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Does it matter how he learned his multiplication facts?

Posted by on Sep. 20, 2017 at 6:28 AM
• 19 Replies
1 mom liked this

Hi everyone,

I homeschooled my son for a year and a half because after trying out so many schools I decided that at the time, I could teach him better myself I swear it was the best decision I could've made. He overcame some bumps and a brick wall or 2 that he couldn't seem to get over in school and was stuck.

Anywhoo... (sorry really trying to keep it short)

Like most people with most situations in life, when something isn't working after multiple attempts, you decide to try a different approach to see if that works and thats just what I did with my son and his math. After months of my son working on the same 1 digit addition and subtraction problems in school with no growth, I pulled my son out and began to teach him myself and tried different methods until I found what works for him. Looking at flashcards all the time trying to memorize his multiplication facts simply would not work for my son. I know my son so I knew I had to help him understand and figure out the 'why' behind the answer.

So I began teaching him his skip counting. In a matter of days he knew his skip counting up to his 6's. The next time I gave him multiplication, he didn't have 4x7 memorized so he didn't say the answer immediately but just a few seconds later he not only gave the correct answer but he was able to explain how and why the answer he gave was correct.

From what I remember memorizing the facts by heart doesn't teach the why, so many kids know the answer from memory but they can't tell the 'why'. Multiplication is now his favorite in math : )

Ok so heres the kicker. My sons teacher said he needed to work on his facts because he doesn't know them by heart. I told him but he knows skip counting like a pro lol and because of that he understands it. He told me because he doesn't have them memorized he doesn't truly know multiplication. That's ridiculous to me. What do you all think?

Thanks!

by on Sep. 20, 2017 at 6:28 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Sep. 20, 2017 at 6:40 AM
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Stupid. Unfortunately the government only wants things done a certain way. If the teacher can't show the kids can do how they teach, the teacher is considered a failure.

I taught my kids math since they recognized numbers. I teach how to break it down.

Example: yesterday my 13yo asked about taxes. He had to figure 7% tax on 31.00. Because of school and how they teach, he proceeded to try a calculator. Made him stop. I then went to my 8yo (just turned less than a month ago) and asked the question. Took him a few seconds.

Here's how I've taught them. Knowing single digit multiples helps though.
Instead of 7×31, make it simple. 7×30 is easier, but 7×3 is easiest. You get 21. Since it was a 10 multiple, you add a zero to the back of the number. Now it's 210. The remaining number is now 7×1 which is just 7. Now add. 210+7= 217.

Another:
12×21
21×10=210
21×2=42
210+42=252
by Ruby Member on Sep. 20, 2017 at 10:34 PM
1 mom liked this

Anyway my kid learns if good with me , Im sure the teacher has reasons for what they say but if my kid gets something thats good for me no matter how he got there..

by on Sep. 20, 2017 at 11:40 PM
1 mom liked this

Hi AndresGabriel. First I want to applaud you for recognizing the difficulties your son was having and for taking the action needed to help him be successful!  You took what could have been a situation which broke his spirit of learning and self-image and preserved them both.  That is truly admirable!

As an elementary educator I wanted to comment on 3 things:

You are absolutely correct that memorizing the multiplication facts does not teach the "why" of the answer. So the fact that your son can get to the correct answer in an alternate way will benefit him by allowing him to check and be confident of his answers.

The reason his current teacher is being emphatic about having the multiplication facts memorized is because there is an elementary standard which requires students to complete timed multiplication facts tests.  In my state it is a 3rd grade standard.  In order to meet the 3rd grade math standards, a child must successfully accomplish this which means they must have their multiplication facts memorized in order to be able to recall and record them within the time standard.

Since you are posting in the special needs forum, I wonder if your son has an IEP in place?  Again in my state, having an IEP would be a way to accomodate a student so they are not held to the timed multiplication facts standard.

