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If you were to ask me to list my favorite topics to teach my kids, the multiplications tables certainly would not be found anywhere on that list. Regardless, knowing them makes doing other math a lot faster and easier. So we study them. Multiplication facts are particularly helpful to know in the later elementary grades (3-5, or approximately ages 8-11) though homeschool really can be very fluid as far as when particular things are learned, so these tools can be helpful…whenever they’re helpful!
Unless you have a child who is prone to memorization, learning the multiplication tables can be challenging, and worse, boring. We’ve found three tools that have helped us along, and made learning multiplication facts a lot more fun.
- The Multiplication Machine: this handy device made by Lakeshore Learning is a great way to practice multiplication facts. Each problem is a button, that when pushed, pops up to reveal the answer. It makes a satisfying click whenever it’s pushed up or down, and it’s especially great for sensory learners.
2. Musical Multiplication: this program created by The Good and The Beautiful targets multiple parts of the brain to aid in memorization. The four sets of facts come with four sets of songs (provided as mp3 downloads), and each math problem has a corresponding song that rhymes and has an illustration in the book the goes along with it. For example “Three times three is Nine, nine monkeys on a vine” has an illustration of nine monkeys swinging on a vine. The music, the rhyme, and the visuals all work together to help even kids who struggle with multiplication get the facts down pat. The songs aren’t annoying, and the pictures really are beautiful.
3. A good practice workbook. Of course, it’s possible to just print off multiplication fact practice pages from the internet, but I have found that it saves time and money to just have a good workbook on hand. We’ve tried a few, and I like this one by Kumon Math. We don’t necessarily try to complete the entire workbook, but it’s great to assign a page, or a few problems when some practice is needed.
If you, like us, are starting your homeschool year, but still nailing down exactly which math curriculum you’d like to use, brushing up on math facts is always a great way to ease into the year. It’s what my two older girls will be doing this year while we explore a couple options for our formal curriculum, and it’s simple way for any student to get started! Good luck tackling the math facts!!