Backing up a couple of years . . . I began homeschooling without understanding why children had to memorize math facts at all. Learning the concepts deeply was what was truly important, rote memorization was shallow learning. As time went by, I saw what happens when a child understands concepts well but hasn't memorized: he is S-L-O-W. Being agonizingly slow at completing math calculations is discouraging to a child (and counting is inaccurate) and frustrating to the parent teaching the lesson.
Thus, this school year we began running math drills daily, first with paper flash cards I used and then with various online flash card programs I found for the children to use independently. The only trouble was, they were still pretty slow, taking at least 20 minutes to do their drill each day: I could see that the children continued counting and they were making mistakes.
Then a friend told me about Math-It. I purchased Math-It Basic, which contains three programs: Add-It (addition), Dubbl-It (doubling), and Timz-It (the times tables through 12, which the product claims will be taught in only two hours). (Advanced Math-It teaches Divid-It and Percent-It.)
The idea behind the product is that the children are taught to think of the numbers within "families" and each family has its own addition rule. We have been working on Add-It, about which another blogger-mom has produced a very helpful, short video.
First the child completes all his addition facts in color order:
The 9 Family (greens) follows this rule: Take 1 less than the number being added to, then add "teen."
The 8 Family (blue) follows this rule: Take 2 less than the number being added to, then add "teen."
The Double Family (orange) is very easy for children to memorize.
The Neighbor Family (red) follows this rule: double the lesser number, then add 1.
This leaves the yellow cards, only six math facts which don't follow a rule and actually must be memorized individually. Six is a whole lot better than trying to memorize all the addition facts, as so many children try to do!
After running through all the addition facts in color order, then the child mixes up the cards and does them that way before being done. When the child can do one set of mixed-up cards in one minute, he is ready to move on to Dubbl-It. After just two weeks (only eight sessions), my second grader can do all his addition facts in two-and-a-half minutes (perfectly), which is a far cry better than 20 minutes (with errors)! This is their current favorite school activity, which they choose to do right after morning prayers.
Math-It Basic is quite expensive to buy: about $75! I suggest looking for it used online. I found my used copy (like new condition) at the HSLDA curriculum market, and I believe there are various other online sources as well; recently I saw Math-It products for sale at our local used curriculum store, The Homeschool Room.
|Even my Kindergartner has memorized her addition math facts now!|