Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Math Drill Aids

I felt a notion to share the various methods we've used over the years to learn our math facts. I believe that all of the below have merit, some more than others. For my own sake, I want to keep a record resource of these resources for the future, and, for the sake of others, I'm sharing in case any other home-educators would like to try one of these.

If you have appreciated using a particular math drill aid, please leave the name and brief review in the comments!

Math Drill Aids


Math-It Program. Expensive, at about $70 per set. Math-It is a great program that teaches all the math facts in families by tricks with easy-to-remember little names. The program uses little slips of paper--make a note that it is a good idea to laminate them in the beginning--so it might especially appeal to a tactile learner. We used this program daily for about a year. Note one downside: a certain kind of child can memorize the color pattern of the answers and be laying down the answers by color instead of by number without Mama noticing.

XtraMath.com: Free. Online program to memorize math facts by devoting about five minutes per session, twice daily recommended.

MathFactsPro.com: Free. Online program to memorize math facts by devoting about five minutes per session, twice daily recommended. After using XtraMath for a while, we switched to MathFactsPro for months and were very pleased. Students are considered to know the math fact if they can get the answer within three seconds, and the computer program doesn't move them on to new facts until they know the former facts. Kids are rewarded every couple of minutes with a pause in the program and listening to a clean, goofy joke: our children found this highly motivating. This program can work extremely well, causing a child to learn all addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts within a few months. One possible downside: for the child who just runs a bit slower always than the three-second-recall, this program will never let that child learn additional facts because it won't expose the child to the next set of facts until he can recall within three seconds.

BeeStar.org: Free. Print out individual, randomized math worksheets under myriad subjects specific to what your child needs to work on. For some months, I printed these out specific to each child on the weekends: one worksheet per child per school day. Good way to learn through old-fashioned pencil and paper, which creates another pathway in the brain than pushing a button on a computer screen.

HomeschoolMath.Net: Free. This woman teaches the method of the old-school oral recitation of math facts daily. Think of nuns standing in front of a classroom of kids chanting their facts. There is some investment in buying the poster boards and creating math fact signs (or even more investment if buying them).

Kumon workbooks: These go on sale at Costco during the summer and are a convenient way to hand a child a page per day to complete. Also available year-round at places like Amazon. Good way to learn through old-fashioned pencil and paper, which creates another pathway in the brain than pushing a button on a computer screen.

Susan Greenwald book series: We are currently beginning to use this book series of worksheets, which teach the math facts by tricks with easy-to-remember little names. These books also help the child who may be particularly inattentive to whether he is seeing an addition, multiplication, or subtraction sign in the formula (leading to silly mistakes) to pay better attention to those.


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