Learning your math facts is kind of like following a diet plan.

Sometimes we really want to lose weight. It always sounds so simple. Just stick to the plan, it will be easy. Don’t forget to count your calories. Don’t forget to eat the correct foods. Don’t forget to exercise. Don’t forget to drink your water. Hmm, I thought it was supposed to be simple!

Well, learning math facts is a lot like my description of losing weight! There is a lot more involved in the process!

Let’s take multiplication facts as an example of learning “math facts.” It sounds so easy! You only need to memorize the facts of 0-10 to really declare you have mastered your math facts. That shouldn’t take too long, right?

Well, I have news for you. It takes longer for some kids than others. Just like losing weight. Some people can get the job done a lot faster than others. For some people, it is just easier.

But, the fact remains, that kids need to understand the concept first. Multiplication is repeated addition. Kids need to understand the idea of addition. They need to have mastery of their basic math facts. They need to work on their conceptual ideas of adding in groups. Then they need to put these facts to memory. That is a big deal for kids!

So, how can we make this task easier? As I stated, earlier, a really solid understanding of addition is key for memorizing multiplication facts. For division, kids need a solid understanding of subtraction.

When I have a student that is struggling, I typically use manipulatives to support their learning. You can use just about anything. Simple macaroni shells work wonders as do lima beans or pinto beans. Anything a child can manipulate with their hands. You can get fancy and purchase colored tiles. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” The goal is to allow the child to use the counters to do the addition. Once they have their facts mastered, they will be able to understand multiplication, because that is repeated addition in groups.

A simple way to start with multiplication is to count by twos. A child can grab two counters and place them in a group by themself, Then they can add another group of two and add the two groups together. They can now see that 2 X 2 is the same as 2 + 2 which equals 4. They progress to 2 X 3 which is three sets of 2 and they understand that 2 X 3 is the same as 2 + 2 + 2 which equals 6. Once they get this idea, you can try other numbers. There are many experts that will recommend learning math facts in order from 0-10 in chronological order, but I think I would recommend 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s, then do 1’s, 3’s, 6’s, 9’s, 4’s, 8’s, 0’s, and end with 7’s.

Don’t forget to teach kids that multiplication is commutative. That means you can change the order of the factors, so if your child cannot remember 3X5, try 5X3.

Play games with those facts! Make a game of it anytime that you can so your kids are going to have motivation to learn them.

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases,” but I wanted to let you see some games that might work for your child as they practiced those facts. War is one of those amazing games. It is a fast paced game of chance that involves a working knowledge of math facts in order to win.

Flashcards? Well, you don’t need to use the typical paper flashcards to make things work. Have you tried the Learning Wrap Ups? I used to have a ton of these in my classroom. They were my go-to for the kids who finished their work early. They could go and grab a set and practice them. They loved to see if they were getting faster and more accurate as they practiced them. Since they are self-checking, it didn’t involve me standing right there helping them.

And who wouldn’t benefit from a multiplication chart? Kids can benefit from looking at one when they are stuck and they can benefit from filling one out. So, why not have both?

And for those kiddos that need support and learn better with music? How about a rap?

Don’t forget, it can be hard for kids to learn these. You have be persistent and not give up.

If you have tried just about everything and your child is still struggling, reach out to me. I can be a part of the solution. I support learners in their journey to independence. I tutor children in math, reading, and writing and can help your child reach their goals.

For more information about me, go to midwesttutor.com or email me at sheryluehling@gmail.com.

Happy multiplying!

Published by Tutoring with Sheryl

I have 32 years of experience teaching in public schools in Nebraska. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincon. I hold a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. I have 2 Google for Education Certifications. I have been tutoring online for 1 year. I have worked with countless students of all ages to support their education. I also support teachers with planning and management in their classrooms.

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