foundational things like being able to +2 without having to add in her head (or on her fingers). So we have gone back to basics. Although I don’t like drilling, I have seen that some flash cards and her doing the Math-U-See free online drills (http://www.mathusee.com/drill.html) has really helped her.

She does not “hate” these drills because she can see that she is getting quicker and I have also talked to her about my love for Math and how if she can start seeing these concepts in her mind (fact families like 5, 2 and 7 just being together – seeing with dots how 7 is made up of 5 and 2) Math will get so much easier. It has come out now that she hates subtraction. But with going back to this foundational level she has seen that once you know that fact family, it’s just as easy to add 5+2 as it is to subtract 7-5.

Math-U-See also has a GREAT song cd with skip counting. So it’s not that you memorise 8×8 out of no where, but you do learn to skip count in 8 (8,16,24,32,40 ect). Which is a great foundation for multiplication tables. We have not gotten to Math-U-See multiplication work yet. So perhaps I will finally get to learn my x-table in the next couple of years. 🙂

So my advice. Just go back and check that her basic addition is quick and almost automatic. The only reason I could get away with not “knowing” my x-table was because I could add really quickly. And that is not memorising but rather understanding and seeing the links.

I am so glad you have found games to do for “drill” work. From someone who LOVES Math and HATES drills, this makes my heart glad. Perhaps as I play games with my children I will memorise my x-table and it will be great because there will be no tension or pressure – just fun.

Stefanie says

We use math-u-see and this guy has the most clever methods/tricks for memorizing math facts.

We just learned the x9s today and my dd has them down cold after watching the lesson just once. Multiplying by nine has a very unique pattern and once you figure it out, the lightbulb clicks on. In fact, I can now mulitply my 9’s faster.

Maybe you could get a hold of one of their videos, Gamma level.

.-= Stefanie´s last blog ..Weekly Wrap-Up: Photoless Edition =-.

ellee says

jimmie, i have the same problem, but we’re still drilling addition.

any suggestions for addition?

Heather says

I thought we’d conquered them with my 9 yr old 4th grade daughter. We used Times Tales and it ROCKED. However, she still struggles with them and I have to keep saying…you know Mrs. Week and Mrs. Snowman and she comes up with the rest of the story and says the correct answer. but um that is a cumbersome route!!

Thanks for the idea. I think my dd would like the match books.

BTW, I think I managed to stack the deck on an HSB nomination and I nominated you as well for best variety. 🙂

Heather

Samantha says

I have to back up Dana’s comment – http://www.multiplication.com really has some lovely games that appeal to a wide variety of ages. Many of the math drill games that I have played with my daughter (now 12) stressed her out but the penguin/ice cream game on multiplication.com and the getting fish for people game she really enjoyed on there as well.

I’ve been reading your blog forever – thank you, I have been inspired by your posts so many times!

Samantha

Sandra says

We had most success with focussing on patterns. Dd liked the doubling concept so 2x, 4x and 8x were easy(ish)- double once, double twice or double three times. 10s, 11s, 1s and 0s are always pretty easily mastered. I’m sure you know the tricks and patterns for 9s. The one dd prefers is take one away from the non 9 factor and make that the 10s digit for the answer. Then work out what you need to add to make 9 and that is the 1s digit. Sounds complicated but she has it down pat. Most kids find 5s easy. My dd didn’t. So we worked on halving the 10s answer. Once you’ve got all those there are only a few holes left. We put some work into memorising the 3s. Once she had those we could just double to get the 6s. Knowing that 3×4 was the same as 4×3 helps reduce the sheer fear of how many there seem to be to memorise. For the individual facts that proved troublesome I printed off the cards we need from Jan Brett’s side. I gave her 1 card ever three or four days and quizzed her on it whenever I remembered. She could look at the answer if she need to. I wouldn’t say dd has them all down poat yet but she has the clues and tricks that work for her memorised so she can quickly compute the answer is it doesn’t come instantly. I’ve also taught her how to work out what she can’t remember by using what she can eg if 5×5 is eluding her then recall 4×5, know that you need to add one group of 5 and you have the answer. For audio kids a CD helps, for visual kids colouring in a hundreds chart can help them to see the pattern . Hanging a poster somewhere can also help. For us (I’ve got four kids so I sometimes feel like I’ve been teaching multiplication facts for ever!) it has been little and often using a whole variety of methods… no quick and easy, magic solutions. Rewards for those who have lacked motivation has also helped but only after they have a firm understanding of the concepts!

Diane says

My daughter memorized all the times tables last year and then over the summer promptly forget them. I couldn’t believe it. Now we are back on track again. We used School House Rock’s Dvd with the songs to help memorize and the math drills page on Math u See’s website. Now if we could just get past subtractions facts. My daughter cannot stand subtraction.

Blessings

Diane

.-= Diane´s last blog ..Urgent Prayer Request =-.

Karin Katherine says

Jimmie,

I recommend that you check out Five times Five is not ten.

