math – get the facts!
If you have an elementary school student, you may, like us, be trying to support your child in learning their math facts. Many schools approach math conceptually these days, so straightforward memorization can run contrary to the way our kids have been taught and be met with some resistance.
As we compared approaches to nailing the math facts in our families, we realized how differently our kids were approaching the same task. The timer that motivated at one house would have resulted at the other in a whimpering child in a puddle on the floor, quite simply unable to go on! Different kids, different ways of learning, different ways to motivate.
Our message here is simple: figure out which strategy works best for your child, and be open to the fact that what worked for you (flashcards!) might not work best for your child. We generally know that people learn in different ways, so helping your child figure out how they learn is really useful insight for school (and life!).
Here are a handful of strategies to get you started:
- Flashcards – yes, the deck of flashcards still work for those who just take the task of memorization head on.
- Writing Out – creating muscle memory and relating a physical gesture with a fact. For example, write 7 x 8 = 56, 7 x 8 = 56 like 5 times.
- Worksheets – good ones at about.com.
- Repeating Out Loud – for kids who take in and retain information best when they hear it (can be used in conjunction with one of the aforementioned).
- Repeating Out Loud While Moving – walking, simply moving around the room…I’ve heard of jumping rope!
- Get an App – for kids who are motivated by technology and gadgets, one example is Math Fact Master
…and perhaps a layer of incentive:
- Timing – some kids can find their best focus in a “race against time”
- Rewards – to get a reluctant student over a little hump or just to divert or diffuse some anxiety, We’re never beyond a little well-timed bribe!