I hope this helps :)

by Member on Sep. 21, 2017 at 12:03 AM
2 moms liked this
I say good for you. If he learned then who cares how.
by on Sep. 21, 2017 at 12:06 AM
1 mom liked this

Quoting romangio12: I say good for you. If he learned then who cares how.
by Member on Sep. 21, 2017 at 12:09 AM
1 mom liked this
I always thrived in math. That is until it came to multiplication facts. I tried for hours everyday to get those stupid flash cards memorized and I couldn't do it. I could figure out the answer but not fast enough. I was a straight a student so I was devastated to bring home test after test for my parents to sign.
But apparently my teacher saw something in me. I was recommended for advanced math in 7th grade and went on to be one of the 6 students at my high school to pass the ap exam earning college credits for our high school calculus class.
I kid you not all 6 of us in that class struggled with memorizing those facts.
I don't stress over memorization at all.
by on Sep. 21, 2017 at 12:26 AM

I think as long as your son can come to the correct answer quickly then he understands the concept of multiplication.  Over time he will memorize more.  When my daughter was learning the time's tables and she would get stuck I'd ask her what the next highest or the previous lowest was, which she usually knew.  I'd then tell her to add or subtract to find the answer.  Understanding HOW to find the answer is more important than memorization, anyway.

A game we would play was multiplication war.  I used a regular deck of cards (took out the K, Q, J, A) and she had to multiply the two cards.  If she got it right, she got to take the cards.

by Member on Sep. 21, 2017 at 1:04 AM
Thank you so much for the compliment. I really appreciate it. And yes my son dies have an IEP & they have just started the testing again this week : )

Quoting kvolm2016:

Hi AndresGabriel. First I want to applaud you for recognizing the difficulties your son was having and for taking the action needed to help him be successful!  You took what could have been a situation which broke his spirit of learning and self-image and preserved them both.  That is truly admirable!

As an elementary educator I wanted to comment on 3 things:

You are absolutely correct that memorizing the multiplication facts does not teach the "why" of the answer. So the fact that your son can get to the correct answer in an alternate way will benefit him by allowing him to check and be confident of his answers.

The reason his current teacher is being emphatic about having the multiplication facts memorized is because there is an elementary standard which requires students to complete timed multiplication facts tests.  In my state it is a 3rd grade standard.  In order to meet the 3rd grade math standards, a child must successfully accomplish this which means they must have their multiplication facts memorized in order to be able to recall and record them within the time standard.

Since you are posting in the special needs forum, I wonder if your son has an IEP in place?  Again in my state, having an IEP would be a way to accomodate a student so they are not held to the timed multiplication facts standard.

I hope this helps :)

by Member on Sep. 21, 2017 at 1:10 AM
Wow thanks for sharing your story! Knowing that even though you're great in math you still struggled with memorizing those darn facts provided me with some clarity and makes me feel better.
Thanks!

Quoting JasonsMom2007: I always thrived in math. That is until it came to multiplication facts. I tried for hours everyday to get those stupid flash cards memorized and I couldn't do it. I could figure out the answer but not fast enough. I was a straight a student so I was devastated to bring home test after test for my parents to sign.
But apparently my teacher saw something in me. I was recommended for advanced math in 7th grade and went on to be one of the 6 students at my high school to pass the ap exam earning college credits for our high school calculus class.
I kid you not all 6 of us in that class struggled with memorizing those facts.
I don't stress over memorization at all.
by Silver Member on Sep. 21, 2017 at 6:11 PM
1 mom liked this

You might like Read-Along Math Rap songs

http://4mylearn.org/Bookshelf/Bookshelf.html#mathBooks

Each set has a page for the read along song which is based on skip counting and a separate page for the pattern rule. For example 3s

http://4mylearn.org/Bookshelf/Songs2/html/MrH-2-3-4.html

then look for the 3 pattern link or use

http://4mylearn.org/Bookshelf/Songs2/html/Mult-3.html