By Darlene R. Yost on May 15 2018 16:06:39

What it is about memorizing multiplication tables that make my kids throw their pencil across the room and shout, “I hate math?” It is because, unlike spelling or vocabulary, numbers don’t create pictures for us. Multiplication tables are strings of seemingly random numbers that our children are expected to not only remember, but keep in order and in context with the numbers they are multiplying by.

Use flashcards. Make multiplication cards for each number set. Although this may seem tedious, the process of making the cards will actually help you to learn them. Once you’ve made them, spend some time each day studying until you know them all. Focus on one number set at a time. When you go through the cards, put the ones you get wrong back into the pile so you see them multiple times.

Using times tables is simple. Practice multiplying the 2’s, 5’s, and 10s first, then the doubles (6 x 6, 7 x 7, 8 x 8). Next, move to each of the fact families: 3’s, 4’s, 6’s, 7s, 8’s, 9’s, 11’s, and 12’s. Start by doing one sheet and see how long it takes you to complete it. Do not worry about how many right or wrong answers you get the first time you complete a worksheet. You will get faster as you become better at multiplying. Do not move to a different fact family without first mastering the previous one.

I have seen a lot of kids quickly pass off their 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. These tables have an obvious pattern and are much easier to learn. Then there is a serious slow down as kids hit the 3’s, 4’s, and 6’s. By the time they get to the 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s they’ve decided that multiplication is way too hard, and math isn’t their thing.

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