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# First grade math question

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My dd understands the concept addition just fine. She is learning subtraction currently. She learned addition more than a year ago.

The problem is that memorizing the addition/subtraction facts is very difficult right now. We just started Xtramath to help with this.

We use Math Mammoth 1, which I am very happy with, but I don't know if I should backtrack to the beginning of the addition section to help her memorize the facts or I should just continue through the book and let Xtramath help her with the fact memorization. The concept of addition is not the problem. When I put things into story problems (i.e. "You can invite 10 people to your party. You've already invited 3. How many more can you invite?"), she likes that better.

The chapter we are set to do next is Chapter 7 (if you have MM1), which is Adding and Subtracting within 0-100. No carrying or borrowing. Things like 23 + 4, 65 + 3, adding and subtracting whole tens, the concept of difference, and adding and subtracting two-digit numbers in columns without carrying or borrowing.

Would it be harder/confusing for her to continue on, with bigger numbers, or since she is in actuality, still practicing single-digit addition/subtraction (since 23+4 is really just 3+4 with the 20 staying the same), would it help her learn faster recall of the facts?

She seems to hate math facts. When our math lessons are on telling time, counting money, measuring, place value etc, she is usually quite happy. When addition and especially subtraction show up, she melts down very quickly.

Any help would be appreciated!

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I'd keep moving and allow the use of manipulatives. Doing those facts over and over is the best way to memorize them.

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My son was similar until we started Right Start games and games from Rosie's videos (Education Unboxed).

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I'd keep moving and allow the use of manipulatives. Doing those facts over and over is the best way to memorize them.

:iagree: I always have a bucket-o-C-rods next to my son when doing math. If he needs them, he can use them. Math Mammoth doesn't build in manipulative use, but many young kids do need them at that age.

Note that MM doesn't expect facts to be memorized until end of grade 2.

Since your DD likes story problems, I wonder if she might like doing drill via Ray's Arithmetic or something like that? It's free on Google Books. I just open it on my phone and go over it during a meal or something. That is our "drill", since we use Singapore, which doesn't have as much drill built in (MM has quite a bit of drill built in).

At any rate, what you're describing sounds normal. She's still in the process of learning facts, and that's ok. Have some manipulatives nearby and let her use them as much as she needs them. As the facts get into her brain, she'll use the manipulatives less and less.

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I'd keep moving and allow the use of manipulatives. Doing those facts over and over is the best way to memorize them.

:iagree:I put little to no emphasis on rote memorization of addition facts for my two sons and yet they did memorize them through repetitive use.

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I don't know if this is a popular idea or not---but I don't have my kids memorize math facts.

Especially in 1st grade. I truly believe that as kids continue to work on the concepts then they will begin to internalize the math facts. Practice makes speed imo.

I wouldn't hold a child back from learning subtr. until addition facts are memorized. They work together. Subtraction *is* addition--backwards. And at that age understanding that concept is more important than drill of memorized numbers. There's a reason most kids do not like facts drill---because it doesn't make too much sense.

If she is liking the abstract concepts of place value, money etc but melts down with operations, there's your clue. Especially if you're expecting her to *know* the answer mentally---as in memorized. Use those c-rods!!! Even up into 3rd-4th grade or even beyond. They help with adding/subtracting, but also division, fractions, algebra.

Working with those manipulatives and doing the math over and over is how my ds has memorized his facts (even multiplication). I never drilled him with cards etc, but he knows them because he worked with c-rods etc over and over until he just naturally remembered the answer. He does his Saxon math practice tests now and I almost want to quit because it seems like unnecessary busy work for him. I love Miquon for those early grades.

I think your dd likes it in a story because that's real math. In our day to day life we don't have any reason to know 4+3=7 until we're buying, selling, organizing, gardening, setting a table, balancing a checkbook, estimating how many people are here or there etc etc. And our internal dialogue is usually "let's see 7 people are here for Thanksgiving and I have 4 glasses on the table, can you get me 3 more?"

Just my thoughts.

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I had DD continue on and let her use manipulatives, but I also had her work on memorizing the facts. I'm glad I did, I don't think she would know them nearly as well without the extra drill.

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I don't know if this is a popular idea or not---but I don't have my kids memorize math facts.

Especially in 1st grade. I truly believe that as kids continue to work on the concepts then they will begin to internalize the math facts. Practice makes speed imo.

