# Skip Counting or memorize multiplication?

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I am using Saxon Math 3 this year with my two daughters in 3rd grade. It uses skip counting. They grasp the concept, but take forever to figure out the multiplication answers. They also make mistakes when skip counting, if they count by themselves and then get answers wrong based on the wrong counting. I am wondering what other people do to teach this now-a-days? Thanks in advance.

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We use both skip counting and memorization. Both skills are useful.

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They grasp the concept, but take forever to figure out the multiplication answers. They also make mistakes when skip counting, if they count by themselves and then get answers wrong based on the wrong counting.

Those are the same two reasons why I abandoned skip counting and moved towards drilling strategies for multiplication facts.

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We use skip counting long enough to understand the concept. Then memorize the facts. Division is easier if you know your multiplication facts.

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Saxon uses both; they start with skip counting but definitely cover math facts as well. Saxon almost goes overboard IMHO in the amount of addition and multiplication fact drills they do.

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I agree that memorizing multiplication facts is the way to go. But, they do also need to know how to do basic skip counting (2s, 5s, 10s) and that can help with math as well. I remember memorizing all of my multiplication facts (up to 12) when I was in 3rd grade.

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We do both. I was taught with just skip counting, my dh was drilled. I found both to be a little lacking. We start with skip counting, which gives them a solid understanding of what they are doing with multiplication. Then once they are comfortable with skip counting with all the basics (2,3,4,5,7, and 10 forwards and backwards), then we start drills with the multiplication facts. I'm finding my kids are very comfortable playing with numbers.

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Another vote for both. I use skip counting to intro, then follow up with memorization/drill.

Saxon starts skip counting in K, so normally a third grader in Saxon would have been doing skip counting a long time and be ready to memorize.

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I thought skip counting was to understand the concept better and then memorization kicks in.

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I will do both plus show the concept with manipulatives. We already are working on skip counting in kindergarten. She knows her 2s, 5s, 10s and 25s to 100. I plan on eventually showing the concept with cuisenaire rods and working more with skip counting relating to multiplication. Once they really understand what multiplication is I wouldn't mind them memorizing it.

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• 2 years later...

My son used MCP math until 4th grade; MCP does not use skip counting. Then, he used Saxon 5/4 for 4th grade. So, he "skipped" all the skip counting in Saxon 1-3. He actually did just fine, although I did put him through lots of those practice worksheets for awhile as we worked through 5/4. He knows all his facts now, without the skip counting. I agree, though, that skip counting is good at least for 2s, 5s, 10s, 12s etc.

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We did both skip counting and memorization.  Flash cards and drills can get boring.  Skip counting is a lot more fun.

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Another vote for both.

Try skip counting while jumping rope or tossing bean bags to liven it up.

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We definitely do both.  Skip counting to understand the concept followed by memorization. I believe both are necessary or at least helpful.

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We always do both. Every year for memory work we practice the multiples.

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Definitely both. It has been enlightening to see the benefit of dd knowing both, and how she uses the knowledge. A couple of great examples as to how she does it: when doing long division she frequently jockeys back and forth between rapid skip counting (faster than me!) and multiplication. And being so comfortable with skip counting made things like finding Least Common Denominators a breeze.

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We do both.  Skip counting and then memorization.  I think memorization is really important, but it doesn't always come naturally unless practiced.  Depends on the child, I suppose.

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Definitely both.

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We did both. Eventually, my kids found that skip counting was an excellent strategy for finding the answers they couldn't remember in the moment. We all have days when our brains are a little scrambled and 7x6=....wait, is it 42? That doesn't sound right, is it something else? :D

Understanding and using multiple strategies in mathematics is useful conceptually and practically. If there's one math concept I want my children to learn, it's that there are often multiple paths to understanding and applying math. Skip counting vs.,...no, AND...memorization is a great example of that idea. :)

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I have used both and then also include drawing boxes to teach how to do mental multiplication with larger numbers - to show that 12x4 is the same as 6x4x2 or 3x4x4. Skip counting helps with understanding multiplication and is also used later when dividing by larger numbers - we used to draw a table down the side of long division which was essentially skip counting in a much larger number (very often we just used multiple addition for this) to be able to work out how many times the dividend went into each section of the divisor.

___324_                           _____|__47___

47  |  15228                                  1   |    47

2   |    94

3   |   141

4   |   188       (usually continued til 9 x 47)

In many ways multiplication is really just finding out how to play with the numbers in order to get the answer in the fastest and most accurate way. Learning multiplication facts does speed multiplication, but if one is proficient at playing with numbers then even without knowing all facts off by heart one should be able to get the answer for the facts very fast (my DD7 appears to know the facts, but if you watch her closely you will see that often she is using some method known only to her to work it out).

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We did both. Eventually, my kids found that skip counting was an excellent strategy for finding the answers they couldn't remember in the moment. We all have days when our brains are a little scrambled and 7x6=....wait, is it 42? That doesn't sound right, is it something else? :D

Understanding and using multiple strategies in mathematics is useful conceptually and practically. If there's one math concept I want my children to learn, it's that there are often multiple paths to understanding and applying math. Skip counting vs.,...no, AND...memorization is a great example of that idea. :)

In this example, I'd like (my kid) assuming he was young and did not know the answer, or it was a bad day to know how to use the Distributive Law to clear up the confusion.

Don't know 7x6, but know 7x3?

7x3+7x3

21+21

42.

This skill is scaleable, unlike both skip counting and pure memorization.

Bill

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