I think the “tips and tricks” in this book will help Sprite. I reviewed this book for Heart of the Matter and was very impressed with the techniques to help children with the tables that they are having problems with.

Here is the amazon.com link: http://www.amazon.com/Five-Times-Not-Ten-Multiplication/dp/0977732312

.-= Karin Katherine´s last blog ..Fun with Legos =-.

Alex says

My son also has trouble with some multiplication facts, a few that just don’t stick, but slow down his work in Singapore Math! I have a small multiplication table under the glass on our work table, that he is allowed to refer to if needed. He makes me laugh though, because sometimes he refuses to use it, while I would automatically go to it 🙂

Right now it seems subtraction is giving him a hard time again, so he’s practicing by playing computer games. I have found a few that are fun for him.

This one has multiplication too:

http://www.fun4thebrain.com/mult.html

hope that helps,

.-= Alex´s last blog ..Outdoor Hour Challenge ~ Autumn Series ~ Oak and Acorns =-.

Evelyn Saenz says

I love the matchbox fold multiplication chart that Sprite made. Nothing seems to work better than having your child make an activity to get them to truly grasp the concept or memorize the facts.

When my children were learning the times tables we found that playing Yahtzee helped with learning the times tables up to 6.

We played the game 24 to learn all the combinations that add, subtract, multiply and divide related to the number 24.

We also rolled two dice and multiplied the numbers. Multiplied the numbers on dominoes up to 12’s.

You also might find that learning to skip count will help. I have collected hundreds of ideas for skip counting on my http://www.squidoo.com/counting lens.

Lori says

We’ve just started using Timez Attack… tried the free version and she was pleading for me to buy it!! So I did, & then I had to MAKE her stop “playing” it!!! And her retention seems to be improving as well.

Don’t stress too much, it is FAR more important to understand the concept of multiplication, and HOW you do it, than just memorizing facts.

(I’ve explained to my dd, that at this point, I just want her to memorize them to make other math operations quicker, and easier… so she doesn’t have to sit there counting everything out!!)

But yeah, try Timez Attack. (I even found an online coupon for $10 off, so we only paid $29.99, but worth every cent!!)

Marsha says

We use Quarter Mile Math for drilling.

My boys learned the times tables from this Skip Count Kids Bible Heroes CD. (http://www.skipcountkid.com/bible_heroes.html) They still take a second to skip count in their heads, something I am hoping to remedy with Flash Cards and perhaps a required 20 minutes a day on the QMM.

.-= Marsha´s last blog ..I want to be a tree =-.

Ami says

Okay, this might sound hokey, but have you tried Schoolhouse Rocks (Multiplication Rocks)? You can probably watch them on Youtube.

Elementary, My Dear (Two)

Three is a Magic Number

The Four-Legged Zoo

Ready or Not, Here I Come (Five)

I Got Six

Lucky Seven Sampson

Figure Eight

Naughty Number Nine

My Hero, Zero

The Good Eleven

Little Twelvetoes

🙂 Ami

.-= Ami´s last blog ..P is for Pig =-.

Myra says

I homeschool my grandchildren. My grandson (who just turned 11 today) has the utmost difficulty with any memory work. Math facts of any kind are just about impossible to retain. What he might seem to have learned today will be a new concept in a couple of days. Yet, he is articulate, well-read, can do mental calculations in his own unique method, creative, and has great reasoning powers. I am a retired teacher of more than 30 years and he challenges me daily to find new/innovative ways to help him overcome this difficulty (as well as learning how to spell).

Melissa Telling says

Jimmie,

I’ve found that my children learn things a lot faster when I cut out the “unnecessary” information. For instance, when I teach them to read, I start out by only teaching the letter sounds because the names aren’t “necessary” to start reading.

For teaching the times tables, I’ve had great sucess just teaching skip counting. Then the child only has to memorize the answers, not the problems too. If they need to know the answer to four times four, they just count out the first four numbers of the fours. (I also don’t have a problem with counting on fingers. I consider fingers to be cheap, handy manipulatives). With enough practice, they will start to memorize the problems too. My five year old daughter likes skip count as she runs in a circle. Jumping rope is another option.

.-= Melissa Telling´s last blog ..History of Art Co-Op: Ancient Art =-.

Angie says

Thanks so much for sharing that Sprite is having trouble with these — my 4th grader just can’t remember some of them — particularly x6, x7, & x8. We’ll have to try some of your ideas!

.-= Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog ..7 Quick Takes: October 23, 2009 (Vol. 19) =-.

*Kris* says

Yes, my 10 yo Ds is in the very same boat as Sprite, and he gets frustrated that it takes him so long to do some problems because he has to skip count to get the answer. I do see some facts naturally cementing themselves into his memory as he works with each set. Timez Attack helps but he has tired of playing it.

Funny, he learned the 9’s thing from Math U See so they have never been a problem for him. Ds#2 didn’t get the pattern until he was skip counting and realized he just had to go up one in the tens place and down one in the units. That was how he had to discover it before he understood it.

.-= *Kris*´s last blog ..Westward Expansion: Santa Fe Trail =-.