I wouldn't hold a child back from learning subtr. until addition facts are memorized. They work together. Subtraction *is* addition--backwards. And at that age understanding that concept is more important than drill of memorized numbers. There's a reason most kids do not like facts drill---because it doesn't make too much sense.

If she is liking the abstract concepts of place value, money etc but melts down with operations, there's your clue. Especially if you're expecting her to *know* the answer mentally---as in memorized. Use those c-rods!!! Even up into 3rd-4th grade or even beyond. They help with adding/subtracting, but also division, fractions, algebra.

Working with those manipulatives and doing the math over and over is how my ds has memorized his facts (even multiplication). I never drilled him with cards etc, but he knows them because he worked with c-rods etc over and over until he just naturally remembered the answer. He does his Saxon math practice tests now and I almost want to quit because it seems like unnecessary busy work for him. I love Miquon for those early grades.

I think your dd likes it in a story because that's real math. In our day to day life we don't have any reason to know 4+3=7 until we're buying, selling, organizing, gardening, setting a table, balancing a checkbook, estimating how many people are here or there etc etc. And our internal dialogue is usually "let's see 7 people are here for Thanksgiving and I have 4 glasses on the table, can you get me 3 more?"

Just my thoughts.

I completely agree. I didn't drill in first grade and through practice both my kids ended up memorizing them on their own. Now, we'll see if that work in 3rd grade for multiplication facts!

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It sounds very much like she still needs thing to be concrete. Also, is she a visual-spatial or kinesthetic learner? Get a tub of Cuisenaire Rods and let her use those. It will help tremendously! Click the link in my signature for videos showing how to use the rods!

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I do make mine memorise her facts through 10, at least.

I did it this way.

First she learned the number bonds.

Then she'd demonstrate all of the number bonds with the cuisenaire rods for a given number, say, nine. We'd go through them, pointing to each one -- one and eight is nine, etc. Or for subtraction, nine minus one is eight, etc.

Then she'd do a math-aids page for subtraction from nine.

We moved on that way and pretty soon she had them all. Getting the number bonds was the important part.

ETA: To learn the number bonds, first she'd make them all. Then we'd practice -- She'd pick a rod at random. I'd then hand her various smaller blocks and she'd tell me what the other half of the bond would be. We did a lot of this before we moved to doing number bonds on paper.

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It sounds like everyone is in basic agreement! That is fabulous, because it makes it an easy choice.

She is a very kinesthetic learner. She loves using manipulatives in any subject possible (like the letter tiles for phonics or AAS).

Based on everyone's advice, I will definitely get out our counters or c-rods and let her use those as she is learning.

We were in K12 and our state's cyber academy for kindergarten and the first part of first grade this year. They FLEW through the math facts, so it made me feel that she was behind.

Thanks everyone!!

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We did k12 last year, first semester he completed kindy math and 2nd semester he did first semester of 1st grade.. I was astounded they expected them to memorize math facts of several numbers in one day! I was appalled! Especially since my son was just five years old. I won't say he knows them all, but with practice, and manipulatives, he is really learning them. I don't drill tho. That stresses him. We do lots of mental math and math games. Oh he loves working with bigger numbers. I don't hold him back at all. We've started doing some multiplication (rePeated addition) and he loves it.

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I've had a lot of success with the fingerwork and recitation techniques in Professor B, combined with copywork from How to Tutor. I only use xtramath as a check in to see how we are doing. Xtramth doesn't TEACH, it just TESTS and prompts. The recitations and copywork taught in patterns, combined with some other "strategies" I've picked up here and there, are TEACHING the addition and subtraction facts.

Looking at the books I use, they look totally unable to accomplish the task, but they work, when combined. When I look ahead in both books I again feel afraid to trust they will get the job done. If it worked at the lower levels, maybe they will work at the higher levels. I don't have any better ideas, so I'm going to try it and see what happens.

I agree that the addition and subtraction facts are best mastered before moving on. I think people CAN adapt and accommodate when they have no other choice after failing to teach the facts. It's what I did in the past. Now that I know how to better teach the facts, I hope I'll never have do that again.

Our discussions here about HTT math have been quite controversial, but I think it's a must read.

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... this thread looks complete :) but I wanted to tack onto it: we have liked Wrap-ups for a hands-on option.

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