By Rachel R. Mueller on June 09 2018 06:47:47

Fortunately for me, a wonderful 3rd grade teacher gave us the solution. It helped that he was male, and my 8-year-old daughter had a major crush on him. She ate up every word that man said, so when he taught her to skip count to some familiar tunes she came home singing her math just for fun.

Students usually begin learning basic multiplication by second grade. This skill will be essential as kids advance in class and study advanced concepts like algebra. Many teachers recommend using times tables to learn how to multiply because they allow students to begin with small numbers and work their way up. The grid-like structures make it easy to visualize how numbers increase as they are multiplied. They are also efficient. You can complete most times tables worksheets in one or two minutes, and students can track their performance to see how they improve over time.

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.

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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