Last March I shared about our attempts to find a spelling curriculum that works for one of our kids who was having trouble with spelling. All About Spelling is still working well for us and I still highly recommend it.
But then there's 3rd and 4th grade math when multiplication and division are presented. Those concepts fall into that crucial category because both really must be mastered before moving ahead. From here on out, those skills will be built upon. And they come easier for some more than others.
Sometimes flashcards, manipulatives and worksheets just aren't enough. For some times tables (like the 9s) there are tricks to be taught but sometimes facts just need to be memorized. Games are great but usually require more than one person to play and I am often looking for tools they can use on their own. Thankfully, we've found a few tools that have really helped things click.
The pattern became that while I was putting wood on the stove, washing up dishes, changing over laundry or what-have-you, I could ask my student to use one of these tools as a review before we jumped into math (the first subject we do together). This additional review has really helped and we're back tackling new lessons in math. Non-homeschooled kids can totally benefit from these tools as well.
Wrap Ups. You can buy these individually (for about $10), in a set like we have or make your own. I think it would be pretty easy to make cardboard versions of these- cutting notches in the sides and affixing a string through the top (using a hole-punch for the opening). The set comes with a CD with some really catchy math raps that assist in the wrapping.
You can listen along as they rap the facts (like, "7 times 4 is 28") or just give you the problem so you can wrap the right answer on your own. To check to see if your wrapping has lined up correctly, there are grooves on the back of each plastic card that show where the string should lie so you can see if you have it right.
Hot Dots. There are sets for different skills. We have the division set. The special pen (sold separately) is pressed on the dot beside your answer choice. If you're right, it cheers for you or says some encouraging words. If you're wrong, it asks you to try again. The sound can be turned off if it's distracting to others and the end of the pen will light up instead, letting you know if you got it right.
This last one is our favorite: Times Tables the Fun Way. A friend of my sister recommended this book and I was so glad I was able to find a copy. For some kids, memorization is just hard. Linking the facts to a story or image helps them recall what they need to know.
Each picture incorporates the numbers of a multiplication problem and tells a story like this one below.
I decided to make my own drawn-copies of those we needed the most help on and had my student color them. We then laminated them. These act as flashcards now and are easier to refer to than finding the right page in the book. You could totally create your own drawings and stories.
Sometimes I find myself saying, "Is the three a bat or a bow in this problem?" to help trigger their memory. And it works!
All kids hit a snag now and then. I've found that changing things up, slowing things down and taking breaks (without putting undue pressure on the child) works best in helping them over their hurdles.
What math helps have helped your child?Pin It